Fit for a president: Family Picks

Fit for a president: Family Picks

Spring is in the air — for now — and family events are sprouting up all over! On this three-day Presidents weekend, go outside to count some birds,  indulge your young artist, celebrate the Spurlock Museum’s 100th anniversary, let your kids explore a “dangerous” book, or take in some music, dance and children’s theater.

And let’s all chant together: no more snow!

Watch the birdies: Great Backyard Bird Count, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Anita Purves Nature Center, 1505 N. Broadway Ave., U. Free.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event in which bird watchers of all ages count birds in their area, for conservation purposes. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts, for as long as you want! Join Champaign County Audubon Society members and nature center staff as they count winter birds at feeding stations and along trails in Busey Woods. Bring binoculars if you have them!

For information: Call  344-6803 or visit or the Urbana Park District's website

Kids@Krannert: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Krannert Art Museum, 500 E. Peabody Drive, C. Free.

Children ages 3 to 10 can take part in hands-on art activities inspired by the exhibit, “Building a Modern Collection: A Look Back.” Children will also be encouraged to explore Juan Angel Chavez’s “Speaker Box,” a large sculptural performance stage.

For information: Visit

Scary! ‘Daring and Dangerous Program for Boys and Girls,’ 1 p.m. Saturday, Lewis Auditorium, Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green St., U. Free.

Want to learn how to write a secret message? Make thecoolest paper airplane ever? Or learn to tie some useful knots? Explore great ideas from the popular books “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and the “Daring Book for Girls.”

For information: Call 367-4057 or visit

Let’s dance! Illinois Dance Team Association competition, 10 a.m. Saturday, Unity Junior High School, 1121 County Road 800 N, Tolono. Free.

Teams and solo dancers will compete to qualify for the Illinois Dance Team Association state competition on March 12 at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall. Event is hosted by Unity High’s Rockettes Dance Team,

For information: Call 485-6230

‘Alice in Wonderland’: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Champaign Central High School’s Decker Theater, 610 W. University Ave., C. Admission charge.

Champaign Central High School’s drama club presents its annual children’s show. Admission is $3 to $5 at the door, and concessions will be available. Enter off the Park Street side of the school.

For information: Call 351-3911

Children’s Theater: ‘Ugly Duckling,’ 2 p.m. Saturday, ‘Henry Box Brown,’ 6 p.m. Saturday, C-U Baha’i Center, 807 E. Green St., U. Admission charge.

The Soul Miners Children’s Theater Co. of Champaign-Urbana presents two musical stories of unity and justice from the New York Children’s Theatre Co.

Tickets for ‘The Ugly Duckling’ are $3 to $5, and tickets for ‘Henry Box Brown,’ are $5 to $7. Children ages 2 and under may attend either show for free.

For information: Visit the company’s website

Centennial celebration: Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, 600 S. Gregory St., U. Free.

Help the museum kick off its new exhibit, “Collecting and Connecting: One Hundred Years at the Spurlock Museum.” Talk with curators about the artifacts and cultures highlighted in the exhibits, make your own abacus or rub Abe Lincoln’s nose!

For information: Call 333-2360 or visit

Let the music begin: Philip M. Faucett Chamber Music Festival, 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, University of Illinois Music Building (auditorium), 1114 W. Nevada St., U. Free.

More than 70 area music students from ages 6 to 18 will perform for a panel of judges. Though many of them play in small school ensembles, the festival allows them to perform in a large group and learn more about chamber music. The festival is sponsored by the Conservatory of Central Illinois, a nonprofit community music school in Champaign.

For information: Call 356-9812 or visit

And since it’s a three-day weekend ...

Children’s books! Annual book sale, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday (Tuesday and Wednesday, too), Center for Children’s Books, Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, 501 E. Daniel St., C. Free admission.

Thousands of children’s books will be available, from board books for the youngest readers to novels for high schoolers. Plus picture books, easy and transitional readers, chapter books, series fiction, activity books and kits, nonfiction series, mass-market paperbacks and more.

Paperbacks are $1 or $2 each, hardcover books are $5, and other items are priced as marked. Proceeds from the sale support the Center for Children’s Books.

For information: Call 244-9331 or visit

Check the Are We There Yet? blog every Friday for upcoming family friendly events, pulled from our News-Gazette online calendar, e3 magazine and other sources. To submit an item, e-mail me at, or use the calendar on the News-Gazette home page,

Photos: A cardinal at the Anita Purves Nature Center, top, is ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count at the Anita Purves Nature Center on Saturday. Robert K. O'Daniell/The News-Gazette

At bottom, this folk costume doll is part of a 'Cabinet of Curiosity' in the exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of Spurlock Museum in Urbana. John Dixon/The News-Gazette

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