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Alton Museum of History and Art
Winged monsters, explorers, riverboats and a gentle giant. The Alton Museum of History & Art shows the crossroads of American history in Alton. The museum is located in the historic Loomis Hall across from the Wadlow statue. Loomis Hall is the oldest building in the state of Illinois continuously utilized for education. One of the most popular rooms, the Wadlow Room, pays tribute to Alton's "Gentle Giant" and the World's Tallest Man. The Pioneer Room explores the history of Alton from the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Civil War with exhibits on Elijah Lovejoy, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the "Alton Route" on the Underground Railroad. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Alton-Audubon Eagle Festival
Join us for the kick-off of the eagle watching season. Activities include: live eagle meet & greet, preview of events at the Eagle Watching Hot Spots, kid's activities, crafts and eagle viewing walks. Learn about eagle watching - how to spot eagles, where to look and what brings the eagles here each winter. Then, head across the river to Downtown Alton for ice sculpting on the streets.
Antioch's Gingerbread Walk & Scavenger Hunt
Bring the family and friends to Downtown Antioch to hunt for Gingerbread! Find delightful Gingerbread Sculptures of Houses and other unique creations. Fill out a contest entry form and track down the different Gingerbread Clues throughout Downtown. Turn in the completed entry form for a chance to win exciting prizes and vote for the best one. Enjoy strolling musicians and carolers on Saturdays while finishing all the holiday shopping.
The Second City Holidays in the Heights
The holidays are a time for giving and joy. Of family parties, too much egg nog, marathon shopping trips, and itchy sweaters with jingle bells on them. Everyone loves the holidays, especially the Second City. Don't miss this hilarious send up of the holiday season featuring a phenomenal cast from Second City and their trademark comedy and improve.
CITY: Arlington Heights
The 30-acre park was designed in a way that would serve many purposes. From the canoe/kayak launch and natural landscaping to the VIP Rooftop Deck and 10-acre music venue, this is the new recreation and entertainment destination of the suburbs. Bring your kids and fly a kite. Enjoy a local band in the music pavilion with friends. Spread out a blanket and watch fireworks with the family on the 4th of July. RiverEdge Park is your backyard away from home.
Go on a one of a kind country adventure you'll never forget! Become pioneers for a day on a real 1800s farm and village. Miniature train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, pioneer craft demonstrations, and special events. In the Discovery Barn see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more.
Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park
Illinois' only indoor/outdoor aquatic park features seven water slides, a lazy river, two zero-depth entry pools, a spray play area, diving well, sand playground and two concession stands.
Symphony in Lights
The Promenade Bolingbrook and the Village of Bolingbrook join together to provide spectacular Holiday family fun with the Symphony in Lights Holiday Light Show beginning at dusk and runs every hour on the hour until 9 p.m., Nov 15 - Dec 31. Take more than 250,000 computer-controlled, brightly colored, energy efficient lights, choreograph them to the thunderous sounds of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, add flickering, multi-directional, strobe-like bursts of light, and the result is Symphony in Lights, the largest, most energetic, innovative, public holiday light show in the country that twinkles and shimmers as it illuminates the million-square-foot Promenade Bolingbrook. The show is designed to fit its environment. Spectators will experience 40 life-sized snowflakes dance around a massive 48-foot tall tree in the center's Village Green gathering area. LED lights at the Center run the entire show on the amount of energy needed to power only one average-sized home.
Haigh's Scuba Diving Quarry
Scuba dive in a 12-acre, spring-fed quarry and see several varieties of fish, along with underwater attractions that include a 33-foot cabin cruiser, a marine dump truck and an amphibious vehicle. Rental equipment, air-fills and dive instruction are available.
Zoo Year's Eve
Rock in the "Zoo Year 2015" with your friends at Brookfield Zoo! In the Holly Jolly Theater there will be live DJ music, games, party favors, prizes and an early countdown at 8pm. Also at the Hamill Family Play Zoo you can make your own noisemaker and enjoy an early kid-friendly countdown. This area is perfect for families with children ages 6 and under. This event is free with paid zoo admission.
Breakfast with Santa
Enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the Brookfield Zoo's Discover Center with a special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus along with some special zoo costumed characters. Photo opportunities will be available with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Musical entertainment will make for an uplifting fun time for your entire family to enjoy. Reservations are required. Dates include December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
See the Lights. Feel the Magic. Continue the Tradition. Chicagoland's largest lights festival surrounds you in the cheer of over 1,000,000 twinkling LED lights, ice carvings, light shows, Santa and Mrs. Claus. You're sure to feel the magic of the holidays! Enjoy a full schedule of nightly music and live entertainment inside the pavilions. Also on the schedule, an amazing magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad display, and the 38 foot Talking Tree. Holiday Magic is on Saturdays and Sundays, December 6-7, 13-14-, 20-21 and Friday to Wednesday, December 26-31. Regular parking and admission fees apply. Free with zoo membership.
Byron Museum Of History & Lucius Read House
The Byron Museum Complex consists of a large Exhibit Hall and the historic Lucius Read House, which was on the Underground Railroad and is a listed site on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Read House features a permanent exhibit entitled, ‘From Shackles to Freedom: The Underground Railroad’ which shines a spotlight on Byron’s participation in the Underground Railroad. We are happy to accommodate group tours outside regular hours. Tours are free and are self-guided or a docent can be arranged. We also have ample meeting space available.
Holiday House at Magnolia Manor
The 14 room historic mansion is decorated for the Holidays, with many of the decorations for sale. Holiday luncheons can be scheduled with reservations. Luncheons include a served meal and a house tour. Regular tours are offered from 1 to 4pm daily.
The African American Museum of Southern Illinois
Permanent exhibits here include African art collections and slave artifacts. Rotating displays have included Underground Railroad message quilts and local artwork. The museum's changing exhibits seek to portray the outstanding achievements of African American citizens.
Strap a mask and flippers onto your imagination and chart a course to Shedd Aquarium. Have you ever seen eye-to-eye with a dolphin? Said hello to a penguin on a stroll to the South Pole? Immersed yourself in a flooded Amazon forest? Or met a friendly beluga whale? You can do it all at Shedd! Photo courtesy of the John G. Shedd Aquarium
Chicago White Sox
The famed White Sox plays on the South side of Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. Come for the hits, the fireworks and the fun.
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
There's even more color, fragrance and roll-up-your-sleeves, good ideas at the next Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano's, March 14-22, 2015 at Chicago’s Navy Pier, the No. 1 tourist destination in Illinois. More than 20 feature gardens from top designers bring visitors the first joys of spring and exciting ways to "Do Green. Do Good." The Marketplace's 100 exhibitors is a shopper's paradise; the Kids Activity Garden is so much fun, kids don't realize how much they're learning about greening our world. Garden Gourmet features top chefs with cooking demos. Experts present seminars on the best tricks and tips of gardening; Tablescapes show the most gorgeous, dreamy decor for indoor or outdoor dining, and the "Art of Floral,” features interpretive floral designs. For more information and tickets, including group tour rates, visit www.chicagoflower.com/
Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature
The largest African American history and literature collection in the Midwest, the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature contains a wealth of precious documentation of the black experience. The collection places a strong focus on African American history in Illinois.
Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation (FMR. Chess Records Studio)
2120 S. Michigan Ave. is one of the most famous addresses in all of American pop history. Former home of the legendary Chess Records label from 1957 to 1967, 2120 housed the studio and recording company that begat legendary recordings by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and dozens of others.
In the heart of the city you’ll find a state-of-the-art park designed for the new millennium. Discover the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, the multimedia Crown Fountain and the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, all with Chicago’s stunning architecture as a backdrop. The park is also host to many free cultural programs, concerts and family activities. Plus, there's alfresco dining in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter.
Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier
Hands-on exhibits and daily-changing activities make every visit unique for young children and adults, too. Dig deep into the Dinosaur Expedition, try to stay dry in WaterWays, make a masterpiece in the KraftArtabounds Studio, and climb up to the crow's nest on the Kovler Family Climbing Schooner. Toddlers can have fun in Kids Town and Treehouse Trails.
DuSable Museum of African American History
The DuSable Museum of African American History is located on University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus. Experience a unique cultural environment as you travel through African American history. DuSable Museum shares African American history through a variety of impactful traveling and insightful permanent exhibits, educational programs and special seasonal celebrations. Visit, learn, and enjoy! Ongoing: Red, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services; A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story.