Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln Park Zoo’

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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Music, discussions and other activities celebrate King

 

Most schools will be closed Jan. 16. Government offices and banks will also be closed because the third Monday in January is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the great civil rights leader born Jan. 15, 1929 and assassinated April 4, 1968.

A Baptist minister, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where he gave his famed “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1964 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, King also worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to change segregated housing in Chicago in 1966.

Martin Luther King Jr monument in Washington D.C. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Martin Luther King Jr monument in Washington D.C. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Chicagoans may wonder what he would say now, half a century later, if he saw the violence that plagues some of the city’s neighborhoods.

The question might be discussed at some of the events this weekend, or Monday and during the week when several organizations celebrate his birth.

Here are some of the places to go for those celebrations.

 

Chicago History Museum

Lyric Unlimited, an outreach arm of the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Chicago History Museum, is doing Chicago Voices TALK beginning at 5 p.m. Jan. 15 at the History Museum. The program includes panel discussions and gospel music.

While at the museum see civil rights artifacts. Check details at Chicago Voices TALK.

The History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. Public admission $10, CHM members $5.

 

Brookfield Zoo

Zoo general admission is free Jan. 16.  But also go to the Discovery Center for a noon musical celebration by the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project and the  Shift’s  Englewood Youth Orchestra. For information visit Brookfield Zoo.

The North Gate entrance is at 1st Avenue and  31st Street, Brookfield. The South Gate is at 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield.

 

Lincoln Park Zoo

The zoo holds day camps during school holidays. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, preK through fourth grade camps are Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The theme is “All About Birds,” but camp groups will explore the zoo and have activities regarding animal diversity, conservation and how the zoo cares for animals. The youngsters will also learn interesting animal tidbits such as why hummingbirds build nests using spider webs.

Camp headquarters is the Judy Keller Education Center. Cost is $68 a camper ($58 zoo members). Visit zoo camp for more information.

 

Black Ensemble Theater

The theater hosts programs by the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, 7 p.m., Jan. 19. There is also a pre-show reception 6 p.m. in the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural center

Go to see Sketch N’ Tyme, The Robbert Reddrick Trio, Alexis Rogers, Yahdina Udeen, Dawn Bless, Red Clay Dance and RIZE Youth Dance Company.  The program is sponsored in part by the Driehaus Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council. Tickets are $12.

The Black Ensemble Theater is at 4450 N. Clark St., Chicago. Visit AAAAChicago for more information.

 

See more Martin Luther King Jr. Day options.

 

Where to ice skate around Chicago

 

Maybe now that Chicago’s Ice-Age weekend has come and hopefully, gone, we can lace up the skates and twirl to joyful music. Tip: closing dates are important so put them on your calendar. The first skating spot listed is indoors because it is part of a winter fest that leaves after the first full weekend in January. The second is outdoors but its regular hours change to extended holiday times late December except for special days and events.

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

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

 

Navy Pier

If you want to skate at the Chicago Blackhawks Indoor Ice Rink among the rides and slides of the Pier’s Winter WonderFest, go by Sunday, Jan, 8, 2017. It all starts to disappear that Monday. Navy Pier is the nearly mile-long entertainment arm sticking out into Lake Michigan from 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

Check out cost and hours at Navy Pier Wonderfest or call (800) 595-Pier (7437).

 

MB Financial Park

You have likely passed Rosemont’s mega entertainment complex along the I 294 at I90 near O’Hare International Airport. There is a lot to do there including eating, seeing movies and flying (really) indoors. However, when winter comes there is also Frozemont, an outdoor Chicago Wolves Ice Rink for hockey and free skating. Skate rental is available. Tickets are sold at the rink’s box office. For the address think Monopoly game. It’s 5501 Park Place, Rosemont, IL 60018. Regular hours go through Dec. 23 but open skating has extended hours Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, Martin Luther King’s Day and Presidents Day.

Visit MB Financial Park for hours and other information and call (847) 349-5008.

