There’s so much to do in our region! Here are some exciting recreation events happening this season.
Spring Babies Petting Zoo
April 13, 1-3 p.m., 15-minute time slots to see the baby chicks, bunnies, ducklings, goats and lambs. Space limited; reservations required. $3 with museum admission. Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State, Sycamore, (815) 895-9777, mmhn.org.
April 14, 7-8 p.m. See the unique courtship flight and call of the male woodcock, a ground-dwelling bird. Bring binoculars and wear shoes that can get wet and muddy. Cuba Marsh, Cuba and Ela roads, Barrington, (847) 968-3321, lcfpd.org.
Antiques & Garden Fair
April 19-21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More than 100 dealers with antique garden furnishings, botanical art, home and garden design. Indoor display gardens. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, (847) 835-5440, chicagobotanic.org.
Civil War Encampment
April 19-21, Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Each 10th Illinois Regiment volunteer portrays a real-life local Civil War soldier in an authentic encampment. James Knight Park, 1001 N. Latham, Sandwich, (815) 786-8044, sandwichparkdistrict.org.
Mega Big Fish Contest
April 20-21, 6 a.m.-6 p.m. More than $1,500 in prizes, incl. an all-day free pontoon or bass boat rental. Lakeside Bait & Tackle, Shabbona Lake State Park, 4201 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona, (815) 824-2581, shabbonalake.com.
Spring Hike on the Ridge
April 20, 9-11 a.m. Signs of spring, from birds to freshly blossomed wildflowers. A three-mile hike on uneven, possibly muddy terrain. BYO binoculars if you have them. Shelter No. 1, Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, 2411 S. IL Route 23, Marengo, (847) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Star Wars Day
April 20, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Costume contest, crafts, drawing, Star Wars memorabilia. Due to event popularity, the event will be split between DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., & Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. 2nd St., DeKalb, (815) 756-9568, dkpl.org.
Great American Cooking Expo
April 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wines, beer, spirits & foods; local celebrity chefs; cooking gadgets; celebrity authors cookbook signings. Arlington Park Racecourse, 2200 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights, (847) 385-7500, arlingtonpark.com.
The Human Race
April 21, 9 a.m. A 5k Walk/Run supporting McHenry County Charities. Support the McHenry County Historical Society by collecting pledges or start a team with friends, family or co-workers. Info/registration: (815) 923-2267, mchumanrace.org. Event: 1391 Corporate Park, McHenry.
Earth Day Hike
April 21, 1-2:30 p.m. Led by naturalist Ben Katzen, hike focuses on our connection with the earth. Hands-on activities and stories along the trail. Free; reg. required. Creek Bend Nature Center, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles, (630) 232-5980, kaneforest.com.
Spring Fishing Derby
April 27, 8-10:30 a.m. All ages invited to show off their skills. First- and second-place awards, door prizes. All must be registered by 9:30 a.m. Early registration suggested. Info: sycamoreparkdistrict.com. Event: Sycamore Lake Rotary Park, 400 N. Cross St., Sycamore.
A Celebration of Wildflowers and Art
April 27, 12-4 p.m. Local plein air artists capture native spring wildflowers on the trails, then sell their work from 3-4 p.m. Wildflower hikes, children’s art, food, live music. Coral Woods, 7400 Somerset, Marengo, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Antique & Collectible Toy & Doll Show
April 28, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. 500 exhibitors with fine antique & collectible toys, dolls, playthings & holiday heirlooms. $8/free kids 12 & under. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, (847) 800-3009, chicagotoyshow.com.
May 2, 6-8:30 p.m. On this guided hike, see migrating birds and search for those that stay. Refreshments/discussion at Powers-Walker House. BYO binocular & field guides. Kettle Lot, Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Color of Coral
May 4, 8-10 a.m. Two-mile leisurely hike to look for colorful birds and wildflowers. BYO binoculars if you have them. Coral Woods, Marengo, mccdistrict.org.
May 4, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Coffee convention with demonstrations, sampling, entertainment, along with hands-on classes complete with coffeeology degrees. Follow/share the event on social media. IBEW Local Union 701, 28600 Bella Vista, Warrenville, (630) 393-9010, coffe-con.com.
May 4, 7-10 p.m. View stars, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters with the help of Northwest Suburban Astronomers members’ telescopes. Dress for weather. BYO telescope or binoculars if desired. Marengo Ridge, Marengo, mccdistrict.org.
Kane County Flea Market
May 4-5, Sat. noon-5 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. “The Best in the Midwest or Anywhere,” with up to 1,000 dealers displaying and selling antiques, collectibles & Fancy Junque. Food served all day. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (630) 377-2252, kanecountyfleamarket.com.
Lilac Time Festival
May 4-19. An 8.5-acre horticultural display with 800 lilacs & 25,000 tulips. Tours, arts & crafts fair, food, drinks, sports, free concerts, more. Parade Sun. 1:30 p.m., Main & Wilson. Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave., Lombard, (630) 620-7322, villageoflombard.org.
Bob Blazier Run For The Arts
May 3, 8 a.m. The 15th year for this CARA-registered 5k run, one-mile walk/run and kids 50-yard dash through downtown Crystal Lake to benefit Raue Center For The Arts. Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, (815) 356-9212, rauecenter.org.
Spring at the Farm & Antique Truck Show
May 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free family fun including baby animals, hayrides, games, food to purchase. Dickson-Murst Farm, 2550 Dickson Road, Montgomery, (630) 272-0686.
