Friday, January 8, 2010

ChiIL Winter Fun For The Weather Wimps--Lifeline Dragons, Derby Girls, Free Museums, Fishy Faces and a Tropical Oasis

Theatre outings are a great way to beat the brrrrrr.  We'd highly recommend Lifeline Theatre.    They've been a favorite of ours for years and consistently present high quality children's theatre productions.   You can make a day of it with lunch at Heartland Cafe a few blocks to the North.  Presently playing:

The Last of the Dragons
Jan 2 – Feb 21, 2010 

Saturday 1pm, Sunday 11am & 1pm

Recommended for kids 5 and up. Children under 2 are not permitted.
Check their web site for more details and to book your tickets.

There's nothing in frozen Chi Town, quite so tropical, as a conservatory in the dead of winter.   It smells like rich, green, growing things and the warm, moist heat will rejuvenate the coldest souls.   Come on out to Garfield Conservatory on the weekends for family "make and take" crafts.  No registration is necessary.   Come any Saturday or Sunday from 1-2:45.   Activities are free or involve a minimal fee.   Here's the January schedule:

January 9-10
Grow a Miniature Money Tree
Bring some good luck into your new year with a Money Tree! This fast-growing tree makes a great houseplant and brings wealth and good luck to a home. Before you leave, be sure to find the big Money Tree growing inside the Conservatory.

January 16-17
Prehistoric Plants: Fossil Fun
What kind of plants lived when the dinosaurs roamed the earth? Get an up close look at real fossils, then make your own model specimen to take home.

January 23-24
Sugar and Spice Necklaces
Discover the more fragrant plants in the Conservatory’s collection, including cinnamon and orange trees. Then, make a necklace using parts of these plants to take home. Participants will also learn about the function of each plant part.

January 30-January 31
Herbal Tea Bags
Feeling the winter blues? Make your own herbal tea bags to take home; brew this homemade tea, sip it up, and feel better in no time! Participants will learn to identify both the herbs used in this activity, and their corresponding plant parts.

Follow this link, for warm fun on Wednesday afternoons, with REI wilderness Wednesdays, the 3rd Wednesday of every month and up close fun with critters on the 4th Wednesday of every month.

The Art Institute has daily drop in programs and an excellent free series of classes for tots to teens.   Access to the education wing of their gorgeous new building is always free.   We thoroughly enjoyed the Mini Masters and Drawing in the Galleries programs.  They do fill fast, but are well worth checking out.  

Get outta the cold and check out hot modern art for free, every 2nd Saturday through May, 11-3pm.   All you need is an under 13 kid with you, and you're in.  Follow the MCA Family Day link for details.   This weekend's theme is Shelter from the Storm (AKA:  Shelter from the "store" according to   

I have a new appreciation for that sentiment after hiding out from the sub zero wind chill, in the gift shop at zoo lights.   We managed to escape without buying anything, but our little warm up led to some unnecessary begging and disappointment among the kidlets.   So, if you want to avoid relying on retail establishments as warming centers, remember all our wonderful museums instead.

Shedd Aquarium is free Jan 16-21st.   FREE general admission to the original galleries and discounts on admission passes, including entry to the Shedd's re-imagined Oceanarium and mesmerizing aquatic show, Fantasea, Powered by ComEd.  We had a great time on our last visit, snapping turtles and makes faces with the fishes.

Finally, Roller Derby rocks the UIC Pavilion with some fast skating action that will melt the snow off your boots.
 The Windy City Rollers new season starts January 30th.

We had a great time in October, when Windy City trampled The Rose City Rollers from Portland 113-73 in their final championship bout.

It was a sweet victory, made extra sweet by running into a number of our school friends like Sasha, Sam, Ruby and Esme.

and one of Sagezilla's teachers, whose alter ego is Derby Referee, Sheik Yerbouti.

Don't miss 'em again in 2010.   Grrrl power family fun.   Check their web site for bout dates, tickets and group discounts.

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