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This weekend, the Chicago Botanic Garden officially opens the doors to the Regenstein Learning Campus, a beautiful, 7-acre campus built for learners of all ages, with the intention to "facilitate connections between people and the environment." The Rock Daughters™ and I recently had a chance to preview the new Campus and its Learning Center -  a 26,700 square-foot building that features 12 indoor and two outdoor classrooms, a nature laboratory, early childhood classrooms, the ITW kitchen and spaces for wellness classes. Outside, The Nature Play Garden, with its rolling hills and series of multisensory gardens, provides areas for hiding, exploring, learning and gathering - a fine place for kids to run around and have infinite adventures. The Campus will be the home of the Joseph Regenstein Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, offering year-round classes, day camps and programs.

Published in Home and Garden

The Clown Prince of Crime will officially arrive in Lake County, Illinois next year as THE JOKER Free Fly Coaster comes to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee for the 2017 season. Continuing a long-running partnership with DC Comics/DC Entertainment, THE JOKER will also be built at parks in New England and Texas, while this year's JUSTICE LEAGUE BATTLE FOR METROPOLIS 4D will be installed at three additional parks and the WONDER WOMAN LASSO OF TRUTH at two. THE JOKER is touted as being "one of the most unique rides in park history," with riders flying high-above the park in "wing cars" that face other riders. 

Published in Chicagoland

Regardless of which side of the aisle you're on, election years always bring some interesting collectibles, and the 2016 Presidential race is no exception. We've all seen the often-mocking versions of Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, but Ty Warner, Founder and Chairman of Illinois-based Ty Inc. (Beanie Babies and all) has simplified the whole thing with a pair of two limited-edition Political "Teeny Tys" this fall...

I've been attending the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con since the late 90s, first as a fan, then as an exhibitor, and eventually as a listed guest and creator (2008's launch of the DEATH WALKS THE STREETS comics - complete with a Wizard Exclusive variant). After officially becoming "The Rock Father" in 2009, I've been more on the media side of things, and after taking The Rock Daughters™ to their first proper Wizard World last year (covered here), the time has come for another trip back to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois for the 2016 edition, running August 18-21. If you're coming to the show - or thinking about it - here's some highlights to look forward to...

Published in Chicagoland

This Back-to-School Fashion Showcase is presented in partnership with Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Back-to-School season can be a double-edged sword for people - loving it on one hand, while dreading it on another. Personally, I always loved shopping for new clothes and supplies each year, but as parents, my wife and I feel that the season comes earlier than it did back when we were kids. The Rock Daughters™ get out of school in June, start summer academy right away (no break) and when that wraps at the end of the month, we're already at July and the Back-to-School ads are already showing up in the mailbox. By the end of August, school is back in session and the girls need to be ready to rock the halls... and they're doing it in-style with some new clothes that we discovered during a recent trip to Woodfield Mall - the largest and most-visited mall in Illinois, located just west of Chicago in suburban Schaumburg. Truth be told, I don't know how much attention (if any) my parents paid to fashion trends when we were little, and I know that by my own High School years I wasn't necessarily the most fashionable lad (I'm still not), but it's weird to think that we're now old enough that the trends from our High School years are back in vogue. In the 80s, it was always the 50s/60s that seemed nostalgic... the 70s in the 90s, the 80s in the 00s. Now that 20-year cycle has come into this decade, and #90sRedux is one of the hottest things going. Kids are going back-to-school this fall in what looks like the must-haves circa 1994 - the year that I graduated from High School! Factor in the #OffBeat music-inspired mix and the #ModernUtility trend, and you've got what's essentially my favorite fashion season ever, because what's old is new again (and I'm old?). If we're gonna go throwback, we're also gonna need a proper playlist, so I've curated one on Spotify.

Published in Fashion
Chicagoland Friends! Looking for something fun and free to do this weekend? Well, if you love video games, the 2016 Play Nintendo Summer Tour might be right up your alley. This weekend, August 5-7, Nintendo's classic characters and games are coming to life as part of the one-of-a-kind Play Nintendo Tour, making a stop at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg (10am-9pm Fri/Sat, 11am-6pm Sun). Enjoy a unique experience bursting with color and imagination that offers parents and their kids the chance to play some of Nintendo's best games on New Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS systems, participate in exciting contests, win awesome prizes and snap memorable photos.
Published in Chicagoland
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