15th Annual Motorcycle Sunday
May 5, awesome motorcycle rally, bike blessing, 60-mile ride, blues and rock bands, food & merchandise vendors, bike shops, pinstripers, pro bike photos and more. Free admission. Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Dr., Aurora, (630) 859-0600 motorcyclesunday.com.
Long Grove Annual Chocolate Fest
May 3-5, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 14th annual weekend of chocolate treats, demos & workshops, live music, food, children’s activities, distinctive shopping. Historic Long Grove, 307 Old McHenry Road, (847) 634-0888, longgroveonline.com.
Cantigny: National Public Gardens Day
May 10, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Public green areas across North America invite community members to visit and learn about the important role public gardens play in our lives. Scheduled tours; advice from experts. Visit nationalpublicgardensday.org and download a voucher for free admission. Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, (630) 668-5161, cantigny.org.
Spring Canoe Trip on the Fox
May 11, 8-10:30 a.m. Learn about this river habitat and visit a heron rookery. Canoe equipment provided; BYO binoculars, drinking water. Not suitable for beginners. Hickory Grove Conservation Area, 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
May 11, 7-9:30 a.m. Explore the woodlands and grasslands in search of as many species as possible on this careful but steady hike. Refreshments/discussion follow at Powers-Walker House. BYO binoculars/field guides if you can. Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.
Tree Climbing Competition
May 11, 10 a.m. This tree climbing competition is run by the Illinois Arborist Association. The winner in this competition will compete in the International Society of Arboriculture Conference in Toronto. Cantigny, Wheaton, cantigny.org.
Midwest Bird Expo
May 11, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Vendors, demos, informative sessions, including veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, animal behaviorist Lara Joseph, more. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (630) 336-0197, midwestbirdexpo.com.
Sunday at Sandwich Antiques Show
May 12, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Quality antiques, collectibles, crafts & garden items. Food vendors. No pets. Rain or shine. $5/free kids 12 & under. Free parking. Sandwich Fairgrounds, 1401 Suydam Road, Sandwich, (847) 321-1712, sundayatsandwichantiques.com.
Paddle in the Park
May 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Instructional clinics, test-paddlings, technique demos, club/outfitters/trip info, more. $5 covers all. The Hollows, 3804 Rt. 14, Cary, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Civil War Days
May 18-19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 300 Civil War re-enactors camp on-site; battle each day at
2:30 p.m.. Civil War surgeons demonstrate 19th century medical techniques; historic figures incl. Pres. Lincoln and wife Mary, Gen. Lee, Gen. Grant. Naper Settlement Grounds, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.museum.org.
WWII Living History Days
May 18-19, 10 a.m. See realistic environments created by WWII re-enactment groups. Ride The Anzio Express and a troop train to the North Platte Canteen. Skirmishes, battles, resistance sabotage of trains, more. Illinois Railway Museum (IRM), Olson Road, Union, (815) 244-7245, irm.org.
Fair Diddley Craft Show
May 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Annual event featuring more than 300 artists and crafters, sponsored by the Mental Health Resource League of McHenry County. All proceeds benefit county agencies concerned with mental health services. Historic Woodstock Square, Woodstock, (815) 385-5745.
Prairie Path Prowl
May 23, 6-8:30 p.m. Take a scenic guided stroll along the Prairie Trail to look for native bird species. Refreshments/discussion follow at Lost Valley Visitor Center. BYO binocular & field guides if you have them. Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.
Bystricky Prairie Wild Orchid Walk
May 24, 5:30-7 p.m. Once-a-year public tour of this private nature preserve, managed by McHenry County Conservation District, with largest concentration of white lady’s slipper orchids in the county. Registration: (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org. Directions sent to confirmed registrants by mail. Date may change depending on bloom time.
Hike When the Moon Is Full
May 24, 8-9:30 p.m. A hike under the full moon with stories and lore of the season, the night and the moon. Leave your flashlights at home – the moon lights the way. Ages 5 and up. Marengo Ridge, Marengo, mccdistrict.org.
36th Elgin Valley Fox Trot
May 25, 7:30 a.m.-noon. Fun, CARA-endorsed, 10-mile/5k run & 2-mile walk with cash prizes. New course this year. Proceeds benefit 18 local nonprofits. 6:30 a.m. registration. Discount for advanced registration: cityofelgin.org/foxtrot, (847) 531-7005. Race start: Intersection of Kimball & Douglas, Elgin.
Memorial Day Weekend/Founder’s Weekend
May 25-27, 10 a.m. Celebrate IRM’s 60th anniversary with IRM’s first car, Indiana Railroad 65, and other cars acquired from 1953-1964, when located in North Chicago. Steam or diesel and electric trains operate all three days. IRM, Union, irm.org.
Vintage Base Ball Match
May 26, noon. DuPage Plowboys vs. St. Louis Unions. Enjoy baseball as it was played during the American Civil War. 1858 rules. Free event, but parking fee applies. Cantigny Parade Field, Wheaton, cantigny.org.
Butterfly Release Party
May 28, 3-4:30 p.m. Registration req: (630) 232-4542. Peck Farm Park Interpretive Center, 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva, genevaparks.org.
72nd Annual Harvard Milk Days
May 31, June 1-2, events daily. Among the longest-running festivals in Illinois. Carnival, midway, fireworks, races, flea market, drum & bugle corps competition, antique tractor display, two-hour long parade Sat. 1 p.m., more. Downtown Harvard, various locations, Harvard, (815) 943-4614, harvardmilkdays.com.