Cool flicks in the dark, park and pool

Fun, free/affordable movies coming soon to a theatre, park or pool near you

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By Deb Quantock McCarey

Contributing reporter/Nature blogger

Yes, it is finally summer and a great time to head out for a free, or reduced price, G to PG-13 rated family flick, watching it either with your bum planted on a blanket in a park, seated in a cool dark movie house, or partially submerged at a nearby pool in Oak Park, Forest Park, Riverside and Brookfield.

In Oak Park, and back by popular demand at the Lake Theater, 1022 Lake Street, is The Wednesday Morning Movie Series, from June 11 to August 6.

Admission is $1 per person, and doors open at 9 a.m., with the movie starting at 10 a.m. For additional information call 708-848-9088, or visit and click on Wednesday Morning Free Movie Series to discern the ratings of the movies.

The lineup is: Despicable Me 2 (6/11); Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (6/18); Turbo (6/25); The Muppets Take Manhattan (7/2); The Nut Job (7/9); The Smurfs 2 (7/16); Free Birds (7/23); a "surprise" PG movie (7/30); and "surprise" g-rated movie (8/6), culminating the event.

A few blocks away, at dusk on Friday, July 18, The Park District of Oak Park will kick off its PG-rated Summer Musical Movie Series. The first is a flick and float event that will certainly create a big splash at the new and improved Ridgeland Common Recreational Center Pool with scores of animated dancing and singing penguins providing movie fun for all ages in Happy Feet.

Cost is $9 at the door, with a discount of $6 for season pool passes holders.

Then, a few weeks later, families are invited to dry themselves off and head to a free screening of the classic 1982 musical version of Annie.

The movie will start at 7 p.m. (dusk) at Carroll Park, 1125 S. Kenilworth Avenue, in Oak Park on Wednesday, August 13, organizers say.

For additional details, call the Park District of Oak Park at (708) 383-0002.

Across the border in Forest Park, its annual Movies in the Park programming lives on, on the front lawn at 501 Harrison Street.

At this outdoor, sit-in movie event will be Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, rated G - (6/6); Grease, rated PG (6/20); Planes, rated G (7/18); The Hunger Games: Catching the Fire, rated PG-13 (8/8); and Mary Poppins, rated G (8/28). Concessions, say organizers, will be available for purchase,

All movies will start between 7:45 and 8:30 p.m.

For more information call the Park District of Forest Park at 708-366-7500.

Meanwhile, in a nearby suburb to the west of that, Annie Hanrahan, Program Coordinator at Riverside Parks and Recreation says they will have another animal outdoor movie night in their park, in collaboration with Brookfield Zoo, -- meaning a few zoo animals will be in attendance -- to add interest to the August 7 animal-themed movie night event.

Family-focused activities, she says, will start at 8 p.m., with the movie beginning around 8:30 p.m. at Big Ball Park, at the intersection of Longcommon and Delaplaine Avenues in Riverside.

"This is a free event for families of all ages," she said, "and a great way for the community to get together."

In addition to that, and, not to be missed, are a few free family movie nights in neighboring Brookfield at Jaycee/Ehlert Park, 4315 Park Avenue.

Arlene Rovner of the Brookfield Recreation Department says this year's Summer Movies in the Park will feature two free movies, PG-rated Frozen on Friday June 20, and PG rated The Amazing Spiderman on Friday, August 22.

"We always tell parents to check out these websites if they want to see the appropriateness of the movies for their child, so we always suggest they check out;; and," Rovner said, adding that pets and alcohol are prohibited, and concessions will be available for purchase. Both movies are free. For additional information, call 708-485-7344.

Read more Summer Fun 2014 articles

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