Archive for the ‘Winter Fun’ Category

Two smart winter ideas near Chicago

 

When Chicago’s winter gets going that’s the time to head to the Morton Arboretum for an indoor miniature train exhibit and an outdoor husky sledding event or to the Chicago Botanic Garden to breath moist air in its greenhouses or enjoy Asian orchids.

Visit Husky Heroes at the Morton Arboretum. Morton Arb photo

Visit Husky Heroes at the Morton Arboretum. Morton Arb photoMorton Arboretum

 

Morton Arboretum

An Enchanted Railroad is zipping around at family-friendly height at the Morton Arboretum now through Feb. 19, 2018. Viewing is ticketed so if at the Arboretum during those days stop at the Visitor Center Desk to get a timed ticket. The event is weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Or go over to the Arboretum Jan. 27-28 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to see Husky Heroes. Siberian dogs will be pulling sleds and posing for pictures. Demos are typically 11:30 a.m., 12:45, 2 and 3:15 p.m.  Also visit Adopt a Husky.

The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle. For other information call (630) 968-0074  and visit Morton Arb.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden

A favorite place for people in the know who can’t fly to warmer climes is the desert or one of the other greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Others dress for the outdoors and exercise by exploring the Botanic Garden’s paths.

However, orchid lovers will likely be heading there beginning Feb. 10 to see 10,000 of those exotic plants in the Asian Orchid Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The show goes through March 25, 2018. For a special treat plan on Orchids After Hours on Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. For tickets and more information visit CBG Orchid. Or go to Chicago Botanic Garden and call (847) 835-5440 (or 6801)

Visit the greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a breath of warm air. Chicago Botanic Garden photo.

Visit the greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden for a breath of warm air. Chicago Botanic Garden photo.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd.,  Glencoe.

Fun Chicago ice rinks open

 

Work off holiday treats by ice skating. Or simply enjoy the outdoors gliding around a rink to a waltz or holiday music.  The City of Chicago, its park district and The Park at Wrigley Field have ice rinks that are fun to skate. All you need to bring are your skates or rent them there.

Skaters at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. City of Chicago photo

Skaters at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. City of Chicago photo

Millennium Park

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Look below the Bean (Cloud Gate) sculpture on the Michigan Avenue level between Washington and Madison Streets to join skaters on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, free of charge. Ice skate rental is $12 Monday-Thursday, $14 Friday-Sunday and holidays.

Open through March 4, 2018, the rink’s regular hours: Mondays–Thursday, noon–8 p.m., Fridays, noon–10 p.m. (ice skating lesson at 11am), Saturdays (Nov. 18–Jan. 6), 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.), Saturdays (Jan. 13–Mar. 3), 10 a.m.–9 p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.) and Sundays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.)

Holiday hours: Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.), Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 26 – Dec. 30, 10 a.m.–10.p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.), New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 10.a.m.–8.p.m. (ice skating lesson at 9 a.m.), New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

Look on north side of Millennium Park at 337 E. Randolph St. to find the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon. It really curves like a ribbon. Admission is free. Skate rental and regular hours are the same as McCormick Ice Rink except Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Holiday Hours: Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Christmas Day, Dec.25, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., New Year’s Eve, Dec.31, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. (During the holiday break, the Skating Ribbon will be open from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, except for above dates).

 

Wrigley Field

The Rink at the Park

Skate in The Park at Wrigley, the public entertainment area that abuts Wrigley Field at 3637 N. Clark St. Opened Nov. 24, the 8,000 sq. foot ice rink will be open daily through Feb. 25, 2018. Entry is $5 ages 13 and older. Skate rental is $10.

If there during the holidays stop at the Christkindle Market that opened this year for the first time in the Park at Wrigley.

 

Chicago Park District

The park district operates several ice rinks. Its outdoor Warren Ice Rink at 6601 N. Western Ave. is already open as is the Maggie daley Skating Ribbon and the McFetridge Ice Rink which is indoors at 3843 N. California Ave.. Other rinks open in December depending on weather conditions.

Click Chicago Parks for locations and hours.

 

Three ways to take advantage of a long weekend

 

All of a sudden the long weekend that includes Presidents’ Day, the third Monday of February when schools and banks are close, is only a few days away.

What would have been a good time to fly south for a short, sunny break is likely going to be too difficult to book now. Airline flights and hotel rooms in places such as south Florida are typically at a premium that weekend, if still available.

However, instead of playing the “should-have” game, think of the weekend as a fun opportunity. The following suggestions work anywhere even though the examples given are for the Chicago area.

The Field has free general admission for Illinois residents Presidents' Day Weekend. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Field has free general admission for Illinois residents Presidents’ Day Weekend. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

Take a “staycation”

Nowadays all hotels have a fitness center so that would no longer be a deciding point on where to take your weekend vacation. Think about what you most want to do. Shop? Visit museums? See art and architecture? Go to the theater? Do it all?

Next, how important is a pool? Few downtown Chicago hotels have pools but some have indoor lap pools. Even fewer have a pool where children can swim all year round.

