Ride the solar system
If you don't have the cash and cachet to get on a trip to outer space, just hop on Metra and get to the Adler Planetarium for the immersive Destination Solar System experience, where you can tour the solar system via the state-of-the-art technology of the Grainger Sky Theater. You'll see the hottest hot spots and the stormiest spectacular sights in the solar system. The show, presented live by a professional actor, features world-class simulations created with scientific data from current planetary space missions
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Destination Solar System, presented daily, is available with Adler's All-Access Pass, which costs $29.95 for adults, $27.95 for seniors and students with ID, and $24.95 for children ages 3-11. General admission (not including shows) is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, students with ID and $8 for children; (312) 922-7827 or adlerplanetarium.org.
Downward dogs in Grant Park
Wanderlust Yoga in the City hits Chicago's Butler Field in Grant Park for its annual free event offering professional yoga teachers, music from Chicago DJ Taz Rashid and local yogis with Lake Michigan and iconic architecture as a backdrop. The one-day yoga bash also presents healthy food samplings. Be sure to stop at The Kula Market to sip, sample and browse sponsors' wares and rejuvenate in between the three yoga sessions. Bring your mat!
Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 31, in Butler Field, Grant Park, Chicago. Free, but registration is necessary; chicago.wanderlustfestival.com.
Bring your baggage
Feast your senses on Redmoon Theater's large-scale spring spectacle, "Bellboys, Bears and Baggage." The immense new production is an environmental exploration of love, loss, and the baggage we all carry through our lives -- so something for everyone with a pulse. The show is an immersive, site-specific theater experience with 17,000 square feet of theatrical spectacle and interactive possibilities. Audiences are introduced into this richly detailed and poetic world in intimate groups every 30 minutes throughout the duration of each performance.
Entry every 30 minutes beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday; runs through June 8. Redmoon Central, 2120 S. Jefferson St., Chicago. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for college students with a valid ID; (312) 850-8440 or redmoon.org.
If you want a better idea of what the kitchen staff at Downton Abbey had to deal with, consider signing up for a hands-on cooking workshop for adults called "Breakfast in a Victorian Kitchen." You'll take a culinary tour of the late 19th century through the preparation and enjoyment of a Victorian breakfast using the foods, implements and technology of the time in historic Villa Louis mansion. The mansion has just undergone complete restoration, returning the Dousman home to the splendor of its 1890s heyday. Walk it off after with a tour of the estate following breakfast.
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 7. Villa Louis, 521 Villa Louis Road, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Cost is $45 per person; reservations required. (608) 326-2721
The streets of Stonefield in Cassville, Wisconsin, are transformed into 1880s Tombstone, Arizona, during the first Steampunk Festival, celebrating the heroes and villains of the Old West. The weekend includes a Hootenanny and Square Dance; tea at the Dewey House; Buffalo Bill Wild West Show; Dewey Dinner; Grand Ball; a bank robbery; and some nefarious action at the OK Corral. Learn about weapons of the West, be a part of a Steampunk Fashion Exhibition, bring your guitar, banjo or fiddle and participate in an old-fashioned hootenanny, or pull up a chair and compete in the Tombstone poker tournament.
6 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 23; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 24; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 25. Stonefield, 12195 County Hwy VV, Cassville, Wisconsin. General admission is $50; High Tea $20; Saturday one-day ticket $38; Sunday one-day ticket $30. (608) 725-5210 or wildweststeampunk.com.
Japanese garden club
Do you find Japanese gardens and culture appealing? The Chicago Botanic Garden offers seven Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden Family Sundays during the summer. Try chopsticks, practice calligraphy and enjoy a hands-on exploration of life in Japan. Each Sunday will feature a different take-home project, such as an origami cup and ball, samurai hat, paper fan or fish print.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, June 1 and 15, July 6 and 20, August 3, and September 7 and 21. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Programs are free, but parking fees apply to nonmembers; (847) 835-5440 or chicagobotanic.org.