Summer Family Fun in Chicago
Young Eagles Program – Free Airplane Rides for Kids
Young Eagles is a FREE program offered by the EAA (the Experimental Aircraft Association is a community of enthusiasts who fly, build and restore recreational aircraft) throughout the country to introduce young people to general aviation. What better way to discover the joys of flying than to actually go for a free ride in a plane!! We are featuring today the Young Eagles Program offered in Aurora, but this program is offered at other Chicago area airports as well.
What will your flight be like? After you complete the registration form and your parent/guardian signs it, your pilot will explain what will happen during the flight. This might include talking about the airplane, completing a careful preflight inspection of the airplane and identifying the parts that control the airplane and how they work.
Once you are ready to go flying, your pilot will help you buckle your seatbelt and describe the interior of the airplane, including the instrument panel. Then it’s time to go flying!! Young Eagles flights usually last about 15 minutes. Before, during and after the flight, there will be time to ask any questions you may have about the flight and the airplane.
Since 1992, more than 1.5 million kids have been flown by nearly 40,000 volunteer pilots. Chapter 579's pilots have flown more than 15,000 young people from the Aurora Airport, and they want to fly more.
Where: Aurora Municipal Airport, 43W636 US Highway 30, Sugar Grove, IL
When: June 24, August 26, September 23 and October 21. Rides are given 9AM – 2PM, weather permitting.
Ages: Kids aged 8 – 17 years.
Santa’s Village Azoosment Park
Chicago area parents grew up visiting Santa’s Village, and many are not aware that it reopened. The new owners have combined an amusement park and zoo to create this Azoosment Park, where admission price includes amusement rides, petting zoo, reindeer (of course!), pony rides, horse drawn sleigh rides, free flying aviary, and magic / entertainment shows. This year, three new rides and a new aviary have been added. Special appearances will be made this summer by favorite characters Diego (this Wednesday and Thursday, June 20th and 21st) and Sponge Bob (July 25th & 26th).
Where: 601 Dundee Avenue, East Dundee, IL
When: Open daily EXCEPT Tuesday through August 24th. Open weekends in September and October.
Cost: $17.75 PER PERSON (adults and children 3 years and up); $14.75 for Seniors (65 and up);
2 and under free.
• On Mondays through August 13th, bring 2 cans of nonperishable food for the Northern Illinois Food Bank and save $3.00 off admission for one person.
• The Azoosment Park proudly supports the brave men and women in the US armed forces. Active Military with a valid ID are free.
Ages: Most rides are targeted to younger children, but all ages will enjoy the animals.
Donley’s Wild West Town
The excitement and charm of the Old West comes alive at Donley’s West Town. Visitors experience life in the style of the Wild West, where gunslingers have showdowns, and a train whistles past the Blacksmith's Shop, Print Shop, Jail, Saloon and Sweet Phyllis Gold Mine.
Admission includes access to all attractions, which include a museum, panning for gold, pony rides, train rides, tomahawk throw and archery range, roping lessons, slingshot range, petting zoo and more. Kids delight in watching the Wild West Show and interacting with the staff, all of whom are in costume and maintain their character roles at all times. Watch out for the sheriff, who just might throw you in jail!
When you get hungry, the on-site restaurant serves delicious meals.
Where: Donley’s Wild West Town, 8512 South Union Road, Union, IL
When: Open daily through August 19th; weekends August 25 – October 28
Cost: $15 per person, which includes all rides and attractions. Children under 2 and under are FREE.
Ages: All ages.
Free or Low Cost Summer Movie Festivals
Featuring: Classic Cinema’s Wednesday Morning Movie Series
Many movie theaters offer free or very low cost showings of mostly second run, family-friendly movies during the summer, and you can find a list of them on kidwinks’ Free Summer Movie List.
The series we are highlighting today is the Wednesday Morning Movies Series (WMMS) at Classic Cinemas. The WMMS will run every Wednesday morning through August 8th (except July 4th), and will show only G and PG rated films. Kids can arrive early to meet some of their favorite characters and join in on fun games and activities. This year’s schedule includes favorites such as Kung Fu Panda, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Puss In Boots, The Smurfs, and a “surprise” movie to end the season on August 8th.
Where: The following 12 Classic Cinemas theaters are participating in WMMS:
Charlestowne 18 Theatre, St. Charles, IL
Lake Theatre, Oak Park, IL
Elk Grove Theatre, Elk Grove, IL
Fox Lake Theatre, Fox Lake, IL
Ogden 6 Theatre, Naperville, IL
Tivoli Theatre, Downers Grove, IL
Woodstock Theatre, Woodstock, IL
York Theatre, Elmhurst, IL
Cinema 12 Theatre, Carpentersville, IL
Lindo Theatre, Freeport, IL
Paramount Theatre, Kankakee, IL
When: WMMS runs every Wednesday from June 13 - August 8, except July 4. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. and the movie starts at 10:00 a.m.
Cost: $1 per person.
Ages: All ages.
For more information: