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Wonderland Express is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience. Bring the smartphones and video cameras, as our holiday exhibition delights children and parents, friends and families. Kids, look for Thomas the Tank Engine! New this year: A focus on landmark history, plus the Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon, Glencoe's Writers' Theater, Chicago "El" trains, and both Spike and Alice the Amorphophallus join Wonderland Express! Join Landmark Illinois' Bonnie McDonald for narrated tours of the history and architecture of Chicago's landmarks. Kids' tours, too!
Winterfest in Downtown Oak Park
Collect sweet treats at this signature holiday cookie walk on December 5th (11 a.m.-3 p.m.). Take photos with Saint Nicholas and enjoy a variety of family friendly entertainment acts.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
The 15th annual festival is Chicago's coolest, biggest and best indoor playground. There is an ice skating rink, Ferris wheel, carousel and huge inflatable slides spread across 170,000 square feet — and the decor is just as spectacular. Massive snowflakes and thousands of icicle lights dangle from the ceiling, over 400 evergreens in all their trimmings add more holiday glitz, and giant candy canes, gingerbread houses and snowmen border the rides.
Winter Ice Solstice at the Effingham Performance Center
This year's Winter Ice Solstice will have you frozen to your chair with excitement while watching professional ice skaters glide across the EPC stage in a performance like none other! Take a peek into the winter wonderland and get your snow gear ready for a Solstice for audiences of all ages. So get your tickets now and don't miss the show at 7:30 p.m.
Winter Horseback Riding
With all the foliage gone from the trees, winter offers some great views of bluffs and rock formations in the Shawnee National Forest area. Enjoy the beautiful countryside, with no bugs in the cooler weather. Due to milder winters, several Southern Illinois stables offer year round riding, with or without guide service.
Winter Chocolate Walk
Bring your sweet heart or just your sweet tooth to Discover Sycamore’s Winter Chocolate Walk. Enjoy the best of our downtown shops while sampling a vast array of fine chocolate desserts. Enjoy hot chocolate, chocolate covered candy canes, chocolate martinis, homemade chocolate marshmallows, chocolate donuts, chocolate dipped mini cones and much more! Shopping doesn’t get much sweeter than this! The Chocolate Walk will begin at Blumen Gardens at 5pm. You will receive a Chocolate Walk guide listing all participating businesses. Stop at each location and get your card signed when you taste a chocolaty treat. Be sure to make as many stops on the walk as you can – when your card is full – drop your card off with your name and phone number into the bag at your final location. The winner will be drawn from the names of those entered that made the most stops on the walk. We are featuring several wonderful raffle baskets this year.
Wildlife Prairie Park
A unique, 2,000-acre zoological park which is home to wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter, and others. You will enjoy the park's spectacular natural settings, butterfly garden, wildflowers, lakes and restored prairies.
Warrenville Holly Days
Holly Days, sponsored by the Warrenville Park District is the City's annual holiday celebration that marks Santa's official entry into Warrenville. Guests can enjoy a warm bonfire, raffles, free horse and carriage rides, hot cider and cookies, and, of course, a visit with Santa. Local Park District and school dance troops, singers, and bands entertain attendees during the event. It is at this event that Warrenville officially turns on its holiday lights creating an array of colors for passersby along Route 56 to see. Holly Days, primarily for Warrenville residents, gives the community an opportunity to come together and kick off the holiday season.
Walnut Point State Park
State park with hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. Concession stand and boat rental available.
Volo Bog's WinterFest
Looking for a great combination of indoor and outdoor fun in mid January? WinterFest is a long-standing event at Volo Bog featuring live music and storytelling, photo contest awards, and winter-theme and other crafts indoors, while outdoors winter bog hikes, and snow permitting - snow sculpting contests and cross-country skiing, may be enjoyed throughout the afternoon. There will also be cookies, hot cocoa & coffee for sale by the Friends of Volo Bog. Visit the website for a complete agenda. Donations accepted.
Villa Olivia Country Club Ski Area
Villa Olivia is a public facility. Slope ticket required to access ski and snowboard activities including 7 runs, quad chair lift and 6 rope tows. Villa Olivia has skiwee for kids 4-9 years old, snow tubing, ski, dining, golf, lessons, snowboarding, sleigh rides.
