Costumes and candy and corn mazes, oh my!

 

Pumpkins galore can be found at fun fall festivals right now. (J Jacobs photo)
Pumpkins galore can be found at fun fall festivals right now. (J Jacobs photo)

Around Town looks at four fun fall festivals that that families can take advantage of right now.

Boo! at the Zoo

There is only one weekend left, Oct. 26-27, to go to Brookfield Zoo’s annual Halloween festival in 2019.  Running Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it features pumpkin carving demonstrations, hay rides, trick-or-treat stations (kids should bring their own bags), animal Zoo Chats, a “Crazed Maize” corn maze, a Pumpkin Smasher and a Creepy (sorta) Carousel. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the cCstume Parade that starts at 1 p.m. by the Discovery Center and ghoulishly move to music at a 1:30 p.m. Costume Dance Pary.

General zoo admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $14. (Additional fees apply to some Boo! at the Zoo activities.) For further information, visit CZS.org/Boo or call (708) 688-8000.

Youngsters like to dress up for Boo at the Zoo presented by Ferrara, (Photo credit Chicago Zoological Society)
Youngsters like to dress up for Boo at the Zoo presented by Ferrara, (Photo credit Chicago Zoological Society)

 

Didier Farms Pumpkinfest

After going once to Didier Farms for its maze, hayride, pumpkin carving tools and food, it is likely to be penned in (not penciled) from that year on even when youngsters reach high school age. Located on Aptakisic Road west of Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire, Didier Farms, a family-owned business since 1912, supplies some grocery stores plus has its own farm market. But when October comes, the place becomes pumpkin central for families loading wagons with over-grown gourds (squash if you are going to eat it instead of turning it into a jack-o-lantern) and youngsters eager to wander the maze or take a hayride. Pumpkinfest goes now through Oct. 31.

Didier Farms is at 16678 W. Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60069. Phone (847) 634-3291.

It is hard to leave Didier Farms without a fun trinket, pumpkin, donut or a hayride. (J Jacobs photo
It is hard to leave Didier Farms without a fun trinket, pumpkin, donut or a hayride. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival

Now thru oct. 30

There is so much going on at Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival that families should plan to spend a couple of hours there. “There” is a ride out northwest of Chicago to Huntley, IL. Don’t leave before picking up one of the market’s excellent pies or some donuts to take in the car for the trip back home. But first take a free wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. Then, visit the six-acre corn maze. Youngsters will like the Pumpkin express Barrel Ride, the Pedal Tractor Track or maybe the Climbing Spider Web. There is also PlayLand,  and the Giant Pumpkin Jumper plus face painting and a petting zoo.

Going on now through Oct. 30, hours Monday through Friday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with admission of $7 children, $5 adults and age 2 and younger  and weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays with adults and children at $10 each. Visitors can make and take a scarecrow home for $22. Tom’s Farm Market is at 10214 Algonquin Rd., Huntley, IL, (847) 669-3421.

Funny characters live at Tom's Farm Market during Fall Festival time. (J Jacobs photo)
Funny characters live at Tom’s Farm Market during Fall Festival time. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Richardson Adventure Farm

Every fall Richardson Farm develops a giant-sized maze to wander that fits with current events or characters. For 2019 the maze honors the moon landing. There are different tracks to take through the maze so times can range from a quick 10 to 20 minutes or the longer 60 to 90 minutes. But leave time for the giant slide, wagon or train ride, the animatronic Chicken Show, a ride on the vintage carousel and a climb up a 50 foot observation tower or watch the pig races and try the paintball shooting gallery. If you don’t have a pumpkin yet, pick your own. They cost 45 cents a pound.

The Richardson Adventure Farm is open  now through Nov. 3, 2019 on Thursday through Sundays. Hours are: Thursday 3-10 p.m.;, Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Admission can range from $14 to $19 depending on age, day of the week (Lower rates are on Wednesdays) and activity. RichardsonFarm is at 909 English Prairie Rd near Spring Grove, IL Visit RichardsonAdventureFarm or call (815) 675-9729.

How high the corn is at the Richardson Adventure Farm can be seen in adult inches. (J Jacobs photo)
How high the corn is at the Richardson Adventure Farm can be seen in adult inches. (J Jacobs photo)

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town: Pop-up art, Earth Day and good web sites

Expect the unexpected when it comes to what’s happening in and around Chicago. Here are three items that add fun to spring.

Back to the Future II shoes on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art .Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)
Back to the Future II shoes on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art .Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Urban Art Pop-Up Trunk Show

Try to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s store by April 11, 2019. Up on the second level of the store are about 100 unusual, expensive, street and art culture items on display that can be bid on through Heritage Auctions.

The items include a pair of “ Back to the Future II” shoes designed by Nike that have an  auto-lacing system activated by the wearer’s weight on the sole. They were worn by Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly. There are also Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Animal Series, “Sunflowers by Ron English and items by Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and other artists.

