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Plenty of family fun to celebrate the 4th

The Chicago skyline is illuminated by fireworks off Navy Pier.

The Chicago skyline is illuminated by fireworks off Navy Pier.

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There are still no municipal fireworks in the City of Chicago on July 4th, but there’s plenty for your little ones to celebrate during the holiday week. Here are a few ways to keep your little sparklers shining this summer:

1) Kline Creek Farm’s “Celebrating the Fourth” festivities on June 29 and 30 take visitors to an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration in this 1890s replica farm. From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on both days, there will be a baseball game, old-timey games like “hoops and graces,” a July 4th ceremony with speeches from costumed presenters and hand-churned ice cream, which kids can help make. A complete schedule of events can be found at

2) Family-friendly fare is on the big screen throughout the city at this week’s “Movies in the Park” locations. Highlights include “Hotel Transylvania,” on June 28 at O’Halleren Park, 8335 S. Honore; “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” on June 29 at Jonquil Playlot Park, 1001 W. Wrightwood; and “Independence Day,” on July 2 at Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen, among others. For a complete list for this week and beyond visit Showings are free.

3) It’s a suburban festival with a lift-worthy twist. Lisle’s “Eyes to the Skies,” now in its 31st year, sends hot air balloons streaming over the western suburbs. Balloons launch twice a day from July 3-6, with a carnival every day, including July 7. There is also a dedicated daily children’s area with the usual activities (face painting, crafts, temporary tattoos) and some lively additions (Zumbatomic, anyone?). For more information, including balloon launch times, visit

4) The Family Fun Festival at Millennium Park kicked off June 17 and runs through August 18, including the holiday week. There is a free Wiggleworms class every day at 10 a.m., story time at 11 a.m. and a daily 1 p.m. family performance featuring groups like the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Dog Patch Ramblers and the Deep Fried Pickle Project. The biggest cultural names in town also get in on the act — the Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre and Museum of Science and Industry are a few of the organizations leading a rotating roster of activities in the “activity zone.” The free party runs everyday at Chase Promenade North. Visit

5) While Chicago may have canceled their July 4th fireworks, there are fireworks off Navy Pier twice each week and now a unique way to experience them. The 3-D Fireworks Cruises, run from the lower level of the southeast corner of Wacker and Michigan by Mercury Cruises, provides free 3-D glasses to all aboard as well as a soundtrack with the fireworks. The ship sails at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 9:15 p.m. Saturdays for this 90 minute cruise. Adults tickets are $30, kids under 12 are $12 and the youngest ones (3 and under) are free. Visit for more information.

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