Archive for the ‘Holiday ideas’ Category

Three Chicago weekend family ideas

If still looking for something to do in the Chicago area this weekend here are some suggestions, beginning Friday.

Visit Brookfield Zoo where some animals enjoy the snow. Photo by Jim Schultz

Visit Brookfield Zoo where some animals enjoy the snow. Photo by Jim Schultz

 

Brookfield Zoo

Walk among more than a million twinkling lights, listen to a tall talking tree, watch ice carvers, ooh doing the Polar Light Show and ah during the magic show and sing to reindeer in Wild Encounters or bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at what is formally called the Chicago Zoological Society or what most Chicago folks call Brookfield Zoo.

The zoo is celebrating Holiday Magic this weekend, Dec. 17-18 from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. but the lights, shows and other fun stuff don’t really begin until 4 p.m. The zoo is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513. For ticket and other information visit BZoo.

 

CTA Holiday and Elves Workshop Trains and the Holiday Bus

You can tell when the holiday trains are pulling into an L station because of all their colored lights. Oh, yes, you’ll also see Santa in his sleigh on a flatcar with his reindeer and holiday trees. The Elves Workshop train should be following shortly for those who didn’t make the Holiday Train. Inside, the trains are decorated for the holidays and equipped with candy canes to hand out.

On Dec. 17 The CTA Holiday Train will operate on the Red Line between 12:15 and 9 p.m. (two trips either direction, and the Purple Line from about 4:15 and 6 :16 p.m. Visit Holiday Train schedule.

The Holiday Bus will be traveling the No. 62 Archer route Dec. 16 going south from Kinzie and State at 1:15 p.m. and Dec. 17 going north at 12:25 p.m. from the Midway Orange Line to Kinzie and State See CTA holiday bus. You know it’s the holiday bus because “Ralphie the Reindeer” leads the way with his glowing, ruby-red nose.  Once inside, you see Santa and art from Wacker Elementary and Santa. Find more information at Holiday Bus.

 

Juicebox Series Human Tim+Robot Tim

Bring your toddler to the Chicago Cultural Center Dec. 16 or the Garfield Park Conservatory Dec. 17 to watch Human tim and his robot friend make music. Both places are 11 to 11:45 a.m. The Cultural center is at 78 E. Washington St. downtown and the Conservatory is on the west side of Chicago at 300 N. Central Avenue. Both places are reached by CTA trains.. Visit Juicebox .

 

 

 

The Angel Museum, a perfect holiday outing

When the bustle of holiday preparations start to weigh on brain and shoulders, seek smiles and joyous countenances from angels. More than 12,000 of them are lifting visitors’ spirits at a small museum just over the Illinois border in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Joyce Berg gives a tour of The Angel Museum in Beloit, WI

Joyce Berg gives a tour of The Angel Museum in Beloit, WI. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

They are porcelain, ceramic, glass, metal and wood and nearly 100 other materials. They range from about 1/8 of an inch to life-sized and from candle holders, vases and chubby, cuddly, doll-type cherubs to artistic figures, ink wells, pins and a WWI medal. And they were crafted by artists in more than 60 countries.

Their home is the former Catholic Church of St. Paul building slated for demolition until Beloit residents, the city and angel collectors Joyce and Lowell Berg stepped in. Or as Joyce says, “Angels saved the church.”

Opened in May 1998, the museum’s collection dates back to the Berg’s falling in love with the Italian bisque figures of two angels on a seesaw during a 1976 Florida vacation.

“We stopped at an antique store. We weren’t looking for angels. But that Christmas when we got out our decorations we realized we had other angels. The next year on a trip we bought more angels. It became a passion,” said Berg during a recent museum tour (Lowell has since died but is remembered with a special angel exhibit in one of the cases).

Collecting, however, comes with a couple of problems. The collection grew too large for the Berg home. In addition, people who heard about the angels wanted to stop in to see them. The church building was a perfect solution to both issues.

The museum is in a former church. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The museum is in a former church. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Since then, the collection has grown to more than 14,000, a number that is too large to show at one time. “So, I rotate them,” Berg said.

What is amazing is that she has only one duplicate angel. “It’s mind boggling how artists have come up with so many different angels. Their little faces just make you feel good,” she said.

The museum also contains Oprah Winfrey’s collection of 600 black angels. A passing comment on Winfrey’s show about not seeing black angels resulted in hundreds of black angels sent to the celebrity.

When Winfrey said how much she loved them but didn’t have room for them all, she was told about the museum in Beloit. It now houses her donated collection.

As to most of her angels residing in a museum instead of her home, on the museum website, Berg said, “I want to see a place where goodness prevails and I can share my angels with the masses.”

Black angels in the Oprah collection. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Black angels in the Oprah collection. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The museum also sells angel artifacts in its Heavenly Treasures Gift Shoppe. Hours Thursday-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.The museum will be closed Dec. 22 to March except for special events or tours.

The Angel Museum is at 656 Pleasant St. at Hwy 51, Beloit, WI 53511. It is about a 1 hour, 30 minute drive from Chicago. For other information visit Angel Museum and call (608) 362-9099 or (877)-412-6435.

