Chicago teachers are striking for a better CPS budget. Here’s a list of places to take your kids while classes are canceled.
As Chicago enters the seventh day of the teachers’ strike, many parents are wondering where they should send their kids while classes are canceled. We’ve put together a list of a few options for parents to choose from. Some of these places are ideal for parents who can’t take off work; others require adult supervision. We hope this list is helpful for parents while the Chicago Teachers Union negotiate for better wages, smaller class sizes, and other budget goals. [Feature photo: Shutterstock]
Your child’s school.
While many classes are canceled as teachers fight for better wages, Chicago Public Schools are still open. Principals and non-union staff have activities planned to occupy students’ time and will still serve breakfast and lunch. If you don’t have access to child-care or can’t take off work, you can still drop your children off at school during regular school hours. If you are planning on sending your kid to school during the strike, CPS asks that you fill out this form.
Chicago Public Libraries
Chicago Public Libraries are another great resource for parents during the teacher strike. While children under the age of 11 are not allowed to be left unattended, seventy-two libraries across Chicago will be open regular hours during the strike. Children are allowed to bring food and some libraries will also be providing snacks. Many libraries also have exciting events that correspond with the teachers’ strike such as storytimes, arts and crafts, games, and more.
Check your local library for hours and events.
Chicago Public Parks
While it’s a little cold out, Chicago’s many parks provide a great space for kids to spend time during the teacher’s strike. If you can afford to take off work, taking your kid to the park is a fun, free place to spend the day. Some of our favorites are Millenium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Oz Park, and Chase Park. Chase Park, in particular, has several fall festivities happening right now.
The National Museum of Mexican Art
This museum is a great, free place for older students or younger children whose parents are taking off work during the strike. The National Museum of Mexican Art has the largest collection of Mexican in the US with approximately 10,000 objects. There are also many exquisite exhibits currently on display including Day of the Dead artwork in “Día de Muertos: A Matter of Life,” activist art in “40 años a la esperanza,” and Rocío Caballero’s work in “Abyss.”
Address: 1852 W. 19th St. Chicago IL
Hours: Tues – Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission is free.
The Lincoln Park Zoo
Another great free place for students is the Lincoln Park Zoo. With 35 acres of animal enclosures and educational activities, the zoo makes a great place for older students to spend their day. The zoo also has fun activities for younger children, provided they are accompanied by an adult.
Address: 2001 North Clark Street Chicago, IL
Hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m.–6 p.m.)
Admission is free.
The Shedd Aquarium’s “Camp Shedd: School’s Out”
Design for annual CPS non-attendance days, The Shedd Aquarium is extending its “Camp Shedd: School’s Out,” program through the teachers’ strike. Children can discover the wonders beneath the sea through hands-on activities, animal encounters and more. Attendance is $100/day paid in advance, but in the event classes resume, pre-paid registrations will be refunded.
Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL
Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with free after-care until 5 p.m.
Strike Camp at The Chicago Children’s Theatre
CPS kids can enjoy daily activities at The Chicago Children’s Theatre as part of the CPS Strike Camp. Grades K-5 are welcome to take classes in acting, puppeteering, dance, singing and more. Tuition is $75 and before and aftercare is included. Financial aid is also available for families in need.
Address: The Station, 100 South Racine Ave Chicago, IL
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.. Before-care starts at 8:45 a.m. and aftercare runs until 5:45 p.m.
The Field Museum
Another great museum for kids is the Field Museum. While the museum isn’t offering any specific programming during the teachers’ strike, it’s still a wonderful place to spend the day with your child. If you are taking off work, explore the museum’s many exhibits including the Grainger Science Hub, “D-Day Warriors: American Indians in the Military,” and of course, say hi to Sue the T-Rex in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet.
Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
Hours: Every day 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tickets: $24 for Illinois residents, $17 for Illinois children ages 3-11, $21 for Illinois seniors and students.
Boo at the Zoo!
The Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo is hosting a trick-or-treating event this year Oct. 12-27. Young children must be accompanied by an adult, but if you have the day off, this is a great way to get excited for Halloween. With candy stations, pumpkin carving, animal “zoo chats”, and a costume parade, Boo at the Zoo promises to entertain ghouls of all ages.
Address: 8400 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513
Dates: Oct 12-27
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat-Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tickets: Adults: $21.95 ($20.95 online)
Seniors 65 and Over: $15.95 ($14.95 online)
Children 3 to 11: $15.95 ($14.95 online)
Old Town School of Folk Music’s Day Off Camp
If your children love music, this is a great option for school’s-out activities. For ages 6-12, Old Town School of Folk Music offers a day of music, art, and dance. Students will rotate between classes as well as go outside and play in the park. Tuition is $90 a day ($80 for members) and includes before-care.
Address: 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL
Hours: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with before-care starting at 8 p.m. and pick up ending at 3:30 p.m.
Tuition: $90/day ($80 for members)
Hours: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with before care starting at 8 a.m. and pickup by 3:30 p.m.