Lions and Puppets and Chairs--Oh, My!

Children visiting Chicago and environs this summer will find plenty to do, with a new family-friendly zoo, a puppet festival and whimsical sofas and chairs scattered around the city.

On June 14, Brookfield Zoo near Chicago opens the Hamill Family Play Zoo, designed for children up to 10 years and their parents. It aims to educate youngsters about the natural world through activities. Young visitors can dress up in animal costumes, perform make-believe veterinary surgery, plant miniature gardens, groom pets and build mock dens and nests. Admission to the area is $4 adults, $2 ages 3 to 11, plus general admission of $7 adults and $3.50 children. Telephone (708) 485-0263, http://www.brookfieldzoo.org.

Also starting June 14 and continuing through June 24: Chicago's first puppetry festival, dubbed "Puppetropolis Chicago." More than 30 performances, exhibits and workshops for children and adults are planned. Many activities are free; others cost up to $20. Tel. (312) 744-3370, http://www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents (click on "Festivals & Events").

While wandering city streets, visitors can check out "Suite Home Chicago," which displays hundreds of pieces of fiberglass furniture decorated by local artists. It opened this weekend and runs through Oct. 13.

Compiled by JANE ENGLE

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