There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at upcoming lectures and educational enrichment.
Fridays in the Park
Through Sep. 2, Fri. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Take a break from work to meet up with friends, kick off your shoes, soak up some sun and enjoy a picnic prepared by a local eatery. Downtown Beloit, State Street and Grand Avenue, Beloit, (608) 365-0150, downtownbeloit.com.
Through Aug. 7, recurring Wed. 1-3 p.m. Learn about Burpee Museum’s live animal collection of turtles, snakes, a salamander, a variety of fish and a rosy tarantula. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Through Aug. 11, Thurs. 9-10 a.m. A children’s program designed for ages 3-5. Each week children can enjoy story time with a recognizable Rockford-area personality followed by an interactive children’s program. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Explore Rocks Rock Camp
June 20-24. Children ages 6-9 can explore rocks and minerals, spend time in the museum exhibits, get hands-on with real specimens and complete take-home projects. Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Wildflower Walkabouts: Harlem Hills Prairie
June 21, 6 p.m. Explore the Harlem Hills Prairie, covered with thousands of Pale Purple Coneflowers. Easy hiking. Meet on Flora Drive in Loves Park, Ill., (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
Mornings at the Museum
June 21-July 12, recurring Tues. 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Children ages 4-6 interested in nature can explore exhibits, engage in hands-on activities, hear stories, play games and make take-home projects. Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford, (815) 965-3433, burpee.org.
Barks and Books
June 22, 1:30-3 p.m. Kids all ages can watch a demonstration involving service dogs, then read in a small group with the dogs. Rockford Public Library Main Branch, 215 N. Wyman St., Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
When I Grow Up
June 24, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. What will you be when you grow up? Meet men and women who work in our town and enjoy hands-on activities related to their fields. Discovery Center, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
Family Nature Day
June 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Learning stations and guided tours of the prairie, with its blooming native wildflowers, provide perfect opportunities to connect with nature. Nygren Wetland Preserve, 3190 W. Rockton Road, Rockton, Ill., (815) 964-6666, naturalland.org.
Dairy Days Parade
June 26, 1 p.m. This parade celebrates agriculture in Stephenson County as it winds through the streets of downtown Freeport. Downtown Freeport, (815) 232-3186.
Cubs 100: A Century at Wrigley
June 29, 6-7:30 p.m. The Cubs baseball team has called Wrigley its home since 1916 and has treated its loyal followers with memories that have lasted through generations. The authors of “Wrigley Field: 100 Stories for 100 Years” give a presentation and sign their newly published book to celebrate this grand anniversary. Rockford Public Library Main Branch, Rockford, (815) 965-7606, rockfordpubliclibrary.com.
Wildflower Walkabouts: Searls Prairie Nature Preserve
June 29, 6 p.m. Hike Searls Prairie, dominated by mesic and wet-mesic prairie. The site is one of the highest-quality wet prairies in the state and will be full in bloom. Meet at Searls Park, off Central Avenue, in Rockford. Info: (815) 335-2915, seversondells.com.
Gardening with Edible Landscape Plants
June 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Michael Jesiolowski, senior horticulturist at the Chicago Botanic Garden, helps you to get the most out of your space as he discusses trees and shrubs that are aesthetically pleasing in the landscape and will produce delicious fruit. Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, (608) 752-3885, rotarybotanicalgardens.org.
Discovery Center Museum’s Kaboom!
July 1, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Science and art are the stars during this red, white and blue day of family fun. Discover the secret ingredients that put the oohs and ahhs in fireworks in live science demos. Test your rocket design, send a mini-missile soaring and make a noise-maker. Dress to get wet in a water balloon toss. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.
The Rockford Plate: Inaugural Gala
July 7, 5-9 p.m. Guests meet at the train station in the museum and travel to the 1900s village. Six ethnic groups from Rockford’s heritage open their homes for food, music, traditional clothing decorations and actors portraying actual immigrants. Dessert will be served at the Main Street Celebration, where guests gather for live music and dancing. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillagemuseum.com.
History Explorers: What Were They Thinking?
July 9, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Time-travel back to the 1890s to discover the wacky and amazing inventions from this time period. Interactive stations throughout the village help you explore thoughts behind the inventions and popular practices during this era. Midway Village Museum, Rockford, (815) 397-9112, midwayvillagemuseum.com.
Archaeology Artifacts ID Day
July 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Talk to professional archaeologists about your own collection of prehistoric fossils, animal bones and other items you are curious about. If you don’t have any items to identify, stop in anyway for live demonstrations. Jarrett Prairie Center, Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
The World of Little House
July 16-Aug. 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin’s “Big Woods” in 1867 and filled a Little House book with her adventures in the Badger State. Experience her books during this three-week event filled with fun hands-on activities and performances based upon her popular stories of pioneer life. Old World Wisconsin, S103 W37890, Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis., (262) 594-6300, oldworldwisconsin.org.
Rigidity and Flexibility in Traditional Japanese Arts
July 28, 7 p.m. Explore Japanese arts that demonstrate these characteristics and learn about the art forms that have influenced Japan’s contemporary industry. Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, (815) 316-3307, andersongardens.org.