July 20: Focus on Family - Chicago Area Free/Low Cost Summer Fun for Families

FamilySportsEntertainmentConcertsMusicWetlandsNatural Resources

Free/Low Cost Summer Fun

Thursday Free Concerts in Lincoln Park (St. Charles)
For more information:
www.st-charlesparks.orgSummer means free concerts throughout the Chicago area. The Thursday concerts in Lincoln Park in St. Charles are just one example. Park districts, cities and other organizations host free outdoor family-friendly concerts all summer long. Some are geared specifically toward children, some include other forms of free entertainment for kids such as balloon artists or face painters, and you can sometimes even find concerts that are held in conjunction with free ice cream socials.

Wagner Farm
The Glenview Park District's 18.6 acre Wagner Farm is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County and is open to the public for recreation and learning. The farm provides a unique opportunity for families to learn about our farming heritage and experience first hand "the way things used to be."

Beat the heat of summer with a free outdoor movie in the cooler evening hours, or a free indoor movie in an air conditioned theater. Each summer, park districts, cities and other organizations host free outdoor family-friendly movies and many of the area movie theaters host free (or very cheap) second-run indoor movies specifically geared to children.

Free Outdoor Movies in Chicago Area

Free Indoor Movies in Chicago Area

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
The park is comprised of over 15,000 acres of dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, rivers, and forests. It contains 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline spanning the distance from Gary to Michigan City. Immediately inland from the beaches, sand dunes rise to almost 200 feet in a series of ridges, blowouts, and valleys.

All parking areas in the national lakeshore are free of charge except for West Beach, which has access 596 spaces. Located on County Line Road northwest of Portage, the user fees are $6.00 per vehicle.

Mundelein Community Center Spray Park
Fun is had by all while the kids cool off during the hot summer season. Interactive water features for children age 0-9 years, a sand play area, shuffleboard, and sand volleyball make this attraction a draw for the whole family.

Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a 24.5 acre park in the heart of downtown Chicago. In addition to the regular features like the Cloud Gate Sculpture and the interactive Crown Fountain where kids can play and get wet , the Family Fun Festival makes the Park the place to be for kids of all ages this summer. Every day, from June 9 through September 3 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., family performances and hands-on activities will take place in the Family Fun Tent, located on the Park's Chase Promenade North.

Perseid Meteor Shower
Kids love the concept of falling stars and wishing on them, but rarely get a chance to actually see one. Falling stars are actually meteors, and there are certain times of the year when meteor showers occur, with many, many "falling stars" occurring. The Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. This year's shower should peak on the night of August 12 and the morning of the 13th, but you may be able to see some meteors any time from July 23 - August 22.

Free Days at Area Museums
Chicago is blessed with top-notch museums, and many host free admission days throughout the year, including in the summer. These free admission days are generally more crowded than other days, but it's a great way to visit these museums while on a budget.

Kids Bowl Free
Kids can bowl 2 free games every day of the summer at participating bowling alleys throughout the Chicago area. Simply register online, select your bowling center, and receive a weekly email with coupons for your kids to bowl free each day of that week.

Student Ball Pass at Brunswick Zone
Sign your kids up for one free game of bowling every day this summer â June, July and August. Register online.

Kidwinks.com is a boutique website that caters to today's generation of parents who are time-crunched, socially conscious and internet reliant. Kidwinks provides one-stop access to information about kid-friendly events, activities, restaurants, shops and services in the Chicago area. There is no charge to use kidwinks and membership is also free. Members enjoy additional benefits including email reminders and the ability to sort search results by mileage from their home. Developed by two Park Ridge, IL moms, kidwinks has grown to thousands of members. For more information, please visit www.kidwinks.com.

Code for Contest: wgntvmiddaynews

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times