15 Things You HAVE to Do in June!

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Hasta la vista, Spring! It’s been fun, but we’re shedding the layers in favor of swimsuits and shades. This month, explore new exhibits, hit up a fest or two, come in for a landing at the Cavalcade of Planes — wait, there’s more where that come from! Check out our Editor’s picks for kicking off summer in the Windy City.

photo: courtesy of Maria Chambers 

(1) Nature Nights: Ready, Set, Grow!
Pack a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the garden. Along with a enjoying a tram ride, a planting project and s’mores around the campfire, kids will learn what plants need in order to grow and gardening basics in Chicago Botanic Garden’s Grunsfield Children’s Growing Garden.

When: Jun. 2, 9 & 30
Hours: 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
Cost: $26/child; 20% discount for members
Online: chicagobotanic.org/naturenights

(2) Do-Division Annual Family Fun Fest
Be a kid again at Do-Division’s annual Family Fun Fest. Joust with your kids or race them up a climbing wall. Toss around a ball at the sports area, and boogie on down at the kid’s music and talent show.

When: Jun. 2 & 3
Hours: noon-6 p.m.
Where: Hoyne between Crystal & Potomac and on Crystal between Hoyne & Damen, Wicker Park
Cost: Suggested donation of $10/person
Online: do-divisionstreetfest.com

(3) Feed your need for speed at Cavalcade of Planes
Throw on your old-timey aviator gear and hit up Clow International Airport’s Cavalcade of Planes. New planes, vintage planes, military vehicles, drone demos, helicopters, refueling simulator — it’s no wonder this event attracts more than 10,000 visitors every year! Beyond just getting a line of sight on all these cool things, you’ll see them in motion with formation flying, helicopter demonstrations and even a chance to take to the skies yourself.

When: June 2 & 3
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Clow International Airport, 130 International Pkwy., Bolingbrook
Cost: $5/adults, $3/ages 5-12, free for ages 11 & under
Online: cavalcadeofplanes.com

(4) Family Sunday with the Sox
Spend a family Sunday with the Sox! The White Sox ballpark experience for kids will feature special kid-focused activities throughout the concourse and the opportunity to run the bases after the game.

When: Jun. 3, 17 & 24
Hours: 1:10 p.m.
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th St., Chicago
Cost: $5+
Online: mlb.com/whitesox

(5) Nickelodeon Slimefest: A Day of Music and Slime

Nickelodeon is making the world a more playful place by bringing you Nickelodeon SlimeFest — part music festival, part Nickelodeon slime party! SlimeFest will feature live performances by Zedd, Liam Payne, Flo Rida and JoJo Siwa! Plus, fans will get the chance to meet their favorite Nick stars Ella Anderson, Riele Downs, Benjamin Flores Jr., Kel Mitchell, Daniella Perkins, Breana Yde and Owen Joyner.

When: Jun. 9 & 10
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Huntington Bank Pavilion, 300 S. Linn White Dr., Northerly Island
Cost: $49+
Online: nickslimefest.com

(6) Railroad Day at Franklin Park Fest
Franklin Park Railroad Day is one heck of a choo-choo extravaganza. Explore the interiors of over a dozen trains and check out some classic train memorabilia. Kids can take mini train rides and everyone can enjoy a carnival, live entertainment and food at this train-tastic fest.

When: Jun. 9
Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Tower Park, Calwagner Street & Franklin Avenue, Franklin Park
Cost:  Free, except for train rides
Online:  villageoffranklinpark.com

(7) A Pride Fest with a Swedish Twist: Andersonville Midsommarfest
Set in the heart of Chicago’s historically Swedish neighborhood, you’ll enjoy music, dancing, kids’ entertainment and food. Check out unique craft vendors and sample the local talent with ethnic dance troupes and 5 performance stages. It’s one of the highlights of Pride Month and, while not solely Pride focused, Andersonville is a diverse area that loves to celebrate its LGBTQ community.

When: Jun. 9-11
Hours: Fri., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Where: Clark Street, from Foster to Catalpa, Andersonville
Cost: Suggested donation of $10/person; free for ages 12 & under
Online: starevents.com

(8) Cubs Kids Sundays at Wrigley Field
It’s always a beautiful day for a Cubs game, especially if it’s a Sunday afternoon home game. The Cubs celebrate their youngest fans with kid-friendly giveaways distributed at the gates to the first 5,000 kids ages 13 and under. Following every Sunday afternoon game, the first 1,000 kids (with a wristband provided at entry) can participate in Kids Run the Bases.

