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Settlers' Day

Settlers Day | South Holland, Ill.


Visit with costumed living history demonstrators, representing American history from French fur trading days, pioneer times, and the Revolutionary and Civil War periods.  Activities include joining an imaginary wagon train, guided history hikes, trying your hand at a two-person buck saw, and making a craft.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free, donations of money or food accepted

Skull Detectives

Trailside Museum of Natural History | River Forest, Ill.


Examine real skulls to figure out which animal stole the missing lunch.

When: 1-2:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Enter the Holidays with Michelle Houts’ Winterfrost

The Book Stall at Chestnut Court | Winnetka, Ill.


A visit with author Michelle Houts, reading from and discussing her new novel, Winterfrost. When 12 year old Bettina is unexpectedly placed in charge of the family farm (and her baby sister) she has to contend with the nisse, mischievous creatures upset when they don’t receive their expected Christmas treat.

When: 1-2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Battle of the Bulge LEGO Display

Cantigny Park | Wheaton, Ill.


See the key moments of the epic World War II battle recreated in LEGO bricks.

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Mondays
Cost: Free; $5 parking

Sox vs. Cubs: The Chicago Civil Wars

Harold Washington Library Center | Chicago, Ill.


Features both teams’ historical development and details, statistical information, photographs, memorabilia, souvenirs and other materials. In addition, several video presentations—two of which are designed like the classic Cubs’ and White Sox’s scoreboards—offer compelling testimonials from some players, fans and local sports broadcasters. The exhibit also features a playful component which includes interactive “Color Your Mascot” and “Create a Cartoon” coloring sheets, as well as vintage cartoons following the  “up and down” seasons of both teams.

Cost: Free

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. 21-Dec. 24.

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

Discover Holiday Traditions in the Chicago Loop

Chicago, Ill.


Presenting the best holiday magic, including beloved attractions, world-class shopping and dining, and a variety of family-friendly activities

Cost: Free

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Symphony In Lights

Bolingbrook, Ill.


A day of activities culminates in the annual tree lighting ceremony and first Symphony In Lights show of 2014 at dusk.  Activities during the day include carriage rides Santa tent, kids' holiday crafts, ice sculpture demonstration, costumed character appearances, a live Nativity scene and more

When: 3-6 p.m. Nov. 15; 5-9 p.m. daily through Dec. 31
Cost: Free

Exploration Station

Oak Park Conservatory | Oak Park, Ill.


Try hands-on activities at the Exploration Station created by the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. There will be a new topic each month highlighting special aspects of the Conservatory for both adults and children. October: Bats; November: Urban Wildlife.

When: 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays; 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays
Cost: Free

Community Discount/Free General Admission Days

John G. Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, Ill.


Free general admission to the original galleries and discounted rates on admission to Wild Reef, Polar Play Zone and Oceanarium. Sept. 29-30; Oct. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28; Nov. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25.

Cost: Free admission to original galleries only

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