Winter WonderFest arrives every December at Navy Pier. Although, we have only gone for the past three years, I fancy myself somewhat an expert on a hassle free visit.
1. Arrive Early. The Exhibition Hall opens its garage door at 10:00 a.m. I suggest arriving around 9:45 to buy your tickets so you are ready to be the first in the space when the doors open and the big reveal happens. I may have become teary eyed the first year as the snowy wonderland appeared. The first hour before the lines become long is the best time to hit the hot spots.
2. Park in the East Lot. You may be directed to park in the lot closer to the front of the pier, but the lot near the lake will decrease your walk to the festival. It may not seem like a big deal when you arrive with energy, but when you leave with exhausted sugar buzzed children you will be happy you don’t have to carry them a mile to the car.
3. Leave Jackets in the Car. You won’t be cold and you won’t regret this decision. You will be juggling your camera, kid’s hands, shoes and snack; no need to lug those heavy winter coats too.
4. Buy the Family Four Pack. There are different discount and coupon offers available online. If you go during peak time, as I did, it seems the best deal is the Family Four Pack as it allows everyone to have a wristband (if you are a family of four) and free parking, which is a big saving as parking down there is pretty pricey. There is a slight savings if you purchase ahead of time online.
5. Divide and Conquer. Bring as many adults as possible. If your mother, brother, friend or cousin show interest in joining you, encourage them to come along. Even offer to pick them up and buy them lunch. My kids are still at the age where they need an adult to accompany them on most rides. My boy and I headed to the ropes course, while my sister and daughter navigated the bounce houses. If there is an extra adult, they can be the picture taker.
Winter WonderFest has become an anticipated Winter Break tradition. Have you gone to Winter WonderFest? Have you discovered any tips for having a pleasant experience? Please share as I will use them next year.