Dec. 6, 2007

Get out and play

This weekend is full of bright potential and twinkling possibilities with plenty of light festivals and displays around the Chicagoland area. Don’t forget your hats and gloves since it is guaranteed to be chilly this weekend.


Visit your favorite animals at the“Festival of Lights” at the Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton, 3-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Make a craft or two at Santa’s Craft Corner—a donation is recommended—and you can also purchase your Christmas tree and wreath while you’re there. Admission is free.


In Indiana, stay in your car as you drive through the Sunset Hill Farm County Park, 775 N. Meridian Road, Valparaiso, during the“Winter Light Festival,” 5-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.


There will be plenty to do on Saturday and Sunday at“Holiday Magic” at the Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield, from 4-9 p.m. Gather‘round the Roosevelt Fountain to watch 50 trees sparkle and shine to music during the“Dancing Tree Lights,” which runs every 20 minutes through 8:40 p.m., with each show lasting 10 minutes. Other events include a showing of“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at 7 p.m. with the original 1964 commercials. Admission is $10, $6 seniors and kids 3-11, free kids 2 and under.


Take a figurative ride on the“Wonderland Express” as you watch model trains go by at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, from 1-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday. After a walk through the Garden’s sparkling winter wonderland filled with 750,000 lights, warm up as you take a gander at the tiny trains in the Model Railroad Garden. Tickets are $10, $8 seniors and kids 3-17, $15 parking.


In the city, enjoy more than one million lights and animated displays as you take a stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, 5-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday for“Zoo Lights.” There will also be ice carving demonstrations, decorations in the animals’ houses and a chance to make crafts in the Kover Lion House. Admission is free.


If walking outside in the chilly air is not on your family’s winter wish list, head on over to the Cernan Earth and Space Center, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, for“Winter Wonderlight” Friday and Saturday. The laser show starts at 9 p.m. and features holiday images and music. The show is $10, $5 seniors and kids 12 and under.


Piece of the prize

This week, three lucky Chicago Parent readers will win two holiday DVDs,“A WowieBOZowee Christmas” and“The Very First Noel.” To win, tell us your family’s favorite holiday movie on our discussion board. Then e-mail your answer, name, phone number and your Chicago Parent ID to You must post and e-mail us for your answer to be counted. We will not release your information–it is purely for contact purposes. Winners will be chosen at random and may have no affiliation with Wednesday Journal Inc. or its employees.


Get out and play some more


Whether or not Chicago stays a winter wonderland this weekend, you can still celebrate the frost, the snow and the holiday season at the Bank of America Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier starting Friday.


This year’s fest offers new rides, such as the Winter Wind Glider and the Matterhorn. After gliding through the air and crawling and sliding down the Matterhorn, strap on your skates to glide around the Arctic Ice Rink. If you bring your own skates, access to the rink is free.


If you have little ones anxiously awaiting the man with the bag, they can deliver their holiday wish list to Santa and Mrs. Claus from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. through Dec. 23. There is also an area for kids under 46 inches in height, the Winter WonderFest Junior. When accompanied by an adult, little ones can romp on their very own playground, rides and other activities.


The Bank of America Winter WonderFest’s hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve and 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve. The fest is closed on Christmas Day and runs through Jan. 6.


Admission is free, but rides vary. Visit the Web site for cost and discount options. For more information on the Bank of America Winter WonderFest, visit the Web site,, or call (312) 595-5225.


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