Staying Busy this Spring Break 

Spring Break Safe Haven provides a way for students to stay busy and productive over Spring Break

March 21, 2013

With Spring Break starting Monday, March 25, parents are on the lookout for free and low-costs options to keep children active and safe.   One such alternative option is Spring Break Save Haven.


Spring Break Safe Haven is designed to provide CPS students with structured and productive activities while out of school.  This year, Spring Break Safe Haven will operate in 60 churches across Chicago.  The program, which runs from Monday, March 25 through Friday, March 29, will operate from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.  Catholic Charities to provide breakfast and lunch daily for each child.


In addition to a variety of arts and crafts programming and plenty of fun and games to keep students occupied, this year’s Spring Break Safe Haven will feature workshops in anti-bullying, conflict resolution and anger management. This programming is made possible through a $20,000 grant from the ISSA Foundation. Excel icon. Click here for a list of participating churches


Some other free Spring Break activities available to all Chicago families:

  • The Shedd Aquarium has free admission to its main exhibits for Illinois residents on Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26. 
  • There are three great free opportunities for families hoping to give their children a taste of springtime nature. The North Park Village Nature Center is free and located on Chicago’s northwest side. The Garfield Park Conservatory includes a children's garden, housing kid-friendly plants and a play area.  Not only is the park free, it also features free parking. Free parking is a bit harder to find at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park, but Thursday is “suggested donation day” for Illinois residents.
  • The Chicago Park District is ready for Chicago spring weather, warm or cold.  The Movies in the Park program opens Wednesday evening, March 27 at Loyola Park with “Brave” at 6:30 p.m. and also “Hop” on 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28 at Jefferson Park. For cold weather fun, there’s a skating party on Friday, March 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Anderson Park. 
  • If you refuse to submit to the cold, the Chicago Park District also operates 26 indoor pools as well as 18 Chicago Public School pools that the Park District offers community programs through a partnership with After School Matters.  You can find the list here. All of these events are free.
  • Eager to see one of the world’s cutest, shiest animals?  Head over to the lion house at Lincoln Park Zoo and see one of only three red pandas in a U.S. zoo.  Or for a bit more fun, go to the McCormick Bear Habitat and enjoy their new spotted hyenas; they’re always good for a few laughs.  Lincoln Park Zoo is free for all visitors.
  • The Art Institute's Ryan Education Center is also free – and includes free programs, so your kids can make their elaborate art projects without asking where you put the magic markers.
  • For high school students, Chicago Cares offers numerous fun and rewarding volunteer opportunities on their website. Animal lovers will find abundant opportunities to volunteer their time and affection at Paws Chicago. And the Greater Chicago Food Depository is always looking for more helping hands.
  • And the Chicago Public Library has great activities and events across the city every day of Spring Break.


Remember to be safe this Spring Break.  School resumes on Monday, April 1st.  Have a safe, fun spring break!