Local temperatures are predicted to hit the 60s this weekend. So can it be any surprise if we seriously have spring on our minds?
The first official day of spring isn’t until March 20, but you can start planning ahead for major suburban attractions to reopen for the season.
Extreme thrill-seekers can always count on Six Flags Great America in Gurnee for roller coasters and other rides. One of the Midwest’s preeminent theme parks will partially reopen for select weekends starting April 15.
There’s also fun to be had at Santa’s Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee, though families and their little ones are more of the target audience. The combination holiday theme park and petting zoo will partially reopen for select weekends starting May 8.
Farmyard animals are also a major attraction at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, which has announced a season-opening date of April 8. If gardens are more of your thing, then the spring season of Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center in South Barrington begins April 18.
Transportation history buffs will be pleased that the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin will get back on track for visitors starting April 2. Meanwhile, April 30 is the season start date for the Illinois Railway Museum in Union (though some Bunny Trolley Hops are scheduled for April 9, 10 and 16).
Despite the lifting of mask mandates, plenty of people are still wary of dining inside at restaurants. So they’ll be pleased to know that outdoor dining will resume soon. For example, Downers Grove allows restaurants with outdoor dining permits to begin on March 15. And portions of downtown Arlington Heights will be closed off for outdoor diners once again for the return of Arlington Alfresco on April 29. A portion of Hale Street in Wheaton likely will be closed for outdoor dining, too.
With so much uncertainty about the season start of Major League Baseball, why not try the minor leagues? Both the Chicago Dogs at Impact Field in Rosemont and the Kane County Cougars at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva will begin home games on May 13. The Schaumburg Boomers at Wintrust Field will start their home games a week later on May 20.
Outdoor art festivals also start springing up in the weeks before Memorial Day. Amdur Productions’ 2022 Illinois season will launch May 21-22 with the Northbrook Art in the Park and the Lincoln Roscoe Spring Art + Craft Fair in Chicago that same weekend, with the Barrington Art Fest following on May 28 and 29. Schaumburg’s Prairie Arts Festival is also returning for its 33rd year that same Memorial Day weekend.
But if you don’t want to wait for places to reopen, why not appreciate the warmer weather at attractions that are open year-round?
You can get in touch with nature via your local county forest preserve district or at places such as the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe or the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. No doubt all the climbing activities at The Forge: Lemont Quarries will be more fun when it’s not freezing.
And be on the lookout for outdoor concerts once the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park officially announces its full 2022 season on March 24. Some acts including Bonnie Raitt (July 27), esperanza spalding (July 31) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Breaking Barriers residency have already been revealed, but there is more to come.