Free February Fun in Chicagoland

February gets a bad rap here in Chicagoland. Football is officially over, the groundhog predicts six more weeks of winter, and the snow and cold has worn us out. No need to drag anymore! We have awesome ideas for free February fun that will have you sailing through the month with money in your pocket and a big smile on your face. February is a great time to visit some of the museums in the city as they run a ton of free days. Don’t take my word for it, take a look below for some fun ideas!

Free February 2019 Fun in Chicagoland

February 2019 Free Winter Festivals

Summer may be festival season, but there are some February family festivals going on, too! Bundle up for chilly fun (or opt for indoor events).

Winter Carnival (Lombard)
February 2, 2019 | 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Cocoa, games, sledding, and activities including train rides on the Gold Medal Express. Some activities are inside and some are outside, so dress accordingly.

Ice Sculpture Festival (Downers Grove)
February 8, 2019 from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm | February 9, 2019 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Live ice carving demonstrations, entertainment, and activities. The sculptures tend to stay up around town, too, so you can also take a stroll through downtown in the days following the festival as well!

Winterfest (Bolingbrook)
February 9, 2018 | 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Outside, families can paint in the snow, try out the snowball slingshot, and gather around the fire. Inside the Annerino Community Center, the climbing wall will be open, as will a ninja obstacle course, games, food vendors, and other activities. Head to the Fountaindale Public Library to decorate cookies, sing karaoke, and more.

Glide Through Winter at Indoor and Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks

Ice-A-Palooza (Wheaton)
February 9, 2018 | 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Meet Anna and Elsa, go ice skating, play hockey, watch ice skating performances, see ice carving demonstrations, and grab some s’mores at the Central Athletic Complex ice rinks.

Family Flake Fest (Evergreen Park)
February 9, 2019 | Events between 11:30 am – 6:00 pm
Ice skating events, cookie decorating, treats for sale, face painting, and more! See the tentative schedule here.

Family Fun Fair (Aurora)
February 16, 2019 | 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Keep warm in the Vaughan Athletic Center with inflatables, games, and live entertainment.

Free February Fun at Local Museums

February may just be the best month for getting in free at some of Chicagoland’s top museums and attractions. If you’re willing to brave the weather (or find a warm day!), you’ll get a great deal.

Adler Planetarium
Admission is free February 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, and 26-28, 2019.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Admission is free to all Illinois residents Thursdays from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Chicago Children’s Museum
Sunday, February 3, 2019 is free admission all day for ages 15 and under.

Chicago History Museum
Every Tuesday, as well as on Presidents Day (February 18, 2019), the Museum is free to Illinois residents from 12:30–9:00 p.m.

DuSable Museum of African American History
Admission is free to all visitors every Tuesday.

Elmhurst Art Museum
Admission is free February 1, 2019.

The Field Museum
Admission is free to Illinois residents the entire month of February 2019!

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
Admission is free to all visitors every Friday.

Loyola University Museum of Art
Admission is free every day.

Museum of Contemporary Art
Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays.

Insider Tips for the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park

Museum of Science and Industry
Admission is free February 4-7, 11-14, 19-21, and 25-28, 2019.

Shedd Aquarium
Admission is free February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, and 25-28, 2019.

Click here for a list of museum free days throughout the entire year!

Free February Fun at the Zoo

Brookfield Zoo
Free admission to all visitors Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout February.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Always free admission to all visitors.

Fermilab’s Annual Free Family Open House

On Sunday, February 10, 2019 from 1 – 5 pm, Fermilab is hosting its annual open house for children of all ages to learn about the world of physics (recommended for children in grades 3 and up). There will be hand-on activities, live physics demonstrations, and the opportunity to ask a scientist your physics questions. Fermilab will also be doing tours. Please note that registration is not needed for the open house, just the tours. Recommended for children in grade 3 and up.

Free February Fun at Nature Centers

little red schoolhouse

Almost all of the nature centers are usually free, but February is a great time to visit in particular because you can enjoy nature without braving the elements.

Little Red School House Nature Center (Willow Springs)
Visitor center with live animals and exhibits, children’s activity room, and more.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (Oak Brook)
Check out the treehouse, along with many hands-on activities.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center (Glen Ellyn)
View native wild species with windows to look in the kitchen and nursery. Classroom and indoor discovery area has games, puzzles and activities.

Lake Katherine Nature Center (Palos Heights)
Features a children’s play center, reptile and animal exhibits, and vast amount of books.

Hidden Oaks Conservation Area (Bolingbrook)
Interactive exhibits to include: habitat tree, animal sound and scent wall, and discovery rooms.

Giveaway! Family Open Swim Packs

Free February Fun at Local Libraries

Almost all library events are free! Drop in to story time at your local library or visit the library to check out their games, puzzles, blocks, computers, and more. You can check the Kidlist calendar, as many library event are on there!

Southwest Suburbs Library Story Times and Play Areas

Free February Fun in the Great Outdoors

Outdoor ice rinks are scattered all over the suburbs. Most outdoor ice rinks are free and offer no shortage of fun! (If you don’t own skates, rental fees may apply.) Check out our round-ups of Ice Rinks in the Western Suburbs and Ice Rinks in the Southwest Suburbs for ideas.

February almost always sees a few good snow days. When that is the case, make sure you get out there and hit the Sledding Hills in the Western Suburbs and the Hills in the Southwest Suburbs.

Kline Creek Farm is offering a free Farm Life in Winter event with dates throughout February 2019. See the work there is to do on the farm in winter, from cutting blocks of ice to tending new lambs. See the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County calendar for more information and all dates.

Other Free Things to Do in Our Area

There are free events all throughout the suburbs this February! To find them any time of year, open up the Kidlist event calendar and click the “Cost ($)” filter, then select “Free” from the drop-down menu. You can also sort by region, type of event, and more.

Check out our indoor activities page for more ideas to help your family enjoy the winter months.

About the Author

Jill Kowalski
Jill is the mom of two energetic little girls, ages two and four, who keep her seriously busy. She and her husband grew up in Orland Park and are now raising their family there as well. When Jill and her family have free time, they love to check out local parks or drop-in at fests where their girls can take over a dance floor. She is always looking for cheap, yet entertaining and worthwhile things to do. When she is not wrangling her kids, Jill has a passion for starting, and sometimes finishing, do-it-yourself home improvement projects, trying out random recipes she finds on Pinterest, and organizing every nook and cranny of her life.

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