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Winter Lights Holiday Walk

Downtown Aurora, Ill.


New this year is a grand fireworks display along the banks of the Fox River and a special Holiday Parade with noted celebrities like the Paramount Theatre’s Mary Poppins, Town Band, Aurora’s “Grinch” and Santa and Mrs. Claus. The twinkling lit streets will be filled with live music, costumed characters, live ice sculpting, local art, food vendors, festive photo-ops, live reindeer, trackless train and Christkindlmarket. The official City of Aurora Holiday Tree will be illuminated by Mayor Weisner, Miss Merry Christmas and Mr. Jack Frost along with an award presentation for the winners of the Downtown Window Decorating Contest. After the tree lighting, Santa will be listening to Christmas wishes and Mrs. Claus has a special treat for those who have been good all year.

When: 5-9 p.m.
Cost: Free

Owl Prowl

The Grove | Glenview, Ill.

Meet The Grove's owls up close, then take a hike to search for them in the wild. Kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Register at at Park Center on on the Web site.

When: 7-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $8.75, $7 resident

Hejsan - Children's Story and Craft Hour

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


On Nov. 21, read “Every Autumn Comes the Bear” by Jim Aronsky and create paper plate bears. On Dec. 19, read “The Wild Christmas Reindeer” by Jan Brett and create hand print reindeers.

When: 11 a.m.
Cost: Free; reservation requested

Civic Chamber Music Series

Chicago Symphony Orchestra | Chicago, Ill.


A series of innovative public performances, educational performances at public schools and participation in the 2015 Chicago Youth in Music Festival. National Museum of Mexican Art: 2 p.m. March 15, April 17, May 17, June 7; Indian Boundary Park: 3 p.m. March 29, April 26, May 24; North Park Village Nature Center: 11 a.m. March 28, April 25, May 23; Davis Square Park: 3 p.m. Feb. 7, March 7, April 11; Zhou B Art Center: 7 p.m. Nov. 21, March 20, April 17, May 15.

When: Check website
Cost: Free

Glitzy Girls: Retro Girls Night-Glitzy Style

Glenview Park District Park Center | Glenview , Ill.

Dress in a favorite retro outfit and get a funky makeover with cool neon hair, nails and makeup. Decorate a cool craft and design a blinged-out retro charm bracelet. Turn on the disco lights, dance to great music and play games. Take home a peace-themed glam goodie bag.

When: 6:30-8 p.m.
Cost: $44, $35 resident

Weekly Toddlers Play

St. Nicholas Ukranian Catholic Cathedral School | Chicago, Ill.


This free event is open to any child aged six months through four years, and is centered around the school’s commitment to addressing the holistic needs of a child. Children take part in music and movement activities that get everyone up on their feet and dancing together.

When: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Cost: Free

Family Fun Day

Macy's on State Street | Chicago, Ill.


Get creative at the crafts table where families can participate in Frozen activities like Olaf "Build a Snowman," weaving a Frozen basket and coloring favorite Frozen characters. Plus, kids will enjoy face painting, balloons and more.

When: 1 p.m. Nov. 8; 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22
Cost: Free

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 2014, the theme highlights temporary exhibit Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. Explore new artifacts and experiences in this exhibit, including a section on the making of animated film Frozen and costumes from films such as The Santa Clause and Maleficent.

Cost: Free with admission

Plant Hunters

Morton Arboretum | Lisle, Ill.

The new library exhibit highlights the crucial research that takes place at The Morton Arboretum and brings awareness to the work of other notable plant researchers throughout history. Artifacts rare photographs of turn-of-the-century China taken by renowned plant collector, Ernest Henry Wilson. Visitors can explore modern plant hunting by getting a close look at instruments used in the field and during scientific study. The exhibit also features interactive elements, challenging visitors to identify various plant species while they learn about the state of threatened trees and plants as well as the conservation efforts of scientists at The Morton Arboretum.

Cost: Free with admission

Lionel Train Adventure

Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, Ill.

The new electric-powered locomotive seats 28 children with a coal car, passenger cars and a caboose, courtesy of Lionel. The adventure begins at a red brick train station and embarks on an exciting trip through an evergreen forest. Next, the terrain changes as the train crosses over a quaint country bridge before continuing on through a craggy canyon. The train will pass through a lofty birch forest before returning to the red brick station.

Cost: $3

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