Navy Pier is mainly known for its outdoor appeal, but come
December, the party moves inside when it is transformed into a
magical winter wonderland filled with glistening lights, merry
music and holiday family activities.
This year, the family fest lasts a week longer, Dec. 2-Jan.
Another new addition to this year's fest is an adults-only
setting with live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
But during the day, the festival is perfect for even the
littlest holiday revelers thanks to the Winter Wonderfest Jr. area
filled with bounce houses and tinsel tunnels.
The preschool set will love the Kris Kringle Carousel and the
Reindeer Express train ride through Santa's workshop. Elementary
school-aged kids can ride the indoor Ferris wheel between
decorating and devouring freshly baked goods at the Cookie Cottage.
Older children can take off on the Wind Glider, a breath-taking
journey akin to hang gliding, or try out their figure skating moves
on the indoor ice rink.
And families of all ages will relish the entertainment at the
Winter WonderStage, including comedy, dance and magic shows.
All of this holiday fun, however, comes at a price. While
admission is free, most of the main attractions require a
wristband, which start at $15 per child.
Want to experience the fest without the lines? Attendance
generally ramps up the weekend before Christmas, so plan your
outing earlier in the season. School groups tend to descend on
Wonderfest mid-morning through early afternoon, so veteran
attendees also suggest a mid-afternoon arrival on weekdays for the
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