Does it get any better than summer in Chicago? Absolutely not!

Chicagoans are so appreciative of the warm summer days that we tend to spend as much time outdoors as possible during the summer months. We  even go see movies outdoors ( for free!) - thanks to the Chicago Park Districts Movies in the Parks series.

Enjoying a movie at Ping Tom Park, in Chicago's Chinatown

Grab a blanket or a beach towel and catch a movie under the stars at one of the 176 screenings of current and classic movies featured this year, in 128 citywide parks, through Oct. 26.

The movies are always family friendly; this year’s selections include screenings of Dolphin TaleHugo and The Smurfs. As a mom with a pretty big age gap between my kids, I like the fact that I can catch a movie with my 11-year-old while my  2-year-old rolls around the grass or plays with the toys I've brought along especially for her short attention span. We have also enjoyed a picnic dinner over a Movie in the Park.

Admission is free, and all movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. Call the Movies in the Parks hotline for daily listings and weather related cancellations at 312-742-1134. Click here for the Movies in the Parks 2012 schedule.

For additional details, call 312-742-PLAY or visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.