Chicago Holiday Season 2011-12: Ten Great Holiday Ideas That Kids Will Love.

Chicago Holiday Season 2011-12: Ten Great Holiday Ideas That Kids Will Love.
Children exploring the great outdoors at the Chicago Botanic Garden Winter Camp.

With Winter Break just around the corner, here are 10 quick ideas for family fun that the kids and their grown-ups are sure to enjoy throughout this holiday season.

1. Macy's Walnut Room.  Check out the holiday windows along State St. then take the elevator or escalator up to the 7th floor of Macy's flagship Chicago store (formerly Marshall Fields) for a meal under their giant tree--a Chicago tradition for generations. State St. between Randolph and Washington.

2.  CTA Holiday EL Train.  All aboard, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Holiday Train 2011 dressed in festive holiday attire.  Enjoy the ride see Santa and his elves as they walk through the train cars passing out candy canes.

3.  Winter Camp at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Children at Camp CBG will investigate weather, explore seasonal adaptations of plants and animals, visit the Wonderland Express holiday exhibition and more. For more information and to register go to Chicago Botanic Garden Winter Camp.

4. Santa Claus Cruise on the Spirit of Chicago.   The Santa Lunch Cruise offers an afternoon of entertainment including an extensive lunch buffet, DJ entertainment plus a special appearance from Santa. Boarding, 12:30p.m. Saturday, December 10.  Reservations and information at the Spirit of Chicago.

5. Santa Buffets at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. The Drury Lane will be hosting three Santa Buffets--one each day on December 21, 22 and 23.  The buffets include tickets to the The Sound of Music playing at the theater through January 8, 2012.  The Buffet/Show price for children is $40 and the Buffet/Show price for adults ranges from $60-$65. Reservations required: 630 530 8300.

6. Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier. Navy Pier’s winter festival  includes a castle, ice skating, holiday entertainment and much more through January 3, 2012.

7.  A Show Kids Will Love. Goodnight Moon The Musical is fun for all ages but is probably one of the most kid-friendly shows around for very young children from ages 2 and up.  Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets to Goodnight Moon The Musical are $26 children; $36 adults. Purchase tickets online or via the Victory Gardens box office, 773.871.3000. Now through Dec. 23, 2011.

8. Lincoln Park Zoo ZooLights.  Get the family outdoors and enjoy the spectacular Lincoln Park Zoo's annual holiday ZooLights. The zoo has decorated the grounds and trees with mult-colored lights and animal figures. The lights are awesome but there is much more including: Santa's Safari, giant snowglobes with holiday characters, crafts, ice carving demonstrations, a holiday express train for tots and of course, the animals. Admission free.

9. Catch Santa at the John Hancock Center's Winter Wonderland. Santa will be flying in every weekend from 12-4pm. now through Christmas.  Winter Wonderland is open daily with a flurry of fun activities and events including Santa's sleigh.  For every full fare adult ticket, you get one free youth admission FREE to plus a FREE family photo and FREE child tickets to The Field Museum.  875 N. Michigan Avenue.

10. Ring in the New at Go Roma's Family New Year's Eve Celebration. Can't find a babysitter for New Year's Eve--not to fear--bring the kids to the New Year's Coundown from 6:30p.m. to 8:00p.m. on December 31 at all six Go Roma Chicagoland locations.  The Countdown includes an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet and a wine (or cider) toast plus a goodie bag for the kids with hats, noisemaker, and a gift certificate.

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