June just kicked off, and I’ve already checked one thing off my summer bucket list. Last week we visited Fair Oaks Farms, a family-friendly adventure center about an hour away in Indiana.
This interactive working farm includes a bus tour of the dairy cows’ living space, a 4-D movie, cheese and ice cream shop and a lot of play areas for the kids. I can’t tell you much about the 4-D movie except that you get special glasses and the movie opens with a singing animatronic cow that scared my 16-month-old. He and I made a speedy exit and spent some extra time in the indoor play area sliding down a giant milk carton and playing hide and seek in a cheese maze. He liked that much better than the scary cow.
The bus tour, Dairy Bouncer (a giant bouncing area) and ice cream were also hits. This summer, Fair Oaks will also open a pig farm where fancy educational technology and real-life sows can teach you more about pig breeding. For more information, visit fofarms.com.
Now it’s time to start working on my other bucket list items, including a trip to the nearby Wolf Lake Aquatic Play Center, part of the Hammond Port Authority. The play area just opened Memorial Day weekend. Ages 12 and younger can hang out for 90-minute sessions beginning at 10 a.m. daily weather permitting. For information visit hammondmarina.com.
Calumet Memorial Park District also has a splash pad at its Fun Center, 626 Wentworth Ave. in Calumet City. It’s now open for the season and costs $1 at the gate for entry. For information, call (708) 868-2530 or visit the park district’s Facebook page.
My son is newly obsessed with airplanes, birds and everything he sees in the air. I’m sure he’ll enjoy a trip to the Balloons Aloft event July 12 to 13 in Angola, Ind. It’s about a two-hour-plus drive from Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood but should be worth it to see a sky full of hot air balloons.
Admission is free to the festival, which includes hot air balloon and aviation entertainment. There will be skydiving, remote controlled aerial displays, a kids’ zone and, weather permitting, Friday and Saturday night balloon launches.
For information, visit angolaballoonsaloft.com.
A visit to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, with its life-size United 727 to point at and walk through, might also make the summer schedule. Starting later this month, the museum is hosting a special exhibit on the 1893 Columbian Exposition so there should be something fun for mommy to see too. For information, visit msichicago.org.