Yikes...Summer Is Half Over Already!

I love the 4th of July, but it's kind of a bummer holiday as well.  You see for me, the 4th marks the half way point of summer and just like the rest of us, I tolerate November through April (more like October through May) for our fantastic Chicago Summers!

So here I am with summer being more than half over and what have I done so far this year?  The answer is practically nothing!   


So I better get going as there is so much I want to do with the boys.  Here is my list of 'must dos' this summer for the Witek Family:


  • Brookfield Zoo:  You'll never run out of things to do at Brookfield Zoo.  Stingray Bay is back and now there is a brand new exhibit called Great Bear Wilderness.  Plus, I just love the butterfly exhibit.  One of the best things about Brookfield is there is plenty of shade.
  •  Day with Thomas the Train:  Thomas the Tank Engine is chugging into the IL Railway Museum for the Day Out With Thomas: The Celebration Tour 2010 event.  All Thomas fans are invited to come spend the day with their favorite No. 1 engine and help celebrate his 65th birthday.  This event is a blast as you can have fun with Thomas programs, but also roam around the museum, which has hundreds of really cool antique trains and trolleys.
  •  Millennium Park:  The Family Fun Festival is back, which is great for kids of all ages.  Plus there are concerts, exhibits, fitness classes, the fountains and the art. The park is full of energy and has something for everyone. 
  •  Great America:  I use to go here as a teenager and I still love it.  They have great promotions for ticket admissions, plus with Hurricane Harbor, you get two parks for the price of one.  With the shows, rides, games and now the water park, you can easily spend two days here.
  •  Bristol Renaissance Faire:  I know this can be super cheesy, but if you can roll with it, Bristol is really fun.  It's got everything:  music, food, shows, rides, games, shopping and is probably one of the best places to people-watch.  Bristol transforms you back to 16th Century Elizabethan England complete with Queen Elizabeth, Robin Hood, knights, jesters and many of the characters you'll see don't even work for Bristol.  It's pure fun! 
  • Algonquin Founders' Days:  It's my home town's summer celebration, complete with a parade, music, food, carnival, petting zoo, fireworks and so much more!  I have gone every year for the past 13 years and love it!  Now that we have the boys to share it with, the event is even better.
  •  Algonquin Commons Sunday Concerts:  During July and early August, Algonquin Commons hosts free concerts complete with live music, food vendors, store booths, children's activities, prize giveaways and so much more.  It's a great way to end a weekend with family and friends.  


These are just a few of the things on my 'must do' list this summer, but there is much more Chicago and the surrounding suburbs have to offer.  


Please share with me your fun summer plans and 'must do' events in the comments section...I am sure I can squeeze a few more things in. 




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  • Great suggestions! I have been wanting to try out Bristol for awhile. Perhaps we will do that this summer. I see they are only open through Labor Day, so we will have to get right on it!

    My three suggestions are up north. Since we live in Grayslake, IL, near Gurnee and Great America, we partake in different activities surrounding this area, but I really love these three, and they are all easy day trips for those who live in the city.

    Racine Zoo, right across the border in Racine, WI, is GREAT! I came to it late in the summer last year and vowed to go more this year. We're set to go next week. The zoo overlooks Lake Michigan. It's small and so easy to walk through with little ones. It has hands-on activities, including feeding giraffe! That is way fun!! However, THE BEST PART IS...right after you walk out of the zoo, turn left, walk down some steps, and you are right on a huge, sandy, clean Lake Michigan beach with small dunes. It is PERFECT for swimming and a picnic. And empty most of the time! http://www.racinezoo.org/

    Old World Wisconsin is a great outing for children. See how different ethnic groups lived in WI during Pioneer days. LOTS of hands-on activities for kids. It's wonderful and so much fun! Quite the variety in pioneer activities for all children. The kiddies will feel like they have walked into a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. We read many of those at home and love Little House on the Prairie, so this place is perfect for us. http://oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org/

    Volo Bog is a great place. It's rumored that Al Capone used to get rid of his unwanted people in that bog. It's a huge bog with wooden walkways all throughout. The kids can take a scavenger hunt paper with them and look for bog items, including flora and fauna. It's one of the few Illinois prairie bogs left intact for the public to see. There are also activities and a small museum for the kiddies inside the main building. Very cool and very neat in terms of scenery. Again, take a picnic lunch!

  • In reply to anitarudite:

    Anita - Thank you for the suggestions! I have heard great things about the Racine Zoo and love the tip about checking out the beach. I have not heard of the other two, but will check them out. Thanks!

  • In reply to LisaWitek:

    Oh...you will LOVE the beach that is below the Racine Zoo. It is lovely. I was so surprised. I went three days in a row with my girls; I couldn't get enough! And, we got passes for the other two days--very low cost. The other two places, you will really enjoy as well. They're fun for children AND adults. That's key for us.

  • Volo Bog website--Sorry!

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