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Summer Bucket List: 7 Must-do Family Activities in the Chicago Western Suburbs

Tired of hearing that your kids are bored during summer vacation? Or maybe you’re just overwhelmed with the options available? With splash pads, pools, parks, festivals, concerts and special events happening nearly every day of summer, it’s hard to know which ones are worthwhile. Here are our top picks for must-do family activities in the Chicago western suburbs this summer.

A Fun-filled 4th

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate America in the western suburbs. But the Eyes to the Sky Festival in Lisle has been a family favorite for more than 30 years. The five-day fest begins July 1 and features food, music, children’s activities, a carnival, fireworks (on July 2, 3 and 4), a Fourth of July parade, and hot air balloons that will keep your little one’s (and your) eyes to the sky.

Go for a Ride

The Morton Arboretum has more than nine miles of paved roads that wind through its woods and gardens — what better way to explore the grounds with kids than on a bike? You can rent bikes at the arboretum daily through September 7.

Take Flight

The Brookfield Zoo is a must-do for families in the summer. With animals, presentations, the Hamill Family Play Zoo, a splash pad, two outdoor playgrounds and picnic areas, there’s always something to do at the zoo. This summer, make sure you check out the newest show, Festival of Flight. The 30-minute, interactive show features nearly 20 species of birds and (even better) is free with admission.

Get Your Veg On

“Veg out” has a new meaning this summer in the western suburbs of Chicago — Veggie Fest 2015 is coming to Lisle on August 15 and 16. This food and lifestyle festival features family entertainment and children’s activities and has the added benefit of opening your picky child’s eyes to tasty and nutritious vegetables.

Art and a Movie

Plenty of park districts offer movies, but at the Elmhurst Art Museum, you can start the night with a family art project followed by a feature presentation. These special nights only happen once a month, so mark your calendar for July 10 and August 14 at 7 p.m.

A Little Bit of History

Looking to include some education in your children’s summer vacation? Head to Naper Settlement in Naperville, an outdoor living history museum featuring 12 acres of interactive learning. In addition to tours and a museum, younger kids will love the unique playscape and splash pad. Don’t forget to take a family photo in the covered wagon.

Back to Nature

Part of the Forest Preserves of Cook Country, the Little Red Schoolhouse in Willow Springs offers plenty of summertime events for kids who love the great outdoors. For younger children, check out the monthly Mother, Nature and Me program, which includes a story, craft and nature walk.

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