Six Family Must Do's Before Summer Ends

Summer goes by quickly, doesn't it? Seems like just a few weeks ago we were all anticipating the end of school and long, lazy summer days. Fast forward to back-to-school shopping and the last days of summer countdown.

I am sure that you've crossed many of your summer must-do's off you list -- but here are a few items you will want to be sure to squeeze in before the first day of school sneaks up on you.

Get creative in Millennium Park:

Take advantage of the fun and free Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park. Join the exciting activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. all summer, featuring live music, crafts, storytimes, interactive activities and more all the way through August 24.

Spend time with the animals:

Lincoln Park Zoo is the perfect place for a family trip. Nothing beats a free day of checking out the apes and lions then riding the carousel. Steps away from the zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory where you can take a stroll through the beautiful garden and get a great view of the skyline. What a fun day!

Be botanical:

Check out the beautiful scene at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Take an informal nature walk or sign up for one of the many excellent family programs (options include hands-on gardening, sleepovers, camps and even canoeing!).

Catch a flick under the stars:

Treat the kids to a film out in the fresh air. Grab a picnic dinner and a big, comfy blanket and head out to your local park at dusk for a movie experience under the stars. Check out the Movies in the Parks program at the Chicago Park District (or the park district in your town) to find a film coming to a park near you.

Go all natural:

Step away from the city hustle and urban landscape. Get immersed in the local nature oases around town. Start with the North Park Village Nature Center, the Emily Oaks Nature Center or the Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Learn something new:

Make a visit to all of the local childrens’ museums. Don’t just head to the wonderful Chicago Children’s Museum - stop at a bunch of the other great learning centers in the city. Check out the Kohl Children’s Museum, Oak Lawn Children’s Museum and DuPage Children’s Museum this year. Expand your horizons!

Look up for a stunning show:

This year on  August 16 and 17, thousands of Chicagoans will line the lakefront for a stunning display at the Chicago Air and Water Show. Admission is free but the crowds can be an overwhelming. The best vantage point is North Beach, but other less-crowded spots include the lakefront near the Adler Planetarium or city roof decks.

Go going! The clock is ticking (and don't forget to order those new school shoes and backpacks too!).


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