Summer is traditionally a slow time for museum exhibit openings. This could be because of the heat or the humidity or the marked decrease in school field trips during the season. No matter. Area museums and zoos do make concerted efforts to bring in adults, usually for evening events. We've scoured the news releases and the websites to come up with a list of summer (or close to summer) potential highlights that could add enrichment to your, or your family's, warm-weather agenda. As always, check the institutions' websites for more details.
If you missed Shedd Aquarium's inaugural flat-fish petting pool, right, last year, it's back for another season on the outdoor patio. This is a fine new feature for Shedd, bringing moments of communion with the animals to the normally pretty passive aquarium experience. The rays, you are probably wondering, have been de-barbed. Through October, weather permitting, Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive; $5 with the purchase of a Shedd Pass or a CITYPass; 312-939-2438 or sheddaquarium.org
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- The U-505 submarine is moved into position for its trip across Lake Shore Drive to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1954. This June marks the 70th anniversary of the sub's capture.
- Koola, Brookfield Zoo's 18-year-old western lowland gorilla, nestles with her daughter in February in Brookfield.
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"Civic Hack Day" at the Adler
As part of a National Day of Civic Hacking, Adler Planetarium is bringing students ages 12 to 20 together with professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Beyond mentorship, the goal is to try to find technology solutions for some of the problems in low-income communities. Workshops include zombie apocalypse fashion and a Rube Goldberg machine challenge. Saturday, Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive; free, register in advance; 312-922-7827 or adlerplanetarium.org
U-505, the 70th anniversary at MSI
The route that led to one of the city's most remarkable artifacts being hauled out of the water and put on display at the Museum of Science and Industry began with the ship's capture in June 1944. The museum commemorates that event by bringing in its captors, veterans of Naval Task Group 22.3, for a private reunion event. The public will get extra doses of U-505 lore from naval docents, "make-and-take" activities and special lectures on the boat. Wednesday, June 7 and 8, Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive; free days for Illinois residents; 773-684-1414 or msichicago.org
Admit it: Zoos would be a lot more civilized without all those pesky children underfoot. For the first time, Chicago's urban zoo is trying a couple of 18+ evenings during which the pathways will be entirely free of strollers. June 6 and Aug. 8, Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive; $8-$15; 312-742-2000 or lpzoo.org
For these events, Brookfield Zoo promises "cooler weather, enhanced dining options, beer and wine gardens, live music, all surrounded by wildlife and nature." By our count that's five good things all at once. Fridays and Saturdays June 20 to July 26, Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield; 708-688-8000 or czs.org
"A Salute to Dick Cavett" at the Museum of Broadcast Communications
If you don't remember Dick Cavett, ask your parents. The erudite talk show host was sort of the Charlie Rose of his day but with a stronger, albeit very dry, point of view. The Museum of Broadcast Communications likes to throw these dinner-dancing, black-tie-optional parties for vintage TV stars. Those who don't want to part with $125-$350 for an individual ticket can experience Cavett through the museum's summerlong exhibition "Dick Cavett: A Retrospective" (June 24 to Sept. 27). 6:30 p.m. June 21, Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St.; $125 and up; museum.tv
This is one example of the kind of musical programs that several institutions run during the summer. Highlights here include the live music, cocktails and, at 9:30 p.m., a great view across the water of the Navy Pier fireworks. This year the Shedd is adding Science Pub chats between music sets. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Wednesdays, June 25 to Sept. 3, Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive; $18; 312-939-2438 or sheddaquarium.org
The Chicago Symphony returns to the Lisle woodland park; its outdoor concerts there last summer sold out quickly. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle; $35-$45 at 630-968-0074 or mortonarb.org
- "A Summer Night on the Red Carpet" (7:30 p.m. June 26): Conductor Richard Kaufman leads a program of excerpts from Academy Award-nominated films, including "Mary Poppins," "Gone With the Wind" and "Out of Africa."
- Tchaikovsky and Beethoven (7:30 p.m. June 27): Conductor Cristian Macelaru leads a program from the familiar classical repertoire.
- Dvorak's New World Symphony (7:30 p.m. June 28): Conductor Cristian Macelaru leads a program that includes violinist Elena Urioste as soloist in Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 and Dvorak's Symphony No. 9.