When flurries begin to flit through the air and the
smell of spiced pumpkin lattes wafts from every street-corner
Starbucks, holiday spirit is palpable. What better way to encourage
holiday cheer and spend some quality family time than to head over
to Navy Pier's Winter
Whether you have 10-year-old itching to try the Wind
Glider, a ride mimicking parasailing, or a 4-year-old looking for
some pint-sized rides, there is something for the whole family at
this annual wintry wonderland.
Inflatable slides, the carousel and the junior Ferris
wheel provide appropriate thrills for younger children. Make sure
your kids don't miss out on the Cookie Cottage, where they can
decorate their own holiday cookie. Even stroller moms and their
mini-tag-alongs can experience the holiday cheer at the pier with
roaming and photo-ready holiday characters.
If you're looking for activities for the entire family to
do together, there's always the popular indoor skating rink or the
entertainment stage, which offers interactive shows filled with
songs, dancers, comedy and jugglers.
Be forewarned: the festival is a favorite tradition of
many area families, so the heavy crowds and foot-traffic may prove
to be too much for little ones. If possible, avoid the crowds by
visiting around 2:30 p.m. weekdays, right after school groups have
left, or Sundays at noon when Winter WonderFest opens for the
To save some time waiting in line, Delores Robinson of
Navy Pier suggests buying wristbands for ride entry beforehand.
Although admission to the festival is free, an unlimited-ride
wristband is $15 and $19 for a wristband that includes entry to the
indoor skating rink. For families on a budget, keep checking the
Navy Pier website for special discount days or coupons.
At year's end, Winter WonderFest goes out with a bang with
lots of dancing, music and fireworks at the New Year's Eve Bash on
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