DIY curriculum for kids and parents | Chicago teachers strike
- Adler Planetarium 1300 S Lake Shore Dr (312-922-7827, www.adlerplanetarium.org) "The Universe: A Walk through Space and Time" is a new exhibit that opened this summer, tracking how our universe evolved, from Big Bang to present day. Super kid-friendly with lots of interactive elements.
- The Chicago History Museum 1601 North Clark St (312-642-4600, www.chicagohistory.org) Admission is free to Illinois residents Tuesday–Thursday this week and next week. There's lots of great exhibits about the city's history, including "Sensing Chicago," a permanent exhibit where kids can "catch" a fly ball at the old Comiskey park, make themselves into a Chicago hot dog and hear sounds from the Great Chicago Fire. "Facing Freedom" is great for older kids (and timely), taking a look at protests, boycotts and unions throughout the city's past.
- The Field Museum 1400 South Lake Shore Dr (312-922-9410, www.fieldmuseum.org) It’s an obvious choice, and you can’t go wrong. We’re categorizing the Field under Social Studies/History, but it’d do just as well under Science. You’ve got a few permanent exhibits to choose from, like "Restoring Earth," "Evolving Planet" and "Underground Adventure." And since we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a quick resolution to the standoff, you should take advantage of the time to check out temporary exhibits like "Extreme Mammals," which looks at the big, the small, and the most fascinating mammals ever to roam the planet. There are also the mummified, Egyptian sarcophagi at "Images of the Afterlife." Weekdays at 11am is "Talk to a Scientist Hour" in the DNA Discovery Center. Real scientists answer questions about things like DNA, genetics and evolution. Families get free admission over the next two days. So we ask you, is there really any better time to go?
- The Harold Washington Library Center 400 S State St (312-345-3234, choosingtoparticipate.org) It doesn't get much easier than a free event located right downtown. From now until November 11, the library will be displaying the Choosing to Participate multimedia exhibit that touches on the history of racial and social injustices, including the Little Rock Nine and the 1993 hate crimes from Billings, Montana, among others. Along with the other exhibits, Upstanders: Portraits of Courage and pARTicipation: Young Artists Speak Up, will honor local Chicago heroes and the artwork of young Chicago students depicting the importance of making the right choices in life.
- Kenosha Public Museum 5500 First Ave, Kenosha WI (262-653-4140, www.kenosha.org/museum) The streets are packed with picketers and protesters. What better opportunity to head out of town for the day, assuming parents have the luxury. Up in Kenosha, the list of cool stuff includes the local museum's stuffed wooly mammoth, plus a temporary exhibit open through September that features lacquered paper-mache boxes that portray Russian folk tales, awakening the inner anthropologists inside of you. For an added bonus, kids can wander the “Midwestern Treasures: Packard China and its contemporaries” exhibit, followed by a stop at the Field Station on the 1st floor to design a custom “China pattern” at the Mary Frost Ashley Treasures Gallery.
- The National Hellenic Museum 333 South Halsted St (312-655-1234, www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org) Unfortunately, "Gods, Myths and Mortals" is no longer around, but the people at the Hellenic museum want you to know how it got there in the first place. "Preview: In Search of Home" offers a behind-the-scenes look at how its exhibitions are created and designed, which makes for a neat afternoon.
- Art Institute of Chicago 111 South Michigan Ave (312-443-3600, www.artic.edu) The Ryan Education Center provides free daily admission for ages 14 and under. You'll want to check out "Told and Retold: Picture Book Artists from Studio Goodwin Sturges," open through October 28.
- Chicago Public Library Various locations throughout the city (chipublib.org) The Chicago Public Library has reserved computers at all its locations for CPS students that need to complete online course work for AP and Credit Recovery. The awesome collection of books around you can also fill your day.
- The Court Theatre 5535 S Ellis Ave (773-702-7005, www.courttheatre.org) This coming Thursday, September 13 at 10:30am, a free, special performance of August Wilson's Jitney is available to any CPS student (and one parent/guardian) with a valid CPS I.D., assuming that teachers are still on strike.
- DuSable Museum 740 East 56th Pl (773-947-0600, www.dusablemuseum.org) “Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities Through Language” opened in September, which documents a people’s journey from Africa to the Americas and the music they brought with them. As Lorenzo Dow Turner discovered, the Gullah people of Georgia and South Carolina kept certain musical traditions of their West African ancestors. it should serve well during trivia sessions in the music department.
- Chicago Botanic Garden 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe (847-835-5440, www.chicagobotanic.org) A 7,500-square-foot "Model Railroad Garden" directs mini-trains around 1,600 feet of track, which includes 50 miniature replica landmarks like Wrigley Field and Mount Rushmore. Since the exhibit is open through October 28, there’s more than a month left to check out the mini-iron horses as they cruise outdoors, but you may as well go now while the weather’s still warm. Act fast and you can take part in the Tru Blooms Chicago Fragrance event tomorrow, September 12. Light refreshments are available as the family takes in the Garden’s floral scents.
- Morton Arboretum 4100 Illinois Rt 53, Lisle (630-968-0074, www.mortonarb.org) Wednesdays are discount admission days at Morton, where “every tree has a story just waiting to be told,” says the description of the museum's latest exhibit called "Tree House Tales." Six unique tree houses prompt a discussion about the vital role that trees play in our lives. Be one of the first to experience this new outdoor adventure, now open through November. We imagine the strike will be resolved by then, but think how cool for school your botany-inspired kids will sound when they tell their friends about Morton’s newest attraction. For all the kids with appetites, “You Say Tomato, I Say Fruit” takes place weekdays in September, letting your kids munch on fresh veggies and fruits to determine the difference between them.
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 2430 N Cannon Dr (773-755-5100, www.naturemuseum.org) October officially marks the end of "Monsters on Bikes"—a loaded look at the history of bicycles and their conservationist impact on the globe. The Drop-in Family Fun: Bike Crafts event— activities like bicycle bingo, spoke cards and designing your own handlebar streamers with recycled material—makes for a good weekday activity. Overwhelmed by the city/union hoopla? Cruise through the Notebaert museum’s calming, magical Judy Istock Butterfly Haven or "The Wilderness Walk"—an outdoor exhibit that recreates three natural environments: a prairie, a savannah and a dune.