When: Jun. 10
Hours: 1:20 p.m.
Where: Wrigley Field, 1060 W Addison St., Wrigleyville
Cost: Varies
Online: mlb.com

(9) It’s All About Kids at Geneva’s Swedish Summer Days
This classic ode to summer has kid’s events for six straight days. Live music, carnival rides, 5K and tent with everything Swedish are just a few of the can’t-miss activities at this Swedish-inspired fest.

When: Jun. 19-24
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.
Where: Main & First Streets, Geneva
Cost: Free (cost for some activities)
Online: genevachamber.com

(10) Eyes to the Skies Carnival & Fest
Here’s your chance to see a hot air balloon up close — or even ride in one! Hot air balloons rise up daily, and tethered balloon rides are available in between. There’s also a carnival and a children’s area with LEGO building, martial arts and dance performances, storytelling, music, games and animal shows. Fireworks that end the festivities every night round out this spectacle.

When: Jun. 27-Jul. 1
Hours: Carnival: Wed. & Thurs., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Fri., 3 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., noon-11 p.m.; Balloon launches after 6 a.m. & 6 p.m.

Where: Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle
Cost: $8; free for ages 6 & under (purchase tickets to ride carnival rides)
Online: eyestotheskies.org

(11) Beauty and The Beast presented by Chicago Kids Company
Come watch a Disney classic come to life and be reminded all over again the strength of true love. Belle, Beast, Gaston and all your favorite characters will delight your child with comedy, romance and audience participation whether they are new to the story or have watched it countless times.

When: Through Jun. 29
Hours: Showtimes vary, check website
Where: Stahl Family Theater, 5900 W. Belmont Ave., Portage Park
Cost: $12
Online: chicagokidscompany.com

(12) Soak Up the Underwater Beauty
Shedd’s newest exhibit, Underwater Beauty, celebrates the unbelievable beauty living in our oceans, lakes and rivers. You’ll catch a glimpse of the grandeur beneath the waves as 100 species from around the world come together in an evocative new space consisting of five distinct rooms that display a variety of adaptations and characteristics of aquatic beauty including: Shimmer, Color, Patterns, Rhythm and a final room featuring ample seating and beautiful fresh water fish/plant life. As you explore, feel the rhythms, embrace the colors and savor the patterns found only underwater.

When: All month long
Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. & weekends 9 a.m.-6 p.m. until Jun. 11; Daily after Jun. 11, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Cost: $39.95/adults; $29.95/ages 3-11; 50% discount for Chicago residents
Online: sheddaquarium.org

(13) The Science Behind Pixar at MSI
We all have a favorite Pixar movie. Whether it be Toy Story, Inside Out or A Bug’s Life, Museum of Science and Industry is giving you a unique look at the Pixar process of creating these instantly classic films. The Science Behind Pixar is an interactive exhibition showcasing the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help imbed these beloved characters into our hearts. During your visit, you’ll visit eight sections, each focusing on a different step of filmmaking: Modeling, Rigging, Surfaces, Sets and Cameras, Animation, Simulation, Lighting, and Rendering.

When: All month long
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Museum Science + Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Hyde Park
Cost: Museum entry plus $14/adults, $11/kids
Online: msichicago.org

(14) Troll Take-Over at Morton Arboretum
Something special is emerging from the woods, meadows and vast open spaces at The Morton Arboretum’s grounds . . . unusual creatures, each made of reclaimed wood and measuring 15- to 20-feet-tall. Danish artist Thomas Dambo and crews of woodworkers and volunteers are constructing the mammoth mythical creatures of Troll Hunt, a new exhibition debuting June 22. Watch these guardians of the forest, who are trying to make sense of the human world and make us think about our impacts on the planet, take shape during weekdays through June 21.

When: All month long
Hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. through Jun. 21; Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. after Jun. 21
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Route 53, Lisle
Cost: Free with admission; $15/adults, $10/ages 2-17 (discounts on Wednesdays)
Online: mortonarb.org

(15) Celebrate Family Equality at Chicago Children’s Museum
Through the end of June, museum goers can help transform a thee-story staircase into a giant rainbow by adding colorful ribbons and write their ideas about family on the “What Makes a Family?” chalk wall. Pretty cool stuff, right? For other ideas on how to celebrate Pride Month in Chicago, check out our story To the Rainbow! Pride Month Fun for Families.

When: All month long
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier
Cost: $14.95/adults & children; free for ages 1 & under
Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

What’s on your family agenda for June. We’d love to hear all about it in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers

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