Island hopping

Ready to make like a polar bear and enjoy the cold weather on a winter island surrounded by water? Then dig out snowsuits, winter hats and gloves and bring the kids to Chicago’s Northerly Island for Polar Adventure Days.

The island (actually a peninsula if you want to get picky about it) is 91 acres of nature jutting out into Lake Michigan on the Museum Campus. Polar Adventure Days give families a reason to get outside and meet wolves from a local wolf sanctuary, pet husky sled dogs, play ice games, go on treasure hunts, snowshoe and build a snowman (weather permitting). Indoor activities include storytelling and hands-on activities.

“Our goal is for people to see Northerly Island through the seasons,” says Peggy Stewart, manager of outdoor and environmental education for the Chicago Park District."It’s winter, but it’s still good to get outside.”

Polar Adventure Days are designed for all ages and everything is free. Park district staff is on hand to help kids learn to snowshoe or to get your family started on an outdoor treasure hunt or quest.

“The families enjoy the live animals and the park quest got people outside last year. Then they started enjoying the island on their own and that’s the best part,” Stewart says.

This year’s Adventure Days are scheduled from noon-4 p.m. Dec. 15, Jan. 19 and Feb. 23. Northerly Island is at 1400 Lynn White Drive (take the road next to the Adler Planetarium parking lot). The island has a visitors center with bathrooms, diaper changing facilities and a toddler play area. Call (312) 742-5039 for more information.

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