Pump It Up's two indoor inflatable arenas bounce socked striplings high off the ground with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Trained, amiable staffers supervise fun-filled visits where parents can leap around with their kids through gargantuan, air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Attendees can also focus their free play for special events, such as custom birthday parties and themed, private team parties. These themed soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. Both giant arenas are climate controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by the well-trained staff and local police. Supplementing its thorough rule enforcement with expert installation and anchoring, Pump It Up holds itself to strict safety standards.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
The three safaris up for grabs are the popular three-hour Millennium Park Safari, three-hour Lincoln Park Zoo Safari, or the 2.5-hour Night Safari starting from Navy Pier. For the first 40 minutes of each safari, a professional photographer will go over basic photography techniques as well as more specialized skills needed to perfectly capture people, structures, monuments, cityscapes, and other urban jungle foliage. Before heading out, you'll learn what all the strange buttons, knobs, and settings on your camera do, demystifying ISO, F-stops, shutter speed, and white balance.
Nowadays you can use golf as an excuse to get away from family game nights, family meetings, or family golf getaways. Escape excruciating moments with today's Groupon: for $96, you get a round of golf with golf cart rental at six Chicago Park District Golf courses (a $191 value). The courses include Robert A. Black, Sydney R. Marovitz, Columbus Park, Jackson Park, Marquette Park, and South Shore.
A Swedish immigrant himself, Kurt Mathiasson took it upon himself to found an institution that would preserve the legacy of the Swedish-American experience within Chicago. The Andersonville-neighborhood leader opened the original Swedish American Museum in a storefront log cabin in 1976, receiving the blessing of His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, who personally attended the ceremonies. Just over one decade later, the museum moved to its present Clark Street location, giving it both the space and the means to continue its mission of celebrating Swedish heritage and the experiences of Chicago's Swedish immigrants.
The three-story museum's permanent collection boasts roughly 12,000 artifacts. These historical pieces include original passports and steamship tickets, household items that immigrants brought to the New World, and various folk crafts. Within the museum's permanent exhibits, these artifacts provide visitors with valuable insight into the struggles and triumphs of Swedish immigrants as they established a new, vibrant community within Chicago.
Beyond the permanent exhibit, the institution also features the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, which provides youngsters of all ages with hands-on opportunities to experience life in a replica of a Swedish farmhouse. Youths collect firewood, learn to milk a cow, and connect to the internet using a crank-powered modem. From there, children can board a 20-foot model of a steamship, which mimics the journey across the Atlantic and then teaches passengers about the log-cabin lifestyles of America's frontier settlers. The Swedish American Museum's Nordic Family Genealogy Center provides yet another service for interested visitors, giving them the opportunity to research their families' Scandinavian heritage.
From the first televised presidential debates between Kennedy and Nixon to Neil Armstrong using his smartphone to check-in at the moon, some of society's most formative moments are products of major advances in communication technology. In its collection of nearly 100,000 hours of digitized television and radio broadcasts and more than 1,800 artifacts—including the camera that broadcast the Kennedy-Nixon debate—the Museum of Broadcast Communications immortalizes the progression of media formats and their place in history. Besides historic newsreels and pivotal artifacts, the museum's curators have equally embraced the light-hearted side of communications, with collections of puppets and props from classic children's television shows and a compendium of television commercials dating back 60 years. Those who grew up in the Chicagoland area will recognize artifacts from locally filmed WGN programs such as Bozo's Circus and Garfield Goose and Friends. Several characters from The Ray Ranyer Show spark fond memories, most notably his beloved canine puppet, Cuddly Dudley. Additionally, a compendium of television commercials dating back 60 years.
Elsewhere, a 17-foot tall neon and steel media tower makes for great King Kong reenactments, and features 36 monitors as well as vintage control room equipment. The interactivity continues in the television studio, where visitors can tape their own newscasts. While museum guests are free to explore permanent exhibits in the National Radio Hall of Fame, which houses artifacts from The Jack Benny Program and the original ventriloquist dummies from The Charlie McCarthy Show, they're also encouraged to check out new summer exhibits such as The Life & Times of Gary Coleman.