You know it’s officially the holiday season in Chicago when the lions at the Art Institute don their festive green neckwear. But did you realize that you can take part in the seasonal kickoff at Wreathing of the Lions, the official unveiling of the leonine décor? The outdoor ceremony is followed by free art-making fun in the warm-and-toasty Ryan Learning Center. Make your own wreath, inspired by the knights and weaponry of The Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, then take it home to add to your own holiday trimmings.
Free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 24. Art Institute of Chicago, 159 E. Monroe, Chicago. (312) 443-3600
Thanks to the musical brilliance of Lin-Manuel Miranda and the marketing genius of Disney, there’s a good chance your offspring might never stop singing “How Far I’ll Go.” Good news, then, that kids 6-9 can get in touch with their inner Moana at Luau at the Beach, an afternoon of Hawaiian delights that includes making leis, building and sailing warrior boats, and learning to hula. Then wrap it all up by making flame-free paper bag campfires and enjoying a tropical treat while watching a movie. (We have a feeling that darn song isn’t going anywhere any time soon.)
$20. 1-4 p.m. Nov. 10. Rosewood Beach Interpretive Center, 883 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. (847) 433-6901
Nowadays, preparing for winter basically entails buying new coats for the kiddos and putting snow tires on the minivan. But back in the 1800s, farm families had a whole range of tasks for preparing for Old Man Winter, like smoking hams, making sausages and doing other, mostly pork-related, jobs. At Hog House to Smokehouse, get an up-close look at the lives of farm families in the 19th century, enjoying demos, crafts, wagon rides and food–then return to the luxury and comfort of your 21st-century existence (pre-packaged bacon included).
$3 person, $12 family. Noon-4 p.m. Nov. 19. Spring Valley Nature Center & Heritage Farm, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg. (847) 985-2100