Places to go; people to see. You’re a regular holiday busy bee — and your job is never truly done without penciling in some family entertainment. We’ve got ideas for this weekend, from Cirque Dreams’ “Holidaze” show to “Cinderella” on stage to a magical mini train at Chicago Botanic Garden. Here’s where to get hopping.



Cirque Dreams “Holidaze”
The merriest of variety shows features snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeers, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, dancing ornaments and of course, Santa Claus. Bringing together the best elements of a new cirque show, a Broadway musical and a family holiday show all in one, it has amazing acrobatics, gravity-defying feats, incredible illusions and more. Held Wed.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 2 p.m. at the Chicago Theatre. Tickets starting at $25. Ages 3 & up. Event details.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
The classic musical adventure of the little cinder girl is here to take Chicago by storm. Go on a journey filled with magic, mice, fluffy gowns and true love. Of course, all of this will be set to some of the most beloved tunes in Broadway history. Held Tues.-Jan. 4 at Cadillac Palace Theatre. Tickets starting at $19. All ages. Event details.

Navy Pier

Winter WonderFest
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. New attractions this year include Wintertube, a 15-foot-tall dual-lane snow tubing hill; and Toboggan Tunnel, a dual-lane sled ride on rollers. There’s also an ice skating rink, a 50-foot-tall indoor Ferris wheel, a polar-themed mini golf course, and a holiday train that zig-zags through lighted houses and scenes. Held thru Jan. 11 at Festival Hall A. General admission is $3.75 online & $5 walk-up. Cost for activities varies. All ages. Event details.

Museum Campus

Caribbean Adventures at The Field Museum
Transport your fam to the warm tropical climate of the Caribbean in this month’s Art and Science Spotlight. Sway to the rhythm of the Haitian folkloric dance performances by Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company. You can also pop by the Playlab for Caribbean-themed activities before you head back out into the polar vortex. Held Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free with museum admission ($31/adults; $21/children 3-11). All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

One of the nation’s only free-admission zoos flips the holiday switch. Your fam can stroll through for holiday crafts, photos with Santa, food and drinks, ice carving demos, carousel rides and go-’rounds on the new Lionel Train Adventure, all while admiring the explosion of multi-colored lights. Held thru Jan. 4 (hours vary) at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free. All ages. Event details.

“The BFG” on Stage
Go on an adventure to discover what it means to be a hero with The Big Friendly Giant (or The BFG as he’s known by fans). Emerald City Theater’s production of the Roald Dahl classic will take your kiddos on a save-the-day journey with orphan Sophie and her big new friend. Shadow puppetry and inventive perspective-changing staging make this show fun for everyone. Thru Jan. 4 at The Apollo Theater. $10-$20/ticket. Ages 6 & up. Event details.


Morton Arboretum’s “Illumination”
This interactive LED light display covers over a mile of the Morton Arboretum with lights that will respond to giggles, hugs and conversations. You can also enjoy the tunes of Symphony Woods from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a variety of live entertainment that will change throughout the season. Held thru Jan. 3. Admission fees vary. All ages. Event details.


Wonderland Express Train Show
Welcome to a garden paradise filled with 750,000 outdoor lights. Step inside Nichols Hall, and watch garden-scale trains wind past miniature replicas of more than 80 Chicago-area landmarks. Another model train will weave by more landmarks set around the North Pool of Krehbiel Gallery, transformed into an English country train platform. Held thru Jan. 4 at Chicago Botanic Garden. $12/adults; $10/children ages 3 to 12 and seniors ages 62 and older; children 2 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Oak Brook

Breakfast With Santa
Munch on a holiday buffet and spend the morning with Mr. Claus. The kiddos can also put their own spin on the traditional gingerbread house with a little help from Labriola pastry chefs. Held Sat., 9-11 a.m. at Labriola Cafe. $15/adult (buffet only); $35/child (includes house and decoration supplies); $27.50/additional gingerbread house. All ages. Event details.

What are you doing to stay sane this holiday season? Share with us in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis

photo: Cirque Dreams