My turn

Few more weeks to keep kids busy

2013-08-07T00:00:00Z Few more weeks to keep kids busyJennifer Pallay Times Columnist
August 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When school is out for the summer, there are always more activities for kids. Of course, that also means a lot more kids running around and longer lines.

I’m ready for them to get back to school so me and my toddler can again enjoy quiet time at all the popular kid hangouts.

For the kids who do have to go back to the books, there are a few last summer hurrahs.

I’m sure boys and girls, and parents too, will love getting the chance to meet Thomas the Tank Engine during his special visit to the Chicago area later this month.

The Illinois Railway Museum is hosting Day Out with Thomas Aug. 16 to 18 and 24 to 25 at the museum, 7000 Olson Road in Union, Ill.

Thomas the Tank Engine has been traveling around the country and will ride into Illinois for this event. Ticket holders can take a 20-minute ride aboard the Thomas train and enjoy unlimited rides on the museum’s other trains and streetcars. Kids can meet Sir Topham Hatt and enjoy other Thomas-themed activities such as a play table and storytelling.

There will also be puppet shows, clowns, live music, magic shows and more. Museum exhibits are included with the ticket, which costs $19 for ages 2 and older. Visit for tickets.

About 90 minutes from Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood, the Illinois Railway Museum is America’s largest museum of its kind. It features electric cars, steam trains, trolley buses and diesel trains. Rides are available on certain dates.

The museum hosts special events throughout the year including Railroad Extravaganza Aug. 30 and 31 and Sept. 1 and 2. Guests can celebrate the museum’s 60th anniversary and the end of summer with a visit, picnic and train rides. They also host a haunted train in October and the Happy Holiday Railway in December.

Check the Website or call (800) BIG-RAIL for more information.

If your kids prefer airplanes to trains, they will love the Chicago Air and Water Show taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17 and 18. The show can be viewed along the downtown Chicago lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point. Admission is free.

This year marks the 55th anniversary for this show, the largest free show of its kind in the United States. The planes will take off and land from Gary International Airport. Headliners include the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Sean D. Tucker & Team Oracle and Dave Dacy in the Super Stearman.

For more information, visit

A little closer to home, you can check out Wildlife Day at Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton Ave. in South Holland. This event takes place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Aug. 24 and includes up close with live exhibit animals. There will also be pelts, antlers and skulls to check out.

The celebration will conclude outside with wildlife games and activities. Attendees should dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. For information, call (708) 868-0606.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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