Earth Day in Chicago: Where to learn, play, recycle and get green this weekend

SHARE Earth Day in Chicago: Where to learn, play, recycle and get green this weekend

Friends of the Parks is organizing clean-up events at parks and forest preserves across the city and suburbs for Earth Day. | Sun-Times file photo

Earth Day will be celebrated around the globe Sunday, April 22, with events focused on education, advocacy and small steps that can have a big impact on improving the health of our planet. Here are some of the festivities across Chicago commemorating the global environmental holiday, which turns 48 this year.


The Museum of Science and Industry has exhibits on environmental sciences available year-round, like Extreme Ice, Earth Revealed and Future Energy Chicago, but if you haven’t toured them in a while, Earth Day is a great excuse to visit. MSI is offering $5 off admission Sunday with the discount code EARTHDAY. Special hands-on events include a sneak peek at two new environmental science experiments that will debut in June and workshops, including a 3D printing station where visitors can make a globe out of biodegradable materials. 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive. Tickets start at $16.95 for adults and $7.95 for kids with coupon code EARTHDAY.

The Adler Planetarium is going all out for Earth Day with its “Earthfest” Saturday and Sunday. Family-friendly events include globe-making and wind-powered sail cart workshops, a community art project about the Earth’s origins, and a Sensory Station that’s perfect for little ones. Free with admission. 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive. $12 for adults, $8 for kids.

The Chicago Botanic Garden will host a full day of free drop-in programming in honor of Earth Day, including workshops on gardening, plant fossil records and crime-solving forensics that rely on soil and other natural materials. While you’re there, stop by Spike, the Botanic Garden’s latest corpse flower currently on “bloom watch.” 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. Free. Registration required for some events.

In addition to its regular Sunday programming — which includes live showcases of the center’s birds, snakes, turtles and more than 50 other species — the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will host a green cleaning workshop and composting demos for Earth Day. Guided tours of the grounds will leave at 11 a.m. and noon. Free with admission. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. $9 for adults, $7 students and seniors, $6 for kids ages 3 to 12. Free for kids under 3.


Help Friends of the Chicago River raise money to support conservation efforts while bowling, brunching and enjoying music from local artists at Jammin’ with Jane, an annual fundraiser hosted by Columbia College Chicago’s Special Events and Promotions students since 1991. 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 10Pin Bowling Lounge, 330 N. State St., Chicago. $22 in advance/$25 at the door, $10 for kids 10 and under.


Friends of the Parks is organizing clean-up events at parks and forest preserves across the city and suburbs, with most events starting around 9 a.m. Click here for a full list of events and to register as a volunteer. Event times and locations vary. Free.

The Chicago Park District will also host litter collection and planting events, as well as family-friendly programming at some locations such as crafts, games and music. Click here for a full list of Park District programming. Event times and locations vary. Free.


The Earth Day Network is asking Earth Day celebrants to sign a pledge vowing to reduce their plastic consumption over the next year. Visit their plastic pollution calculator to tabulate the annual impact of your habits, to find tips for reducing your plastic footprint and to add your name to the pledge.


The city of Chicago and the One Earth Film Festival will host free screenings of “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution” at various times and locations across the city, including Truman College, the Jackson Park Field House and the Garfield Park Conservatory. Register in advance to reserve a seat. Event times and locations vary, click here for the full list of screenings. Free.


What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by recycling items that would otherwise end up in a landfill? Turn your outdated electronics, appliances and textiles into fun at Brookfield Zoo, which is offering free parking to guests who bring recycleables (a $14 value). Click here for a full list of accepted items. While you’re there, head inside for the zoo’s full-day “Party for the Planet,” which includes planting workshops, animal experiences and an Eco Expo. 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Admission is $21.95 for adults, $15.95 for seniors and kids under 12. Save $1 by purchasing tickets online.

Spend the holiday rounding up old electronics and make a quick trip on Monday to one of six tollway oases pavilions or the system’s Downers Grove headquarters, where crews will accept electronics including PCs, printers, scanners, cellphones, stereo equipment and cameras. Items that will not be accepted include televisions, monitors, large appliances, hazardous and chemical waste materials, batteries, smoke detectors or wooden speakers. 8 a.m. – noon or until trucks are full. Locations vary. Click here for a full list of participating locations.

DIY your Earth Day activities by brushing up on Chicago’s strict-for-a-reason recycling rules. Recycle By City includes a breakdown of everything you can and can’t recycle in Chicago — and why — and lets you test your knowledge with an interactive quiz. “Are you recycling or wishcycling?”

The Latest
Shane Waldron has seen an improvement in Williams’ operation of the offense, from learning the verbiage to using cadence as a weapon.
According to two league sources, the Sky are considering Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park as their new practice facility. The goal, according to one source, would be for the franchise to add to the existing building.
Alabama Shakes frontwoman and her tight backing band smoothly blend funk, rock, gospel, soul, R&B, jazz and dream pop.
After navigating around the massive VIP viewing tower, fans dance along to British DJ’s beats.