You can keep the bathing suits in the suitcase you planned for a trip south if spending the weekend at The Intercontinental on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent (Shopping) Mile. It not only has a pool, it is historic and large. The spa and fitness area is now a part of the hotel pool area.

The hotel is nicely placed for a “staycation.” Walk north from the hotel for Michigan Avenue shops. Walk south and cross the Chicago River a few blocks to Millennium Park for ice skating and “Cloud Gate” better known as “The Bean.”  A little further south is the Art Institute of Chicago. You are in a great spot to appreciate downtown art and architecture.

Cross Michigan Avenue from the hotel to take a bus to the Museum Campus’ Field Museum,  Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium at the south end of Grant Park. All of February is free general admission for Illinois residents at the Field.  Presidents’ Day,  Feb. 20, is free admission to the Adler Planetarium and the Chicago History Museum in Lincoln Park.

The city is at you doorstep when you take a “staycation” downtown. Enjoy

 

Binge on Oscar nominated movies

Get a jump start on Oscar night, Feb. 26, 2017 by seeing the nominated movies at your local theater.

For the kids there are the animated features: “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “Moana,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” The Red Turtle” and “Zootopia.”
Best Picture nominees are: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land, ”Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.” Most theaters offer advance tickets. The AMC theaters at Northbrook Court were recently remodeled with really comfortable seats and a bar to get drinks and food.

Or settle in with popcorn or pizza at home as you check Netflix or On Demand for past Oscar winners. Some are oldies. Others are just goodies.

 

Make a penguin and cupcake play date with friends

Lincoln Park Zoo Penguin Cove opens. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo Penguin Cove opens. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo

 

Go to a zoo or aquarium then forget the diet and splurge on cupcakes at places you’ve been meaning to try.

In Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo has a wonderful, new penguin center.  Or watch the penguins in their Polar Play Zone at the Shedd Aquarium.

For a dessert break pick up cupcakes at Sprinkles Cupcakes at 50 E Walton St. west of the Magnificent Mile. Or stop in at the Magnolia Bakery  at 108 N State St at Block 37.

 

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Three winter events within an hour’s drive of Chicago

 

Snap pictures of gorgeous snow sculptures. Relive Groundhog Day. Imagine yourself behind the wheel of a sharp new vehicle. All three possibilities will brighten February  days. So, post the one you love on the calendar.

 

Wisconsin 1 by Milwaukee team of Dave Andrews, Gina Dilbirti and Zach Ruezter won the National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, 2016. Visit Lake Geneva photo

‘Door Master’ by Milwaukee team of Dave Andrews, Gina Dilbirti and Zach Ruezter won the National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, 2016. Visit Lake Geneva photo

Lake Geneva Winterfest

The National Snow Sculpting  competition takes over Lake Geneva’s lake front Feb. 1 through Feb. 5, 2017.

But the town’s Winterfest’s fun events such as a Cocoa Crawl, visiting Baker House’s  Ice Bar, Maxwell Mansion’s tours and activities at the Grand Geneva Resort continue through Feb. 12.

The snow sculptures are amazing. Each of the fifteen, three-member teams from across the U.S. transform tall snow cylinders into beautiful works of art.

The cylinders are typically delivered on Wednesday. By Friday night, the sculptures are gleaming in the moonlight ready to be judged on Saturday morning.

Wintervest visitors vote for a “People’s Champion.” The gold, silver and bronze categories are voted on by the sculptors based on creativity, technique and message.

 

Groundhog Day Festival

Walk the sites where Harold Ramis’ popular “Groundhog Day” film was shot in Woodstock, IL. The town is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the filming there from Feb. 1 through Feb. 5. But it will likely be celebrating again next year to mark the movie’s 25th anniversary of when it was released in 1993.

Co-written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, the film has Pittsburg TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) trying to cover Groundhog Day when he gets stuck in a time warp.

Also starring Andie MacDowell as news producer Rita Hanson and Chris Elliott as cameraman Larry, the movie supposedly takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. However, with the exception of a couple of opening and highway shots to set a sense of place, it really was filmed  in the cute, countryside town of Woodstock. Ramis had been searching for a site within a day’s drive of his Winnetka home.

The film site tour and showings of the movie are free. If you go early enough (7 a.m.) on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, you can see how Woodstock Willie reacts when he comes out of his tree trunk home. Pray for clouds so he doesn’t see his shadow. No shadow would mean an early spring if you believe this animal’s behavior predicts the weather.

Annual CAS draws a crowd at McCormick Place. CAD photo

Annual CAS draws a crowd at McCormick Place. CAD photo

 

Chicago Auto Show

CAS, the annual big introduction to what will officially be out for 2018, features about 1,000 vehicles and draws thousands of visitors.

In town Feb 11-17, it spreads across McCormick Place but with all those vehicles and visitors the best way to avoid the crowd crush  is to go charity preview night.

The show starts off with a dressy charity party, Feb. 10. Its $275 ticket benefits 18 local charities but $222 can be tax deductable as a donation. Expect comp hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, entertainment and celebrities.

Regular tickets are $13 adults, $7 for seniors 62 and older and $7 children ages 7-12. Discounted ticket day is Feb. 15 when women pay $7.

 

 

 

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