Hear those school bells ringing? It is officially summer in Chicago! The next three months are Chicago's opportunity to really shine (because you absolutely cannot beat a summer in our great city!). However, the truth is that there are more wonderful local events and activities in the our area than you could possibly get to in one summer. So let's prioritize. Here are ten can't-miss, must-do items to add to your family's summer bucket list.
Play. Take advantage of the excellent Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park sometime between July 2 and September 2, 2012. Each day features live music, crafts, storytimes, interactive activities and more. The content changes throughout the summer so plan to visit more than once.
Rock out. Fans of the super family-friendly Folk and Roots festival in Welles Park (which isn't happening this year) will find an equally good opportunity to get down to family folk music at the new Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square. The Old Town School of Music hosts this event so the music is sure to be fantastic. (Don't forget those dancin' shoes!)
Hang with the animals. Stroll through the always-awesome Lincoln Park Zoo and then head over to the adjacent Nature Boardwalk where you can see what's happening in and around the pond.
Explore nature. Scope out the (super beautiful) scene at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Stop by for 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 an al fresco film! Grab a picnic dinner and a big, comfy blanket and head out to your local park at dusk for a cinematic 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.
Get smart about art. Kids of all ages can gets hands-on experience with modern art at Summer Studios days at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Every Tuesday features a different themed activity—and it is all free.
Chow down. Try something new at The Taste of Chicago. This year's event has been shortened up significantly and will run from July 11 to 15. While the Taste of Chicago can be an overwhelming experience, the food and programming offerings in the kid's area make this excursion worth the effort.
See a Chicago sports team in action. Whether you are a loyal Southsider, a devoted Northsider, or even a soccer or basketball fan, there is a Chicago team for you to cheer on during the summer months. Go Chicago!
Avoid summer brain drain! Fight the ubiquitous "summer slide" by keeping your little one reading during the summer months. Sign up for the summer reading program at your local library as an incentive to make summer reading fresh and fun.
Beach it, baby. Chicago's lakefront is where it is at during the balmy summer months. Build a sand castle, take a dip, bike the path or board a boat! Take advantage of all that Lake Michigan has to offer!
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