Skate with the Greats (at MB Financial Park)

As those TV ads say, “wait, there’s more” re ice skating at the MB Financial Park. If anyone in the family follows the Blackhawks, consider getting a ticket to the annual Skate with the Greats, 1 to 5 p.m., Jan. 14, 2017. Sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association, event proceeds to benefit Chicago area Ronald McDonald House charities. Learn more at skate event.

 

Lincoln Park Zoo

Families will appreciate the casual, no-pressure-to-show-off skating rink near the red barn at the Farm-in-the-Zoo in Lincoln Park. Admission and skate rental are each $5. Go now to also see ZooLights which continues through Jan. 1, 2017. Come back to skate some more through Feb. 26. You might not want to leave before visiting the new snow monkeys in the MacaQue Forest, the penguins in their new compound or Siku, a new polar bear in the Walter Family Arctic Tundra.  The zoo’s parking lot is at 2400 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614 and is on the CTA’s 151 and 156 bus routes.

For hours and other information visit Lincoln Park Zoo.

 

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

A fun place to skate is below Cloud Gate (The Bean) at the McCormick Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Take photos (can you skate while doing a selfie?) of the city’s skyline and warm up with hot chocolate from the Park Grill. Don’t worry about not skating at Olympic level. Free skating lessons are offered Friday through Sunday by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events during their Winter Workouts an hour before the rink has opend. Other lessons are available other times and dates Dec. 24, 2016  through Jan. 8, 2017. The rink is open weekdays at noon and weekends at 10 a.m. through March 5, 2017. It’s located in one of those “you can’t miss it’ places because it borders the west side of Millennium Park along Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets. Its formal address is 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601. Skating is free. Rentals are $12.

For full skating and lesson hours visit DCA.

Maggie Daley Ribbon Ice Rink  A Maggie Daley Park photo

Maggie Daley Ribbon Ice Rink A Maggie Daley Park photo

 

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon

Swirling and curving on the north-east side of Millinneium Park in Chicago Park District’s Maggie Daley Park, is the unusually shaped Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon. Open now through the first week of March, the Ribbon winds through a somewhat rolling, changing “parkscape” that  is a fun place to go. Skating is free. Rentals are $12 weekdays and $14 Friday through Sunday and holidays. The park is at 337 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601.

For hours and events visit Skating Ribbon

 

Other Chicago Park District Rinks

The city has seven other outdoor ice rinks aside from the Maggie Daley Ribbon.  They will stay open through Feb. 20, 2017. To find the location nearest you or one you would like to visit and to see hours and special programs visit CPD.

 

Peninsula Chicago Sky Rink
You can skate with a city view above Michigan Avenue if eating, using the Spa or staying at the Peninsula Chicago. The upscale hotel has added an ice rink to its Terrace in a romantic setting of pine trees and snowflake lighting. Snack or warm up with hot cider, hot chocolate and other treats. The rink is open through March 1, 2017. Donations of $15 adults and $10 children age 12 and under go to children’s charities.

For other information and rink availability visit Sky Rink and call  (312) 337-2888.

 

Fall Family Fun

It’s nice to know what Chicago area events would appeal to different age youngsters. So here are four family events to put on the calendar.

Penguins and Fall Fests

Lincoln Park Zoo Penguin Cove to open. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo Penguin Cove to open. Photo by Lincoln Park Zoo

 Lincoln Park Zoo members get a peek of the new Penguin Cove the mornings of Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The penguins are cute to watch but there will also be expert chats and children’s crafts. Hours are Friday 9 to 11 a.m. and Saturday 8 to 10 a.m. Penguin Cove opens to the public beginning daily on Oct. 6. For other information visit  Penguins.

Every weekend from Sept. 30 through Oct. 30 is Fall Fest at the zoo. Think corn maze, crafts, games, pumpkin carving and music. Pumpkins can be bought from the Pumpkin Patch near the Wild things Gift Shop. The fest is free but some attractions require tickets. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614. For other information visit fall fest.

 

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