Stingray Touch
We've made it through the first month of the new year, and we've still got quite the year to look forward to in Chicago. I love raising my kids in Chicago; every year we can count on brand-new exhibits, restaurants, educational programs and stage performances that welcome children and families with open arms. Here are some of our most anticipated family-friendly events and attractions for 2014.

Stingray Touch at the Shedd Aquarium - (Opens in Spring)

Stingray Touch

This Spring, the Shedd Aquarium invites visitors to experience the underwater grace of stingrays in its latest hands-on experience, Stingray Touch. Opening to the public in the late spring, this exhibit will feature 40 cownose and yellow rays in an 18,000-gallon pool located under a tented structure on the aquarium's south terrace. Tickets for this special experience will be available beginning on May 1. 

Numbers in Nature at the Museum of Science and Industry - (Opens in July)

MSI flowerrs

Numbers in Nature will show us how to recognize mathematical structures in the natural world - from a tiny snowflake's intricate design to the layout of the vast Universe. Guests will be able to explore patterns in the nature, the human body and art and architecture at interactive stations throughout the exhibit. The highlight of the exhibit is a mirror maze featuring a seemingly-infinite repeating geometric pattern of mirrors which will take about 10 minutes for to navigate.See if you can discover the secret room hidden in the labyrinth!

The Rose and the Rime at The House Theatre - (1/17-3/9)

The House Theatre of Chicago, one of our family's favorite theater companies, presents the all-ages original play Rose and the Rime at the Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Friday, Jan. 17 - Sunday, March 9. Created by Company Members Chris Matthews, Jake Minton and Artistic Director Nathan Allen, this original play blends music, swirling acrobatic dance, spectacle, and stage craft to tell the story of a young girl who risks her life to rescue a magic coin from the icy clutches of the Rime Witch, the only way she can save her friends and family from the spell that keeps them frozen in perpetual winter.

Second Saturdays Showcase at the Lincoln Park Zoo - (Begins 3/8)

LPZ

This spring, the Lincoln Park Zoo will begin offering a brand-new weekend program that gives a unique twist on family-oriented education. Your family will be split up into peer groups focused on the same wildlife topic, then regroup to share and compare your individual experiences. The topics will vary each month. The first Second Saturday program, on March 8, called Zoo Families, will give families the chance to meet some zoo babies and learn more about the science behind animal breeding. To register, visit lpzoo.org/education/programs

Leveling Up at the Steppenwolf for Young Adults - (2/26-3/15)

Steppenwolf TheatreBy Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Hallie Gordon
In the Downstairs Theatre

Tweens and teens tend to have a more difficult time finding plays that fit their interests and age groups, but Steppenwolf for Young Adults creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Leveling Up explores the thin line between the virtual world and the real world in this fresh play about three twenty-something roommates that live their lives glued to their video games. When one of the trio uses his gaming skills to land a job with the National Security Agency, online battles begin to have real consequences.