 

In Chicago: Four sparkling New Year’s Eve events

Plan now for what you want to do New Year’s Eve. If in or visiting Chicago there are fun runs and cruises, count-downs and parties and delightful cultural programs. Most events require tickets.

 

1.Celebrate the changing of the year the Viennese Neujahrskonzert way. Performances take place in 24 North American cities near New Year’s Day. In Chicago, the “Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert” will be at Symphony Center 2:30 p.m., Dec. 31, 2016.

Dancers from the Kiev Aniko Ballet in Symphony center New Year's concert.

Dancers from the Kiev Aniko Ballet in Symphony center New Year’s concert.

The program is all about wonderful Strauss waltzes and music from the Merry Widow, and Die Fledermaus by the Strauss symphony of Canada and the Chicago Philharmonic. Dancers are from Ukraine’s Kiev-Aniko ballet and the International Champion Ballroom. Singers are soprano Lilla Galambos and baritone Thomas Weinhappel from Vienna.

For tickets visit CSO or call (312) 294.3000. For other information visit Salute Vienna or call (416) 323.1403.

 

2. Celebrate with a Chi-Town Rising event.

The day starts with the Chi-Town Rise & Shine 5K race and Fun Run, check in begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. race beginning at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago. The run also goes through Maggie Daley Park, Grant Park and by the lakefront. The event is a Special Olympics fundraiser. Handouts include pompom hats, gloves and hot chocolate. Click here to register and see details.

It continues with the Family Count-Down from 3 to 6 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square.  New Year celebrations start at different times around the world so parts of the event are activity stations showing New Year’s customs in different countries.  The event is free. The Kids Countdown Spectacular is 6 p.m.

Chi-Town Rising New Year’s Eve Celebration is 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tickets are free but are required to enter the two viewing areas between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive. There will be food and beverage concessions and views of the midnight fireworks. The North Viewing Area, north of the river, will be the site of NBC 5’s broadcast. South Viewing Area on Upper Wacker Drive will have the main performance stage.

Visit Chi-Town Rising details. For tips on clothing and other viewing areas visit FAQ.

 

3. Navy Pier is headquarters for two New Year’s Eve Parties.

Navy Pier New Year's Eve fireworks start at midnight. Navy Pier photo

Navy Pier New Year’s Eve fireworks start at midnight. Navy Pier photo

The 5th Annual Chicago Resolution Gala celebrates with several drink bars and buffet stations and dancing in the Pier’s Grand Ballroom. There is also a good fire works viewing spot. For tickets and details visit Resolution Gala. Visit tickets and details.

There is also a party in the Crystal Garden, the Pier’s six-story glass botanic atrium. There will be several bars and champagne for a toast. For tickets and more details visit Crystal Gardens.

 

4. New Year’s Eve Cruises go from Navy Pier. Watch the fireworks after partying aboard the Mystic Blue, the Spirit of Chicago or the Odyssey. Each cruise ship hosts a New Year’s Eve Party. Times and prices vary so see which one fits your budget. Visit Mystic Blue Cruises, Odyssey and Spirit of Chicago.

Have a happy, safe New Year’s Eve!

 

Fun holiday sights offer an unusual shopping bonus

The big Thanksgiving weekend shopping spree is now history but there are still gifts to get and some fun outings still on the to-do list. Combine them!

The Field Museum has an awesome gift shop. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

The Field Museum has an awesome gift shop. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

For one-of-a-kind gifts, there are hardly any better places to look than in museum shops.

 

At the Art Institute of Chicago, the stunning ‘Moholy-Nagy: Future Present’ exhibit fills Regenstein Hall. A retrospective with more than 300 works of László Moholy-Nagy who influenced everything from advertising and manufacturing to art movements and design, the exhibit is reason enough to plan an outing before it leaves Jan. 3, 2017.

Tip: The museum’s huge gift shop in the main building and the selective gift shop in the Modern Wing are definitely places to find special items you likely won’t see elsewhere. Plus, you will benefit the Art Institute.

 

Dec. 3 and 4, 2016 are free admission days at The Field Museum and The Field’s regular exhibits are fascinating any time. But China’s Terracotta Warriors are there only through Jan. 8, 2017 so go before they head home.

Tip: The Field has an amazing gift shop of items from all over the world. It would be hard not to leave there with a gift (including something for oneself).

 

Christkindlekarket Chicago downtown on Daley Plaza, is designed to emulate Nuremberg’s holiday market, begun in the 16th century. The market opened in Chicago as a trade event in the 1990s. This is a place to visit for fun and food.

Tip: The vendors sell items not easily found in the United States such as Bavarian glass and pewter. It has expanded to include items from other countries such as Ireland and Poland so have fun browsing.  BTW, Naperville also now has a Christkindlemarket.

Long Grove Confectionery Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Long Grove Confectionery
Photo by Jodie Jacobs

 

Historic Long Grove, a north suburban village that dates from the mid 1800s, dresses up Dickens fashion for the holidays. Go for a carriage ride and to hear carolers or take a selfie by the covered bridge.

Tip: Pick up treats at the town’s famed Long Grove Confectionery, gifts at the Olive Tap and check out other boutiques for specialty items.

 

Be of good cheer, holiday fun is here.

 

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