The MCA, located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., is closed Monday, open otherwise at 10 am.  Fri and tues until 9 othewise until 6. For more information call 312-397-4000 and visit MCA Chicago/Urban Art.

 

 

Planting is one of the activities in Brookfield Zoo's Party for the Planet Day April 14. (Photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo)
Planting is one of the activities in Brookfield Zoo’s Party for the Planet Day April 14. (Photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo)

Earth Day Party.

Brookfield Zoo is celebrating our planet April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with crafts, Zoo Chats, planting activities and recycle drop-off containers. Tree planting is at 11 a.m. and then pansies are planted near the Hamill family Play Zoo until 12:30. An Eco Expo of 20 organizations including the Lincoln Park Zoo Shedd Auarium and Indiana dunes National Park, will be stationed on the North Mall. The Party for the Planet is presented by Nicor Gas’ “energySmart” program.

Some of the other activities are meeting zoo animal ambassadors near the Carousel from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a chat about bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at 11 a.m. and learning about the black rhino in the Pachyderm Building at 2:30 p.m.

As to recycling, the zoo will take electronics, textiles, and household hazardous waste items.on April 13 until 3 p.m. then electronics, textiles and paper (for shredding) April 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking in the North Lot, 8400 31st Street (First Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, is offered to visitors with one or more approved items to recycle on either day.

There will be a drop box for electronic items such as cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, hand-held electronic games, e-readers, laptops, iPods, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players (sent to Eco-Cell for recycling). For approved items visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet . Items have to be brought unboxed with no excess packaging.

Zoo admission is $21 95 adults, $15.95for  ages 3-11 and seniors age 65 and older. Partyh for th Planet activities included in admission except for those inside the Hamil Familyh Play zoo. Parking is $14.00. For additional information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet.

 

Gehary Pavillion has programs in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)
Gehary Pavillion has programs in Millennium Park. (J Jacobs photo)

Three Chicago Websites to know

Millenium Park Calendar – copy, paste and keep checking this website for birding, plant events, music festivals and more.

Chicago City Markets – The city markets are opening outdoors with fresh produce, baked goods, gifts and demos so check this website for dates and activities .

Chicago Riverwalk – find out where the sculptures are, what is happening with the Mart video art, when and where vendors are opening and other activities along the Chicago River at this website.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town: After Thanksgiving

Once the food and fuss of Thanksgiving has been set aside in the fridge and dishwasher there should be more to holiday fun than trying brave the crowds in stores on Friday and shop on line on Monday.  There is a wonderful ballet and opera that opens, an art show full of gift ideas and a zoo that becomes magical on the weekends.

Shop the art at the One of a Kind Show. (OOAK photo)
Shop the art at the One of a Kind Show. (OOAK photo)

One of a Kind Show

Find gifts  at the One of a Kind Show at the Mart. Artists bring their sculptures, paintings, jewelry, ceramics, furniture and fashions. And vendors bring gourmet foods. The show is fun and it’s hard to leave without finding something for others or oneself.

The show runs Dec.6 through 9 at Merchandise Mart, on the north side of the Chicago River bordered by Kinzie, Wells and Orleans Streets. For tickets, hours and other information visit One of a Kind Show.

Enjoy Brookfield Zoo at Night during Holiday Magic (CZS photo)
Enjoy Brookfield Zoo at Night during Holiday Magic (CZS photo)

Brookfield Zoo Holiday Magic

Visit Brookfield Zoo when more than a million colorful lights edgbe buildings, form larger-than-life animal shapes and line the paths – thanks to Comed and Meijer. Holiday Magic is on Saturdays and Sundays of December weekends and also Wednesday through Monday of Dec. 26-31.

Tip: look for the Talking Tree and the special entertainment scheduled each weekend. Park and enter at the North Gate, 8400 31st St. (1st Avenue at 31st Street), Brookfield. For admission, hours and a complete schedule of Holiday Magic activities and entertainment call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS Holiday Magic.

Alberto Velazauez in The Nutcracker. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)
Alberto Velazauez in The Nutcracker. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Two December First show openings

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” and the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Cinderella” open Dec. 1, 2018.  “The Nutcracker” runs through Dec. 30,2018 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on Congress Blvd. at Michigan Avenue. This is the re-imagined staging by choreographer/director Christopher Wheeldon that takes place at the 1893 World’s Fair. The music is Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famed ballet. For tickets and more information visit Joffrey Nutcracker.

“Cinderella,” Jules Massenet” magical “Cendrillon” comes to life with funny, wicked, charming characters and delightful arias at the Lyric Opera House at six performances from Dec. 1, 2018 to Jan. 20, 2019.  For tickets and information visit Lyric Opera Cendrillon.

