10 Ways to Shower Your World with Fun in April

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See ya later, snow! Hello, sunshine and warming temps! It’s no April fool’s gag when we say Chicago is bringing the fun this month. Live music, a colorful and musical temporary exhibit and chances to get out and run as a family make this month special. What else does the city have cookin’? Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out!

photo: Red Yarn, coming to Old Town School of Folk Music

(1) Build-a-Tree Eco-Workshop
Morton Arboretum invites families to participate in a self-guided, hands-on discovery activity using natural and recycled materials to create a nature keepsake. A bottle cap tree, a newspaper bird, a popsicle flower . . . where will your creativity lead you? Keep coming back to build, because materials could change daily.

When: Daily all month long
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: The Children’s Garden at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL. Rte 53, Lisle
Cost: Free with Arboretum admission
Online: mortonarb.org

(2) Prismatica
Show your hearty Chicago side and brave the chill to experience Navy Pier’s temporary exhibit, Prismatica, an immersive art installation comprised of 25 pivoting prisms more than 6-feet tall. The prisms, mounted on bases containing projectors, transmit and reflect every color in the visible spectrum, varying with the position of the light source and the observer. As guests wander among and manipulate the prisms, they will enjoy an infinite interplay of lights and colorful reflections, as well as a variable-intensity soundtrack comprised of bell sounds.

When: Through Apr. 15
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Where: Polk Bros. Park at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
Cost: Free
Online: navypier.org

(3) Go Blue for Autism Awareness
To bring awareness to Autism, Brookfield Zoo is partnering with Autism Speaks for the annual Zoos Go Blue Campaign. To commemorate the day, the water in the zoo’s Roosevelt Fountain will be dyed blue, the iconic lion statues will be clothed in blue ribbons and there will be blue flags decorating the park’s grounds. Families are encouraged to visit the zoo’s new inclusion resource center and sensory-friendly family room located at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The room offer fidgets and other sensory-support materials, comfortable seating, blackout curtains, dimmable lights and access to Wi-Fi, while the newly renovated resource center provides tools to enhance a visit, including an accessibility guide, visual schedules, social stories, magazines and noise-reducing headphones.

When: Apr. 7
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield
Cost: $21.95/adults; $15.95/ages 3-11; discounts available online
Online: czs.org/zoosgoblue

(4) Future Hits at The Book Cellar
Founded by rock musician and CPS School teacher Matt Baron, Future Hits is the face of innovative kids music adults can enjoy too. They start with rock music and incorporate language arts curriculum that’ll give your kiddo a sneak-attack English lesson. We’re talking spelling words, literacy and even common core. Fun for the whole fam! He has a new book, Songs for Learning! Playbook, which is a song-driven activity book that explores phonics, literacy and language.

When: Apr. 7
Hours: 11 a.m.
Where: The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square
Cost: Free
Online: futurehits.org

(5) Raffi, Bringing Smiles to Chicago
Baby Beluga. Bananaphone. Down by the Bay. What do these three things have in common? They’re all popular songs you probably recognize by legendary children’s entertainer, Raffi. He’s clocked over 40 years in the making-kids-happy business and he’s stopping into Chicago’s Harris Theater for a sing-a-long with you and yours!

When: Apr. 8
Hours: 1 p.m.
Where: Harris Theatre, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Millennium Park
Cost: $29.50-$75
Online: harristheaterchicago.org

(6) Free Family Day at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Every second Saturday MCA hosts Family Day, a free monthly program where Chicago artists transform the museum and you can take part in workshops, open studio sessions, gallery tours and performances. This month’s theme is Adventurers and you’ll discover natural and imaginary landscapes, meet Eda Yorulmazoglu’s creatures, travel to Southeast Asia with Axis Lab and more.

When: Apr. 14
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Streeterville
Cost: Free
Online: mcachicago.org

(7) Little Miss Ann and Red Yarn Double-Header Concert
Chicago’s Little Miss Ann, an award winning kids musician, former public school teacher, and a veteran instructor at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music hosts Portland folk musician Red Yarn for an all-ages hootenanny. Little Miss Ann has released five albums including her recent Parents’ Choice award winning album Keep On. Red Yarn blends puppetry and engaging folk music to engage the whole family in singing, playing and dancing along. The nationally touring and award-winning artist is celebrating the release of a new album, Red Yarn’s Old Barn.

When: Apr. 15
Hours: 11 a.m.-noon
Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Cost: $12
Online: oldtownschool.org

(8) Real Secret Super Powers at The Laboratory
Who is faster than a speeding L train? More powerful than a Chicago winter? And able to fly over The Bean in a single bound? While parents get their own night out, kids join The Laboratory for a tasty pizza dinner and a unique hands-on workshop. Kids will explore their worlds beneath their feet and above their heads and, using engineering, chemistry, stories, imagination and creativity, they will unearth the secret superpowers of insects and their world.

When: Apr. 21
Hours: 6:15 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: The Laboratory Chicago, 2349 W. North Ave., Bucktown/Wicker Park
Cost: $40 non-members; $10 members
Online: thelaboratorychi.org

(9) Go Run!
The Chicago Park District and Chicago Area Runners Association have paired up to provide weekly timed runs in 3 Chicago Parks, Humboldt Park, Warren Park and Washington Park.  Make the runs a weekly event to explore new areas of Chicago while getting fit with your family. Strollers are welcome, so no one needs to be left behind.

When: Every Saturday, beginning Apr. 28
Hours: 9 a.m.
Where: Humboldt Park, 1339 Luis Munoz Marin Dr., Humboldt Park; Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave., West Rogers Park; Washington Park, Russell & Warren Drives, Washington Park
Cost: Free
Online: cararuns.org

(10) Newly opened! Punch Bowl Social
Experience Punch Bowl Social’s eat-drink-play concept that’s no-fail fun for families with activities like shuffleboard, ping-pong, marbles, 80s video games, bowling, virtual reality and skee-ball. The fun is family appropriate until 10 p.m. and then it’s big kids only.

When: Daily
Hours: Mon.-Fri.., 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-midnight
Where: Punch Bowl Social , 310 N. Green St., West Loop
Cost: À la carte food & games
Online: punchbowlsocial.com

Big plans for April? Shout about it in the Comments below!

—Maria Chambers

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