Not to toot your own horn, but, wow, you have some fun things planned this weekend! For starters, there’s the musical storytelling series Once Upon a Symphony making joyful noise at Symphony Center. And, further afield, sled dogs race off into a wintery landscape in Monee. Meanwhile, Winter WonderFest keeps rocking Navy Pier and a free MCA Family Day lets you explore your creative side. Read on for more and get out there!


The Loop

Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “Once Upon a Symphony”
CSO strikes a chord with the preschooler in your life with “Little Red Hen,” a storytelling journey featuring small ensembles of musicians paired with vivid narration, sets, costumes and images created by Chicago Children’s Theatre. Held Sat., 10 & 11:45 a.m. at Symphony Center. $17/ticket. Ages 3-5. Event details.


Free Family Day at the MCA
Stretch your imagination, explore the cosmos and experience storytelling in new and inventive ways. Guest artists Sarah and Joseph Belknap and Manual Cinema, whose works are featured at the MCA this winter, lead kids through interactive projects. Held Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

Navy Pier

Winter WonderFest
Get your thrill fill with 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 Sun. at Festival Hall A. General admission is $3.75 online & $5 walk-up. Cost for activities varies. All ages. Event details.

Rogers Park

“Lions in Illyria” on Stage
This kid-friendly retelling of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” follows Violet, a lioness, on a whirlwind adventure full of hilarious animals. This little lioness was lost at sea, and is now in the land of Illyria all alone. She disguises herself as a boy and befriends a peacock, who convinces her to go on a quest to impress the most powerful gazelle in town. Held thru Feb. 15 at Lifeline Theatre. $15/ticket. Ages 5 & up. Event details.

Gold Coast

French Family Cooking Class: Kings Cakes
Celebrate the Epiphany by learning to make a traditional dessert: la galette des rois. Your little cooks can discover the yummy simplicity of French cooking and even bring home samples. Held Sat., 2-4 p.m. at Alliance Française de Chicago. $35/one child & one adult; $50/family. Ages 7-10. Event details.


Marionette Cabaret Performance
Join a marionette cast in an interactive, cabaret performance that introduces customs from around the world. Held Sat., 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. at DuPage Children’s Museum. Free with general museum admission ($11/ person). All ages. Event details.

Highland Park

iRead at the Library
Local teachers read books that your kids are sure to love. Plus, everyone will be entertained by the storytelling, juggling and comedy of Chris Fascione. Held Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Highland Park Public Library. Free. All ages. Event details.


Polar Peak at FROZEMONT
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. Held thru Jan. 19. $20/hour for tubing; ice skating is free and skate rentals are $8. All ages. Event details.


Musher Mania Sled Dogs Event
Discover the wonders of the famous Iditarod race when you take the fam to Musher Mania. Go snowshoeing, meet a sled dog, roast marshmallows, pet husky puppies and create special dog sled crafts. Held Sat., noon-4 p.m. at Monee Reservoir. Free. All ages. Event details.

How are you blasting into the New Year? Tell us in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon & Natasha Davis

photo: Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Todd Rosenberg