Family Fun in Southern Wisconsin

u.s. mailboat tour!

You’ve hit the beach. Now it’s almost time to hit the books. Enjoy a last hurrah in Lake Geneva, a 90-minute drive northwest of Chicago, where family fun goes beyond the shore.

Crazy but true: Some houses along the water get mail delivery by boat, and you can see it happen aboard Lake Geneva Cruise Line’s U.S. Mailboat Tour. A mail jumper hops on and off the vessel to drop letters in pier-mounted mailboxes. The hitch: The boat never stops moving.

yerkes observatory!

Science lovers should tour Yerkes Observatory, home to the largest refracting telescope in the U.S. While wee visitors might not grasp the technology, they’ll love the huge “elevator floor,” which raises and lowers while you’re standing on it.

Hungry? Take the East Troy Electric Railroad from nearby East Troy to Mukwonago, where it drops you off at The Elegant Farmer. The countryside gem sells Wisconsin cheeses and homemade fruit breads, apple pies, and jellies. Pick apples from the orchard before taking the train back to town.

animal gardens!

For wilder encounters, feed farm critters and watch a parrot ride a scooter across a wire at Animal Gardens. Then wind down at The Abbey Resort, where nighttime marshmallow roasts happen before a roaring bonfire. By day, its activities center keeps kidlets occupied with crafts, face painting, and games.

Mom, sneak away for a massage at Avani Spa. It’s vacation, after all.

For more information on Lake Geneva’s family attractions, call 800-345-1020 or go to lakegenevawi.com.

this week in chicago!

Kidzapalooza V.I.R. (Very Important Rocker) Event
Performers from the Lollapalooza kids’ stage play unplugged sets, sign autographs, and take pics with fans.
Why: Recess Monkey’s danceable funk/new wave grooves.
When: Sun., 8:30-11 a.m
Where: The James Chicago, 55 E. Ontario St., at Rush St. (312-337-1000). Reservations (required) to kidza@dkcnews.com. Admission is free.

Breastfeeding 911
Board-certified lactation consultants are at your beck and call during this drop-in clinic.
Why: It never hurts to get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion.
When: Every Mon., 1-3 p.m.
Where: Be By Baby, 1654 W. Roscoe St., at Lincoln Ave. (773-404-2229). Cost is $45.

Flavors of the Garden
Make garden-inspired picnic snacks with help from Melissa Graham of Purple Asparagus.
Why: Enjoy every last bite in Millennium Park’s Lurie Garden afterward.
When: Sun., 2-4 p.m.
Where: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., at Michigan Ave. Reservations (required) to 312-742-8497. Admission is free.

Photos: Courtesy of Lake Geneva Convention & Tourism Bureau; Courtesy of Animal Gardens

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1654 W Roscoe St
@ Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
55 E Ontario St
@ Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
78 E Washington St
@ Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60602