March is an awkward month for families. How do you plan a fun-filled family-friendly outing when the weather can be unpredictable, but kids still have a few days off school?
From north to south, Illinois has plenty of fantastic family-oriented events and activities. Whether you’re looking for a way to integrate a little bit of education on Casimir Pulaski Day — an official holiday in the city of Chicago — or just looking for something to keep the kids entertained on their day off school, there is truly something for all. Check out some of these special events right here in Illinois:
No doubt kids will be excited to have a day off school (and a long weekend to boot). To avoid the sounds of “I’m bored” and a day of channel-surfing and gaming, these events across Illinois are the perfect way to keep kids entertained:
An interactive magic show? Yes, please! Head to the Legacy Theater in Springfield for “The Amazing Max,” a limited-time magic show that the entire family will enjoy. From disappearing acts to sleight of hand tricks and even defying the laws of physics, The Amazing Max will leave your kids spellbound and you enthralled. Designed for all ages, this show is one of New York’s hottest Off-Broadway shows, and it’s right here in the state capitol.
Rockford’s Burpee Museum of Natural History boasts a plethora of amazing exhibits, like T. rex Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, a Triceratops named Homer, a special Native American exhibit, and a geoscience viewing lab. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the exciting take on how our world was made in this four-floor adventure.
During the weekend of March 2–3, Burpee Museum of Natural History will host PaleoFest 2019, where you will learn about modern paleontology, participate in activities and seminars, listen to expert panels, and enjoy live music.
It’s a bird...it’s a plane….no, wait, it really is a bird! Head to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton on March 4 for your last chance to see American Bald Eagles in the wild! A specialist at the park presents informative programs about bald eagles and you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about these rare birds, so you’re sure to walk away with some incredible knowledge. The program begins at 8:30am and you will observe a short video before heading out to see bald eagles for yourselves!
If you’re looking for an outdoorsy activity that you can’t do anywhere else, head to Starved Rock State Park for Owl Prowl, a special weekend event. Adults and kids are invited to join Steve Baily, an ornithologist, to learn about species of owls and even call in a variety of owls while on a nature walk through the beautiful trails at Starved Rock.
A little world and state history never hurt anyone, so take advantage of Casimir Pulaski Day — an official holiday in the city of Chicago — which takes place on the first Monday in March. Named after a Revolutionary War hero, the holiday is a time to celebrate the heritage and history of Chicago's Polish population. Whether you head to the city on Casimir Pulaski Day itself or just want to take a day to admire the architecture, there are quite a few ways to make a trip to Chicago a fun and educational family outing. Check out these spots that celebrate Pulaski and honor his Polish heritage:
On Casimir Pulaski Day, state and city officials take part in an official ceremony at the Polish Museum of America to celebrate the storied history and impressive achievements of Chicago’s Polish community. Free to attend, the Pulaski Day Ceremony at the Polish Museum runs from 9 a.m. to noon. With lots of photos and folk art documenting the history of Polish immigration to America, the museum is worth a visit any day of the year.
At one time, Chicago was said to have the largest Polish population in the world outside of Warsaw. While that claim may not have been entirely accurate, it's undeniable that Chicago was a prime destination for throngs of Polish immigrants. As workers came to the city from Poland to work in the steel and railroad industries, they settled in an area that came to be known as Polish Downtown.
Today, much of the area that comprised Polish Downtown is known as West Town, and the population is much less saturated. But the history of the neighborhood endures in the opulent exteriors of Polish cathedrals.
While in the area, take a mini architecture tour by exploring some of the buildings that exemplify Polish cathedrals in Chicago:
Another historic piece of Chicago architecture, the Chopin Theatre is 100 years old and located in the bustling Wicker Park neighborhood. Over the years, the Chopin has proudly premiered several Eastern European shows and productions — giving it an undeniable place in the history of Chicago's Polish population.
by Erica Abdnour of Concierge Preferred
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