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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

Littlest Elves Workshop

Pilcher Park Nature Center | Joliet, Ill.

Drop in for music and painting fun. Pick an unfinished ceramic item, paint it, and it will be fired in time for the holidays.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Free; fee for ceramic items

Black Friday Public Ice Skating Session

Carlson Ice Arena | Loves Park, Ill.

Enjoy some fun exercise with family or friends at a special four-hour indoor ice skating session. Wear black, and receive $1 off admission.

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: $7, $5 resident; $6 kids 3-17, $4 resident kids; free kids 2 and under. $2 skate rental.

Nutcracker at the Christkindlmarket!

Daley Plaza | Chicago, Ill.


Enjoy sneak peek performances by the students of Performing Arts Limited in selections from their 2015 Nutcracker production.

When: Noon-1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Science Cornucopia

Discovery Center Museum | Rockford, Ill.

Turn cranberries into chemistry, engage in fruitcake physics, and find out what happens to whipped cream when it’s dropped in liquid nitrogen. Bring the family and kick off the holiday season with extraordinary demos and festive arts and crafts.

When: 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission

Black Friday

Pump It Up Chicago | Chicago, Ill.

Parents drop off kids for some time to shop.

When: 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. or 1:30-3:15 p.m.
Cost: $12

The Nutcracker at Lincolnwood Mall

Lincolnwood Town Center | Lincolnwood, Ill.


Catch sneak peek performances of The Nutcracker Ballet by Performing Arts Limited.

When: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 6-7 p.m. Nov. 27
Cost: Free

Track Friday Event

Warren Special Recreation Association | Gurnee, Ill.

A day focused on charity, community, and health. WSRA provides community recreation for people with disabilities, and will be raising money to expand resources for our participants with special needs. Make a donation of $10 or more and walk or run as many laps as you like.

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Varies

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

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