School is out of session Feb. 20 in honor of President’s Day, the national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February to commemorate the birthday of President George Washington, who was actually born on Feb.22.
But your day doesn’t have to be. Though your kids may be free to roam the streets, you can provide them with structure and entertainment through a number of children-geared events and activities happening around Evanston.
Sound promising? Here is the roundup of what is happening around town.
Evanston Arts Center: 2603 Sheridan Rd.
The art center will offer fine arts programs in which children learn the history behind the holiday while creating presidential-themed art projects, such as making silhouettes of well-known commanders-in-chief. The classes will also use print-making, painting and drawing techniques. Two classes are available, one for children ages four through six, and one for ages seven through 10. Both will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and both cost $50 for member and $65 for non-members. Registration is required ahead of time.
For families who would like to see art rather than make it, the Evanston Arts Center also has two art exhibitions on display. “Capturing the Beauty of Science” showcases images from Northwestern University’s annual scientific images contest, and “Crossing Wires: Technology and Play” displays art created from various technological instruments. The center’s galleries are free to the public and are open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Evanston Ecology Center: 2024 McCormick Blvd
The ecology center’s “Presidents & Nature” program promises indoor and outdoor activities for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Children will visit with the center’s animals, play games, make arts and crafts, and go on a nature walk to examine beaver chew marks recently found on trees in the city’s arboretum. The program runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and costs $45 for residents. An ecology center staff member recommended attendees register early and bring a lunch.
Evanston Public Library: 1703 Orrington Ave.
The library will hold two morning story times. From 10 to 11 a.m., a bilingual story session called “Vamos a Jugar”, for Spanish-speaking families with preschool children will be held in the first floor community meeting room. Afterward, from 11:15 to 11:55 a.m., “All By Myself” story time will focus on three to five-year olds who are ready to attend a story program without their parents. In that session, held in the first floor’s Barbara Friedberg Storytelling Room, children will also sing songs and make crafts. Both events are free, but preregistration is required.
Many Evanstonians remain unaware of this hidden treasure that sits below Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop. While almost all of Evanston’s other museums close on Mondays, residents can trek down to this basement of this longtime-Evanston establishment to view geological wonders from pre-Cambrian and Jurassic periods, just to name a few. Insects trapped in amber, dinosaur bones, a raptor claw, a cave bear skeleton, mastodon teeth, an early camel skull, a saber-toothed cat skeleton, and fossilized trilobites and sea scorpions line the room beneath this unassuming storefront. Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop is open from 10:30 a.m. until 5: 30 p.m. on Mondays.
Robert Crown Center: 1701 Main St.
The south Evanston center will have public ice-skating time from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Admission: $6, plus $3 for ice-skate rentals.
Chandler-Newberger Center: 1028 Central St.
Parents and children can head to Chandler’s open gym from noon until 2 p.m., though a center staff member said the program will likely go an extra hour. Admission costs $1 for kids and $4 for adults.
McGaw YMCA: 1000 Grove St.
Evanston’s YMCA will hold a “Family Fun Gym” session from 10 a.m. until noon for children ages five and up. The event will be free for members and $15 for non-members. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the youth lobby, which has ping pong, pool and foosball tables, will have free admission.