On a grand scale
What's the smallest mammal that ever lived? How can scientists recognize a mammal, when they've got nothing but a fossil skull? Get the surprising answers to these and other questions at "Extreme Mammals" at the Field Museum. Explore the biggest, smallest and most amazing mammals of all time and see claws, fangs, horns and more.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Friday, May 25, through Jan. 6 at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Tickets are included in Discovery and All-Access passes and are priced at $22 to $29 for adults, $18-24 for seniors and students with ID, and $15-$20 for children 4-11. (312) 922-9410 or fieldmuseum.org.
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Drop a line
You know about the Ferris wheel and the food court at Navy Pier, but you may not realize that fishing is just one of the many activities available at the pier. Watch the sun rise and drop a line in the lake for perch, salmon, bass or trout, depending on the season and temperature. Fishing is allowed along Navy Pier's southwest wall and north dock area. Between the hours of 5 and 10 a.m., anyone with a valid fishing license who shows it at Navy Pier's garage office may receive their parking validated for $5. (Cars must be out of the garage by 10 a.m. in order to receive the discount.)
Year round, weather permitting. (312) 595-7437 or navypier.com.
The source of Norse, of course
Stoughton, Wis., celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day during the annual Syttende Mai on Thursday, May 17, one of the largest fests of its kind in North America. Held on the weekend closest to that date, the event dates back to1868, when Norwegian immigration to the area was reaching its peak. You'll see lots of people dressed in authentic Norse costumes, folk dancing performances, a smorgasbord of Norwegian foods and a variety of musical performances. Visitors can also enjoy the arts and crafts fair, quilt show, Viking encampment and a huge Norwegian parade.
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, in and around downtown Stoughton. (888) 873-7912 or stoughtonwi.com.
If the impending wasp and mosquito influx isn't enough for you, head to Brookfield Zoo for an invasion of "Xtreme Bugs." The temporary exhibit features colossal animatronic bugs, including a 16-foot-high by 33-foot-long Japanese hornet displayed in the zoo's Roosevelt Fountain. Walk a winding trail littered with more than 20 oversized animatronic bugs, from a fluttering monarch butterfly and ladybug to a praying mantis and a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach. Special programs include roach races, a bug petting zoo and a chef cooking up some treats that feature bugs as the main ingredients.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Friday, May 19, through Sept. 7 at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield. "Xtreme Bugs" tickets cost $5 for adults, $3 for children 3-11 and seniors older than 65 in addition to regular zoo admission of $15 for adults and $10.50 for children 3-11 and seniors older than 65. A 20 percent discounted combo ticket of general zoo admission and exhibit admission may be purchased at participating Dominick's stores. See CZS.org.
The good kind of clog
Welcome to the Orange City Tulip Festival, which not only celebrates spring, but also the best of small-town America. The Iowa community celebrates its Dutch heritage with music and dancing by children and adults donning intricate authentic costumes, two daily parades and nightly musical theater. Kids will be drawn to the carnival midway and everyone will go for ethnic food, thousands of tulips and a dozen reproduction windmills.
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19, in downtown Orange City, Iowa. octulipfestival.com/.
Worth the trip
Why should kids have all the fun of summer camp? Maine is known for unique and popular summer-learning schools for adults where students can learn or fine-tune their skills in a variety of areas and vacation at the same time. The Wooden Boat School in Brooklin offers six-day to two-week courses on seamanship, boatbuilding and woodworking, boat design, sailmaking and rigging, oar making and other related crafts. Maine Media Workshops and College in Rockport offers weeklong photography, filmmaking, digital production, bookmaking and graphic design courses for beginners to professionals. Maine Fiddle Camp hosts all ages and ability levels and also teaches traditional guitar, piano, banjo and accordion tunes of the region through classes, workshops and evening jam sessions. There is a weekend camp in June and weeklong sessions in July and August.
Call (888) 624-6345 or see visitmaine.com.