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Make Your Own Wooden Toys

Glacial Park Conservation Area | Ringwood, Ill.

Learn how to make your own wooden toys to keep for yourself or give them as a gift. The wood being used for these projects comes from a non-native, invasive plant called buckthorn. We will learn about this invasive plant and why we work so hard to remove it from our natural areas.

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $5, free resident

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light

Chicago, Ill.

This Chicago tradition began in 1942. The museum's 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago's ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions. Stroll through the trees, enjoy falling "snow" and savor  performances on the stage. School choral groups perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances take place on the weekends. In 2015, the celebration will focus on a robot theme in honor of the museum's temporary exhibition, "Robot Revolution."



When: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily; extended hours on select days.
Cost: Free with admission

Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action

Kohl Children's Museum | Glenview, Ill.

The exhibit allows visitors to engage in exciting activities including surfing, snowboarding, kung fu and rock climbing all in a fun and immersing environment. Visitors jump into “Action Star Training,” which are play activities that build strength, coordination, balance and endurance, and can earn stamps for each adventures they try in their Action Trackers. At the conclusion with their visit, guests can bring home a 3-day Action Tracker to build on the skills and activities they learned and incorporate them into their own lives.

Cost: Free with museum admission


John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, Ill.

Developed and designed exclusively by Shedd, the one-of-a-kind exhibit will offer guests an immersive visual, audio and hands-on experience, immersing guests in the changing lives of salamanders, sirens, frogs, toads, newts, and more. Tadpoles will swim overhead, unusual and surprising amphibian sounds will fill the air, frogs in every color of the rainbow will hop and little-known, limbless caecilians will swim and slither.


Materials Science

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Learn the science behind familiar materials, like plastics and metals, explore where materials science is headed next and discover how breakthroughs in materials science have shaped our world. For the first time at MSI, an Atomic Probe Field Ion Microscope will be on display. This tool allowed scientists to image materials at an atomic level and opened up a whole new world of understanding and innovation.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Robot Revolution

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago, Ill.

Robot Revolution will explore how robots, created by human ingenuity, will ultimately change how we play, live and work together. The exhibit will allow guests to step into a visionary world where robots are not just a curiosity, but a vital asset. The exhibit will come to life with a collection of cutting-edge robots that have been secured from some of the most innovative global robotics companies and universities. Guests will have extraordinary opportunities to interact with robots that have rarely been shown to the public before.

Cost: Check website

Peanuts… Naturally

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all your favorite Peanuts characters come to life to explore the natural world. The exhibit showcases the work of author Charles M. Schultz, allows guests to explore over 50 years of comic strips, film and memorabilia based on the iconic Peanuts characters. Whether it’s wandering inside the Great Pumpkin or taking a reading break in Woodstock’s nest, guests will experience how the comic makes nature an exciting and relevant topic. Visitors can take photos with a Peanuts character face cut out or stop by Lucy’s stand to ask Nature Museum experts questions.

Cost: Free with museum admission

Chagall for Children

Winnetka Community House | Winnetka, Ill.

With 14 multi-sensory stations, each incorporating a high-quality reproduction of Chagall’s most famous works, the exhibit offers hands-on exploration of one of the most beloved artists of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall. The series of hands on activities encourages visiting children and their families to explore and work with specific art principles such as color, composition, light and texture. Many stations are accompanied with audio descriptions, highlighting information about the artwork upon which the interactive experience is based.

When: to
Cost: $10 family

Adventure to Santa

Oak Brook, Ill.

Adventure to Santa elevates the traditional mall holiday visit by blending the latest technology with captivating stories while Shrek and his friends guide family members of all ages on an unforgettable adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa. Reservations can be made online at with the purchase of a photo package or at Oakbrook Center at the Guest Services Lounge.

When: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $40-$74

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Christkindlmarket Chicago | Chicago, Ill.


Discover a traditional centuries-old holiday market in the heart of downtown Chicago. Christkindlmarket features German and international vendors who display hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique gifts as well as traditional German foods, sweets and beverages. School groups, professional singers and dance groups perform. Special events include appearances by the Christkind and the annual Children’s Lantern Parade, which celebrates St. Martin’s Day. Nov. 20-Dec. 24.

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Cost: Free

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