Jodie Jacobs

Where to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day

 

Think green and clean or flower power or planet health equals earth’s wealth.

Two April days, which isn’t much in the year’s calendar, are particularly set aside by people and organizations that care about planet Earth to keep it healthy and beautiful. Earth Day is April 22 and Arbor Day is April 29.

For Earth Day, enjoy gardens and community projects in the Andersonville neighborhood. Join with Lake County Forest Preserves naturalists for Bat Monitoring or a Woodpecker Walk. Take the Cardboard Challenge at Vernon Hills’ Hawthorn Mall. Or Party for the Planet at Brookfield Zoo.

The following weekend, head over to the Morton Arboretum for a Build-a-Tree workshop, Dress like a Tree or pick up a plant during a special sale.

These are a few of the activities to put on the April calendar.

Marguerite Gardens pops up at Foursided at the 2017 Andersonville Flower and Garden Show. Photo courtesy of Anderson Chamber of Commerce.
Marguerite Gardens pops up at Foursided at the 2017 Andersonville Flower and Garden Show. Photo courtesy of Anderson Chamber of Commerce.

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Penguins take limelight at Brookfield Zoo

 

Penguin colony at Brookfield Zoo wear colored ID bands. Chicago Zoological Society photos
Penguin colony at Brookfield Zoo wear colored ID bands. Chicago Zoological Society photos

Listen up Penguin lovers. April 21 is World Penguin Day so Brookfield Zoo is celebrating with special events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Stop by the Living Coast area where the Humboldt penguins reside. The first 1,000 children to participate in the activities get a World Penguin Day ID wristband similar in color to those the penguins wear. Youngsters can find the matching penguin color on the ID guide at the Living coast’s Rocky Shores habitat.

The penguins will be fed at 10:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. These are good times to hear about the penguins because there will also be “Zoo Chats” about Brookfield’s penguin colony. Other good times to hang out at their habitat are noon and 1:30 when the staff does enrichment with the penguins and answer visitors’ questions.

To see some penguins paint, be at these “artists’” habitat for their watercolor activity from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. To win one of three paintings made that day, visitors, age 13 or older, can enter a drawing held between 9 a.m. April 11 through 5 p.m. April 25 at CZS.org/PenguinDay. Winners will be announced on the zoo’s Facebook page and website April 26.

A fun activity, is to try walking like a penguin parent who has to balance an egg on the feet to protect it.. Replica eggs will be available and penguin artifacts from volunteers at an information station.

Zoo admission includes Penguin Day activities and is $21.95 adults and $15.95 children aged 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Parking is $14. Brookfield Zoo is at 8400 31st Street, Brookfield. For more information about World Penguin Day at Brookfield Zoo, visit CZS.org/Events or call (708) 688-8000.

Jodie

 

See holiday lights festivals at the zoos and by trolley

 

Holiday Lights Tour

You know that Chicago celebrates the holidays with sparkling lights but if you don’t want to have to walk or drive all over to see them then check out the Holiday Lights Tour that takes folks to them on a double-decker trolley.

The tour starts its rounds from the John Hancock Plaza Tree at 875 N. Michigan Ave. It continues for 2 hours, 30 minutes with a stop at nearby Sprinkles Cupcakes, then over to the Christkindlmarket followed by a stop at Lincoln Park for ZooLights before ending back at the Hancock Center.

Lincoln Park ZooLights. Todd Rosenberg Photo
Lincoln Park ZooLights. Todd Rosenberg Photo
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

The Holiday Lights Tour goes from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. For tickets, tour dates and hours visit Chicago Trolley.

 

ZooLights Festival

ZoolLights at Lincoln Park is more than a walk on the wild side. Along with visiting the animals and strolling among glowing, color-changing lights, there is a Light Maze labyrinth ($3), rides on the Endangered Species Carousel and a Lionel Train Adventure.

ZooLights entry is free but on Family Nights of Dec. 11, 18 and Jan. 1, the rides are also free.

ZooLights is Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 1-3  and then every night from Dec. 8 through Jan. 7 except Dec. 24-25. Hours are from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. For ticket and other information call (312) 742-2000 and visit Lincoln Park Zoo/events.

 

Holiday Magic 

The Talking Tree at Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic draws young and old visitors. Brookfield Zoo photo
The Talking Tree at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic draws young and old visitors. Brookfield Zoo photo

 

Brookfield Zoo glows with more than a million LED lights during Holiday Magic, weekends Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17 and during the week Dec. 26-31. Don’t miss the events 41-foot high talking Tree, other trees that seem to dance to music and large light-shaped animals. Lights go on at 4 p.m.

Brookfield Zoo’s main parking lot is at First Avenue and 31st Street, Brookfield, IL. For more date, hours and specific holiday events call (708) 688-8000 and visit Holiday Magic.