Chicago, Monday, May 14, 2012. With the Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium, closed from Saturday through Monday (Field Museum closed Sunday and Monday) due to NATO-related logistical issues along with the parking restrictions, road closures, Metra and CTA disruptions, you may want to take a step beyond the chaos for this weekend’s outings. Show Me Chicago has put together a calendar of events for “NATO Weekend” that should entertain but not detain.
Xtreme Bugs Exhibition Opens at Brookfield Zoo.
Starting Saturday, May 19, Brookfield Zoo will be crawling with bugs. Big bugs, little bugs, creepy bugs even bug cooking demonstrations and cockroach races are sure to delight the little critters in your family at the opening weekend of Xtreme Bugs at the zoo. This special exhibit showcases more than 20 animatronic bugs, including a Japanese hornet measuring 32 feet long and 16 feet high that will be displayed in the zoo’s Roosevelt Fountain, as well as approximately 150 nonmoving bugs plus other bug- friendly activities. 708 688-8000. Through September 7, 2012.
Plants Aplenty for Sale at Chicago Botanic Gardens Annual Sale.
The Chicago Botanic Gardens plant sale offers more than 25,000 annuals, ferns, fruit and vegetable plants, geraniums, herbs, native wildflowers, ornamental grasses, perennials, roses, shade perennials, shrubs, and vines that are suited to the Chicago area. Members only, Friday, May 18. General Public, Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. Also Saturday and Sunday, the Midwest Bonsai Society holds its spring show featuring spring-blooming trees, bonsai on rocks, and suiseki (the Japanese art of stones). Lake-Cook Rd. just east of the Edens expressway in Glencoe.
“There Goes the Hood” Gangster Tour in Oak Park.
On Sunday, May 20 John Binder, mob historian and author of The Chicago Outfit, will conduct his popular “There Goes the Neighbor Hood” tour of gangster history in Oak Park and River Forest. The exterior tour visits 15 houses in these two suburbs which were previously owned by major hoodlums, including Tony Accardo, Paul Ricca, Sam Giancana, “Tough Tony” Capezio and “Machine Gun Jack” McGurn. John will discuss the criminal careers of the former owners, the interesting features of each home, the family’s time there, and answer questions from the audience. The tour departs from (and returns to) the Oak Park Visitor Center at 1010 Lake St. in Oak Park. Call the Visitor Center at 708-848-1500 to purchase tickets.
Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside Presents HOMEwork: A Look Inside the Homes of Riverside Architects and Interior Designers.
The Housewalk includes a tour of the historic Arcade Building and the interiors of six residences all owned by local architects and interior designers. The focus of HOMEwork will be on furnishings, finishes and décor, which can give homeowners creative ideas for their own living spaces. Sunday, May 20, 2012, from Noon to 5:00 PM. Presale tickets are $35 and Day of the Event tickets are $40. 708 442 0906.
Geneva Celebrates All Things Garden at the Gardenology Festival.
Gardenology advisers and vendors will be on hand to share ideas at Geneva’s Gardenlogy Festival. Experts in every horticulture field including farming, landscape design, weavers, local nurseries, and more will be on hand to answer your questions. Topics include herbs, flowers, vegetables, heirloom plants and perennials. Learn about attracting birds & butterflies, wildlife control, composting, organic fertilizers and more. The Gardenology Festival will be held rain or shine on Saturday, May 19 between 10a.m. and 4p.m.. The event will take place in downtown Geneva–from the Kane County Court House down to the Train Station. Check in at the Welcome Stations to register to win great prizes provided by the participating sponsors. Welcome tents will be located at the Court House at 100 S. 3rd Street and also down at Dodson Place in front of Geneva Jake’s at 307 S. 3rd Street.
Train Days at Lambs Farm.
All aboard for Lambs Farm for Train Days. Children of all ages can don their conductor’s hat and navigate electric trains, courtesy of Valley Model Railroad Association at this special event. Lambs Farm will also have activities (some with minimal cost) and gifts. 847 990 3714. 14245 W Rockland Rd, Libertyville. Saturday, May 19, starts 11a.m.
Chicago Kids and Kites Festival.
Far enough away from the NATO chaos but well within the city limits, Chicago celebrates Kids and Kites. As part of the public activities to mark the NATO Chicago Summit, NATO is partnering with the City of Chicago to present the 14th Annual Kids & Kites Festival on Saturday, May 19 at Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park. NATO is providing 5,000 kite kits for children as well as pictures of flags and fun facts about representative countries to help inspire children as they decorate their kites. In addition, the festival will also feature a workshop on the history and tradition of Afghan fighter kites. Chicago Kite, a Chicago-based retailer that specializes in kites, will sell kites, give tips and advice on how to fly kites and its professional flyers will demonstrate their skills with oversized and amusingly shaped kites. Plus, the Big Kite Candy Drop will take place during the afternoon, weather permitting. Other activities include painting a kite-shaped refrigerator magnet, face-painters and balloon artists. Brookfield Zoo will be on site with a traveling version of the zoo’s Bug Exhibit. 10a.m. to 4p.m. on Cricket Hill, near the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Montrose Ave.
Lilac Festival Continues in Lombard’s Lilacia Park.
Come by Lilacia Park for an evening of food, friends, and of course beer on Friday evening, May 18 for beer night featuring a wide variety of beers, music and prizes plus each participant will receive a complimentary Lilac Time tasting glass (must pre-register for this event); or come by Saturday for the final day of Lilac Fest 2012 for a variety of activities. Lilacia Park. Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19, 150 S Park Ave, Lombard.
Elmhurst Museum Day.
While many Chicago museums are closed, Elmhurst celebrates International Museum Day on Sunday, May 20 with all four Elmhurst Museums: Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst Historical Museum, Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, plus the Theatre Historical Society of America showcasing exhibits and special events. Ride the complimentary trolley to visit all four museums in downtown Elmhurst for free exhibit entry, kids’ activities, refreshments and more. 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst, Phone: 630 833-1457.
On Sunday, May 20, Kankakee celebrates all things rhubarb with vendors, music, contests, pies, and gardens. The festival takes place on the Museum Campus at Small Memorial Park from 10-4 for grounds. In addition, the one room school house and the memorial home of Dr. A.L. Small, built in 1855 and boyhood home of Lennington Small, Governor of Illinois from 1921-1929, will be open. 801 South 8th Street, Kankakee, 815 932 5279.