Vaughn Athletic Center and Indoor Water Park
The Vaughan Athletic Center is dedicated to fitness excellence with quality equipment and programs designed to offer members the best value for their fitness dollar. The newest facility in the Fox Valley Park District is the Vaughan Athletic Center located on Indian Trail near Orchard Road on the far west side of Aurora. The Vaughan Athletic Center features 225,000 square feet of athletic, fitness, and aquatic fun. The Vaughan Athletic Center is home to an aquatic center with three indoor pools. The aquatic center offers lap swimming, diving boards, warm water therapy, swim lessons, and aquatic fitness classes. In addition, there is an indoor water park featuring two water slides, a lazy river, and spray and play areas. In the Vaughan Athletic Center’s 10,000-square-foot, full-service fitness center, members can use a wide variety of equipment, attend the Fox Valley area’s best group exercise classes, and receive personalized, one-on-one help from certified trainers. This year-round indoor water park has tube slides, zero-depth entry and interactive water play.
Located above Uptowne City Limits, theses suites offer overnight accommodations in the middle of Mt. Sterling. Each suite sleeps up to six people. Each features two bedrooms, large bathrooms and large living-kitchen areas. Suites offer their own washer and dryer, refrigerator, stove, dishes and big screen TVs with cable service. WiFi computer services are included.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
U.S. Ice Sports Complex L.C.
An ice arena offering hockey leagues open skate and entertainment for all ages. The facility offers two rinks, a game room and concession area.
Ideally placed in the historic Downtown Alton antique district, the Tiffany Inn is walking distance from shops, restaurants and the casino, with beautiful views of the Mississippi River and Clark Bridge. Located above the Alton Stained Glass Works shop, the inn has three elegant rooms decorated with lovely stained glass and antiques. Amenities include: private baths, air conditioning, mini refrigerators and coffeemakers.
The Wizards of Winter at the Effingham Performance Center
Featuring some of the mid-Atlantic's finest rock and progressive musicians, The Wizards of Winter reprise a few of the greatest hits of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas and classical catalog. See them live at the EPC at 8 p.m.
The Stone Cottage - A Loading Dock Guest House
The Stone Cottage, located about 2 miles from the Loading Dock, is a recently remodeled and beautifully appointed home that was built in 1840 and is Grafton's oldest original structure. It features a full kitchen and three bedrooms with beds to sleep eight. The charming modern decor is warm and inviting; the property is perfect for a group getaway.
The Riverside Cottage - A Loading Dock Guest House
Relax in this riverfront cottage located a block from Main Street in downtown Grafton. This unique, art-filled guest house is just a stone's throw from the Mississippi River. The flower-filled back deck faces the river and the historic Boatworks building, which houses the monthly Riverside Flea Market. A restful atmosphere and overstuffed comfy furniture will entice you to read by the fireplace or paint a picture at the artist's easel. A full kitchen allows for snacks of cooking in style. This cottage is designed for two. Free Wi-fi.
The River House
Relax, reflect and unwind in this private guest house that is a turn-of-the-century cottage completely restored with modern amenities. Located high above the confluence of the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers, it offers a quiet retreat with a spectacular view, yet it is only one block from village shops, marina, restaurants, bike trails and the scenic byway.
The Nutcracker Ballet is a holiday tradition woven with beautiful choreography, music and a special story. Set to the lovely score by Tchaikovsky, this two act ballet begins with a young girl named Clara who receives a special gift from Herr Drosselmeyer at a Christmas Party. The nutcracker gift quickly becomes Clara’s favorite and soon transforms into a prince who invites her to join him on a special journey. The story continues through the snow, into the Land of Sweets where dancers from many lands entertain them. Is it all a dream? This will be the 15th time that the Kaiser Dance Theatre has brought the lovable ballet to local audiences. The first performance took place in 1985 and since then has become one of Quincy’s very own holiday traditions.
The Nest at Palisades Cabins
The Nest at Palisades Cabins offer secluded luxury cabins designed to provide charm, quiet luxury and romance. We’re located on a wooded acreage high above the Mississippi River minutes from Savanna, the Palisades State Park and an easy 20 minute drive to Galena.
The Loft at The Whole Scoop
Looking for a relaxing vacation destination? Look no further! This beautiful family and pet-friendly loft features hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, two bedrooms, open gathering area with full kitchen, dining area, large living area, washer and dryer, front and rear balconies with a BBQ grill and can accommodate up to 8 people! After all...who wouldn't want to stay on top of an ice cream shop?
The LaMarsh House
Stay at one of the oldest guest houses in Grafton! This guest house boasts historic charm and modern amenities. Located in the center of downtown Grafton, it's within easy walking distance to restaurants, shops, wineries, and the riverfront.