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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

Family Polar Party

Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, Ill.

Explore the world of hibernating bears, harbor seals and cold-blooded reptiles, and learn how the animals survive in frigid habitats. Prep for winter by trying out ways to keep warm with extra fur, feathers, and fat, building weather-resistant beaver dams, and saving up lots of food for the cold winter months ahead.

When: 3:30-5 p.m. Dec. 14, 21 and 28
Cost: $10, $8 zoo members

Skate with Santa

Oak Lawn Ice Arena | Oak Lawn, Ill.

Skate with Santa on the ice, then visit with him off the ice and get a treat.

When: 2-3:15 p.m.
Cost: $6 admission, $3 skate rental

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

Julmiddag: Family Christmas Dinner

Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration | Chicago, Ill.

Festive and traditional Swedish Christmas Smörgåsbord is catered by Tre Kronor. Includes julklappar (gifts) for children from Tomten, a Lucia procession, and dancing around the tree.

When: 5 p.m.
Cost: $70, $60 member, $20 kids 2-12; free kids under 2

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

Charles Dickens Brunch

Drake Bros. | Chicago, Ill.

Visit The Drake to see carolers and whisper holiday wishes into Santa's ear at The Charles Dickens Brunch. Menu includes soup, salad and appetizer, a carving station and desserts. Kids enjoy a la carte selections such as grilled cheese, beef sliders and cheese pizza.

When: Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 20-23
Cost: $89, $44 kids

Brunch with Santa

Shaw's Crab House | Schaumburg , Ill.

Guests can enjoy the full Shaw's Crab House brunch experience, plus warm up at the build-your-own hot chocolate bar with many tasty toppings and enjoy a variety of homemade Christmas cookies. Santa and Mrs. Claus stop by to take photos and visit with families.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $52; free kids 12 and younger (limit 2 children per adult)

Brunch With Santa

John Barleycorn | Chicago, Ill.

Climb up into the big Christmas chair and take a picture on Santa’s lap before filling up on a breakfast. Santa will read a few of his favorite Christmas books and kids can color a picture for him to take back to the his workshop. Sip on hot cocoa and enjoy the music of the season as the restaurant transforms into a winter wonderland for Santa’s arrival.  A Christmas Story will also be playing on all of their TVs.

When: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Cost: Free photos; check website for brunch menu

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