It’s not over until it’s over…the end of Chicago’s after Christmas events has been greatly exaggerated. Yes, Christkrindlmarket has closed and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a distant memory but the lights are still shinning bright throughout the town and the stores and windows are still dressed in their holiday best.
If you were too busy before Christmas to participate in all the holiday happenings, this quieter time of year may be just perfect with some holiday happenings continuing into the New Year.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
This magnificent light show is more awesome then ever this year with the sparkling bright white snow as a backdrop. ZooLights displays throughout the zoo plus special activities continue nightly through January 5. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free.
Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry
Experience Christmas Around the World without leaving Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry. The event that began with one tree in 1942 has ballooned into 50 trees representing various cultures and holiday traditions from across the globe plus a huge 45-foot tall Grand Tree with more than 30,000 twinkling lights and 1,000 ornaments adorning it. Christmas Around the World continues through January 5, 2014 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Free with museum admission.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
Families can experience a real “winter wonderland” at Navy Pier’s annual Winter WonderFest event. Ice skate indoors, take the Arctic Plunge, ride the indoor Ferris wheel, ride the Reindeer Express train, enjoy live entertainment and more at the Pier’s festive Winter WonderFest continuing through January 12, 2014. Free admission but tickets required for rides and ice skating.
Holly Days at the Art Institute of Chicago
Celebrate the holidays at Holly Days with art making, gallery activities, and more at the Art Institute. Create a posable figure inspired by their new Neapolitan crèche. Stop by the Little Studio (ages 3–5); take a guided family gallery walk (ages 6–12) and meet the Art Institute’s mascot, Artie the Lion. Holly Days continues daily December 27 through December 30. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free with museum admission.
The Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Gardens
All aboard the Wonderland Express at Chicago’s Botanic Gardens. One of Chicago’s most popular exhibitions is this indoor holiday display featuring 10 garden-scaled trains winding their way through waterfalls and detailed landscapes, including famous Chicago landmarks complete with indoor snowflakes falling at 10 minute intervals. Before or after visiting the Wonderland Express, check out the surrounding greenhouses that are decked out for the holidays with sparkling lights and beautiful plants including poinsettias and wreaths. Hiking or walking outdoors in the garden through the beautiful outdoor light displays is also available to those who are so inclined. Wonderland Express continues 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. now through January 5. Tickets required.
A Holiday Fantasea at the Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium’s festive aquatic show, A Holiday Fantasea, is a crowd favorite for all ages. See dolphins leap, hear beluga whales sing and watch a sea lion dance all in the beautiful surroundings of the Shedd Aquarium. Tickets required. Through December 31.
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