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Holiday Express

Blackberry Farm | Aurora, Ill.

The decorated train will run continuously around sparkling Lake Gregory. Santa Claus will collect kids’ wish lists at the Early Streets Museum. Activities include Huntoon House: See what a Victorian Christmas looks like; Reindeer Food Bar: Mix up a snack bag and take it home to treat Santa’s reindeer on Christmas Eve; One-Room Schoolhouse: Costumed storytellers read holiday favorites to young audiences; North Pole Oasis (Carriage Museum): Crafts, games and music; Candy Cane Village (Adventure Playground): Festively decorated and lit; Little Elf Hobby Shoppe (Weaver’s Cabin): Create a commemorative holiday ornament; North Pole Barn: Visit Olivia, the friendly Potbelly Pig, as she helps Santa’s reindeer get in shape for Christmas; Reindeer Training Facility (Pony Ring): See the ponies demonstrate what it takes to become a sled-pulling reindeer; face painting and holiday tattoos. Visitors can also enjoy a hay wagon ride while being entertained by carolers and storytellers.

When: 2-6 p.m.
Cost: $5

An Afternoon with the Short-Eared Owls

Glacial Park Conservation Area | Ringwood, Ill.

Enjoy a winter hike at dusk to search for these endangered creatures. Bring binoculars if you have them, and dress for the weather. Afternoon begins with a short indoor presentation.

When: 3:30-5 p.m.
Cost: $2, free resident

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: 10 a.m.-noon
Cost: $3, free resident

TILT the Season

360 CHICAGO | Chicago, Ill.

Enjoy sky-high views of the city lights and frosty lakefront from the 360 CHICAGO floor. Then, say hello to Santa, who will help spread holiday cheer every weekend and Christmas Eve (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). Photos with Santa will be complimentary for 360 CHICAGO guests. Other special gifts will include a complimentary one-day Child pass to the Shedd Aquarium and kids will TILT for free every Wednesday.

When: 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Cost: Free with 360 CHICAGO admission

Selfies with Santa

Skydeck Chicago | Chicago, Ill.

Dressed in his signature red suit, Santa will roam around Skydeck Chicago so visitors can take pictures with him.

When: 1-5 p.m.
Cost: Free with Skydeck admission

Breakfast with Santa and Sue

Field Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Enjoy a buffet breakfast in the historic Stanley Field Hall. After breakfast, you'll get to share all of your holiday wishes when you take your picture with Santa and SUE.

When: 8 and 8:30 a.m.
Cost: $40, $28 kids 2-11; $30 members, $22 member kids

Winter Holiday Highlight: Green Gifting Day Camp

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | Chicago, Ill.

Prepare for the holiday season by creating their own gifts for friends and family at a "green gifting" camp. All crafts will be environmentally friendly and inspired by some of our popular exhibits.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $65, $50 member

Breakfast with Santa

The Boundary Tavern & Grill | Chicago, Ill.

Enjoy breakfast with Santa and make a gingerbread house.

When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Check website

Breakfast with Santa

Ed Debevic's | Chicago, Ill.

Guests receive 30 percent off their entire breakfast bill. The one and only Mr. Claus will pose for photos with kids, and paparazzi, and each family will leave with something special. Families should bring their own camera.

When: 9 a.m.-noon
Cost: Check website

Breakfast with Santa

Labriola Bakery Café and Neapolitan Pizzeria | Oak Brook, Ill.

Kids and parents alike will enjoy Gingerbread House decorating parties which includes a tasty breakfast buffet featuring eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit, rosemary potatoes, OJ, coffee, iced tea and unlimited fountain drinks. Children’s tickets include a gingerbread house and decorating supplies and assistance from the Labriola pastry chefs. Plus, Santa will be on hand dfor photos and to take holiday gift requests.

When: 9-11 a.m. Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21
Cost: $35 kids, $15 adults

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