Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending my morning with some expectant and new mamas at the monthly Bump Club and Beyond Brunch at Vinci. I was part of a panel of Chicago mommy bloggers including Cindy McCarthy of On the Go Chicago, Linda Marsicano of Babble Chicago and my buddy and business partner Sara Fisher of Self-Made Mom fame.
Lindsay Pinchuk, the super savvy (and super nice) founder of Bump Club invited us all to come and share our tips for navigating family life in the city. I can’t speak for everyone there — but I had a ton of fun, plus I learned a tip or two myself!
I spoke about the very best free family activities in the city. I thought I would share these same tips with you all in case you were interested (and who among us isn’t interested in awesome free things, right?).
My Favorite Family Freebies in Chicago:
- Garfield Park Conservatory. Particularly at this dreadfully gray and dreary time of year, I love the Garfield Park Conservatory. This gorgeous (and totally free) spot will transport you and your little ones to happier and warmer times. I particularly love the Morning Glories program for toddlers on Monday mornings and Wild Wednesdays for the 3 and over set on the last Wednesday of every month.
- Museum Free Days. Taking 3 kiddos to a museum is just flat out expensive. So we try to take advantage of local free museum days whenever we can. Now, you need to prepare yourself for some crowds (think field trips) on these free days. My advice is to go early and get out before things get too busy. Chicago Kids has a comprehensive list that you want to know about here. For wee ones, I would especially try to take advantage of the free days at the Shedd Aquarium and the Nature Museum because they both offers lots for little guys to see and do.
- Free Music Performances. We are big fans of Bubbles Academy, the Old Town School of Folk Music, Marsha’s Music Together and all of the other fabulous family music programs out there — but you can come by some of that great programming for free. On Thursdays at 10:00 a.m., check out the free Bubbles Academy performance at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods. And also mark your calendars for the talented Mr. Singer at the Lincoln Park Farm-in-the-Zoo on both Wednesday and Friday mornings.
- Free Story Times. Daily Candy Kids recently created this super helpful list of free storytimes for every single day of the week — yippee! Take a look and mark your calendars for the next wet, dreary, or freezing cold day heading our way (which is . . . tomorrow and every day after that for the next two months).
- Millennium Park. I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but in warmer times, Millennium Park is the place to be. Every day throughout the summer, families can take advantage of all of the fabulous free activities taking place in the Target Family Fun Festival. Highlights include performances from the Old Town School of Music Wiggleworms and crafts and activities that change weekly. Mark your calendars — and think warm thoughts.
I recognize that this is just the tip of the family freebie iceberg. Have other suggestions? Share them in the comments (the more freebies, the better!).
Filed under: blogging, Deals you should know about, Free museum days, Fun for the Whole Family, Garfield Park Conservatory, Lincoln Park Zoo, Peggy Notebaert Natuer Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Story times, Stuff for Chicago kids, The Best Kind of Fun is Free