Whew! The hubbub of the holidays are behind you and you still have several days of winter break to savor with the kids. Yippee! There’s totally tubular sledding happening, so make a date with Rosemont’s cool slope. Also on tap this weekend: Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier, the close of holiday light shows and more. Here are your best bets.
photo: Rosemont’s Frozemont
It’s Not Rosemont . . . It’s Frozemont!
Winter has had quite a magical effect on Rosemont. In fact, MB Financial Park has turned into a wonderland of fun, complete with tubing, ice skating, brilliant lights and more. At the center of “Frozemont” is the four-story Polar Peak tubing hill — the grade is steep and the ride is thrilling. (There is a kiddie slope for those that don’t need as much adrenaline.) Nearby, the NHL-sized ice rink is surrounded by glittering lights and has skate rentals available for $8. Make sure you mark your calendars for the ice carving competition on Dec. 12, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.! Dec. 11-Jan. 31., various hours. MB Financial Park. Skating is free, tubing is $3/run. All ages. Event details.
Up, Up, Up! Get a Birds-Eye View of Holiday Lights
Buckle up and take your holiday lights enjoyment to all new heights with a birds-eye view from 1,200 feet above the crowd. New this year, Chicago Helicopter Experience, a helicopter touring company with a heliport in Bridgeport, is offering guests sky-high views of Chicago’s magnificent light displays. The pilot gives a guided-tour of the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, Millennium Park and the Chicago skyline, which is breathtaking no matter the time of year but exponentially so during the holidays. Sat.-Sun., 5:30 pm.-9:30 p.m. Chicago Helicopter Experience. $178/person. All ages. Event details.
Visit Hilton Chicago’s Gingerbread House
What does it take to make a life-size gingerbread hotel? We can tell you: 300 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of powered sugar, 30 pounds of egg whites, 14 pounds of ginger, 8 pounds of cinnamon and 16,000 gingerbread bricks (and more than 250 hours!). Three pastry chefs worked tirelessly to create this masterpiece for all to enjoy. It stands next to the lobby level elevators and will be on display throughout the holiday season. Daily, open 24 hours a day thru Sat. Hilton Chicago Michigan Ave. Free. All ages. Event details.
It’s a Small World of Christmas Magic
It’s an international winter wonderland at Christmas Around the World. The fam is going to be enchanted by the trees and displays that are decorated to represent the rich multicultural heritage of Chicago. Of course, the crown jewel will be the The Grand Tree with 30,000 twinkling lights, sparkly ornaments and all of the trimmings. The kiddos can get into the holiday spirit while they sing along to holiday classics and play in flurries of snow that fall every half hour. Sat. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Museum of Science and Industry. Free with admission (non-residents: $18/adults, $11/children 3-11; residents: $15/adults, $10/children 3-11). All ages. Event details.
A Detective Game with Cat-titude
This interactive spy story provides the purrr-fect opportunity to show your little ones the mystery and excitement of live theatre. With the promise of pie and the smell of a rat close by, gather clues to help Three Little Kittens find their missing mittens and make new discoveries before Mother Cat comes slinking home. Now thru Jan. 3, varied showtimes. Emerald City’s Little Theatre. $15; $8/children 1 & under. Ages 0-5. Event details.
From superheroes to undersea adventures, princesses to dinosaurs, Storytown takes you on an interactive, fully improvised adventure. The actors use audience suggestions and ideas to create a different story every week. Kids design the setting and help shape the story. The actors, artists and musicians bring it to life. When the possibilities are endless, no two stories are ever the same. Sat., 10:30 a.m. Stage 773. $10. Ages 3-10. Event details.
Watch ZooLights Illuminate the Night’s Sky
One of the nation’s only free-admission zoos flips the holiday switch with ZooLights. With the light displays throughout the grounds your fam can stroll through for holiday crafts, take photos with Santa, enjoy food and drinks, watch ice carving demos, partake in carousel rides and go-’rounds on the new Lionel Train Adventure, all while admiring the explosion of multi-colored lights. Sat.-Sun., 4:30 p.m.-9 pm. Lincoln Park Zoo. Free. All ages. Event details.
Pre-Broadway Premiere of Gotta Dance
Need some adult-only time? Sit back and be entertained by Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway-bound musical comedy about professional basketball’s first ever aged 60-and-older dance team. Sat., 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Bank of America Theatre. All ages. Event details.
Giggle Your Way Into the New Year with Potted Potter
Potted Potter – The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into seventy hilarious minutes. Even if you don not know the difference between a horcrux and a Hufflepuff, Potted Potter will make you roar with laughter. And if your a FOH (friend of Harry), this is can’t miss entertainment. Fri.-Sun., various showtimes. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower. $36.95-$66.95. All ages. Event details.
Ice Skating with a View
Take a spin on the ice with a magnificent view at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Once again this year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will present Winter Workouts with FREE skating lessons, Fri.-Sun., one hour before the rink opens. Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 p.m.-9 p.m. Millennium Park. Free skating, $12/skate rental. All ages. Event details.
A Winter Thrill Fill at Navy Pier
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. New attractions this year include the Polar Extreme, a double-sided inflatable slide and obstacle course, interactive Arctic Peaks Climbing Walls and an expanded, more challenging Winter Rules mini golf course sure to offer an additional layer of friendly competition and frozen holiday fun. Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; -Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Navy Pier. General admission is $9 online & $10 walk-up; Activity ticket $23 online & $25 walk-up. All ages. Event details.
First Sundays Free at Chicago Children’s Museum
Kids ages 15 and under are invited to explore the Chicago Children’s Museum FREE of charge! With three floors of exhibits and activities focusing on literacy, science, performing arts and health, the Museum is a place where children are encouraged to create, explore and discover through play. Popular exhibits include Dinosaur Expedition, where kids dig for bones in an authentic excavation pit; Waterways, an interactive system of pulleys, pumps and pipes; and Kids Town, an early-learning exhibit featuring a real CTA bus, mini grocery store and kid-sized cityscape. Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum. Free. All ages. Event details.
Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action
Kohl Children’s Museum is out to show kids that exercise is fun with their newest exhibit, Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action. Visitors will engage in five different exercise simulations that include surfing, snowboarding, kung fu and rock climbing – all in a fun and immersive environment. Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Kohl Children’s Museum. $11; free for children 1 & under. Ages 0-8. Event details.
Hunt for Gnomes and Build Them Sweet Homes
Gnomes are invading Morton Arboretum for a game of hide-and-seek in the Children’s Garden. Can you find them all? Search for them throughout the week and then come back on the weekend to continue the hunt and create a keepsake, light-up gnome home of your own. Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Morton Arboretum. Hunt is free with general admission; home building is $7/member, $10/non-member. All ages. Event details.
Illumination: Tree of Lights
Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns with more lights, sights and sounds that will transform a Chicago-area wintertime walk in the woods into a colorful, inspiring experience like no other. Brand new experiences this year including dazzling lighting effects where a series of glowing orbs create a glittering vista. Visitors can sing to the trees to activate LED lights that rain down like shiny strands of tinsel. Sat., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Morton Arboretum. $17-$20/adults; $11-$13/children. All ages. Event details.
Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Step into an indoor winter wonderland bursting with LEGO bricks! Young brick fans are invited to LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago’s annual Holiday Bricktacular to participate in heaps of holly jolly fun. Fri., 10 a.m.5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Included with admission. Ages 3-10. Event details.
Let us in on your weekend plans in the Comments below!