Chicago zoos sparkle for the holidays

 

Brookfield Zoo Tunnel of Light sponsored by Xfinity. (Chicago Zoological Society photo)
Brookfield Zoo Tunnel of Light sponsored by Xfinity. (Chicago Zoological Society photo)

Both Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoos have upped the sparkle wattage with new light experiences. But with LED lights keeping cost down and ComEd on board as a co-sponsor for both holiday shows, what the popular destinations mention are estimates. Just expect more than one million lights.

In suburban Brookfield, IL wander among twinkling lights at Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic co-sponsored with ComEd by meijer.

The festival includes a new, two-mile Sea of Lights. But also take photos at a 41-foot-high magical tree and by an illuminated animal sculpture or as you approach the 600-foot Tunnel of Lights.

Just for fun, join in the Game of Gnomes to find 27 of these creatures at the zoo. Get a map of the zoo to help. All ages can play.

Zoo entry cost varies according to membership and age. As an example, rounded-off by five cents, a non-member senior 65 + may be about $20, an adult aged 12-64 is about $25 and a child age 3-11 is about $18.  Skating rink usage is a $7 add on. Passes from a Chicago Library may discount the tickets. Parking may cost $15.  Advance tickets needed.

Holiday Magic hours and dates: Friday through Sunday Nov. 26-28. Then Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 8-12 and Dec.15-19. They end Sunday through Friday. Dec. 26-31. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Animal residences stay open through 8:30 p.m.

Brookfield Zoo has two gates: 8400 31st St. and 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield, IL

For more information Read more on czs.org

 

Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo feature an Enchanted Forest and a Light Maze in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)
Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo feature an Enchanted Forest and a Light Maze in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo)

Zooights turned on its more than a million lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo Nov. 19, 2021 and will keep them on during select nights through Jan. 2, 2022.

Explore a twisting path at the Light Maze where you wear a pair of 3D Holospex® glasses to up the glow. Also, every age is welcome at the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo section’s Enchanted Forest of butterflies, flowers and mushrooms.

See the zoo’s holiday tree at the recently redone Pepper Family Wildlife Center and do the Endangered Species Carousel and the Lionel Train Adventure through a sculpture garden and past whimsical animals.

Zoolioght entry is $5, free on Monday and Tuesday but there are additional charges of $3 per person at some of the sections and experiences. Advance tickets needed. Check the calendar for more program information.

The basic fee and extra charges help support the zoo’s animal care, global conservation efforts, and learning programs.

Co-sponsored by ComEd and Invesco QQQ, see Winter Wonders at the Zoo – Lincoln Park Zoo (lpzoo.org) for more information.

Jodie Jacobs

Holiday events now

 

Lights go on North Michigan Avenue trees during the Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade and stay on on holiday season. (City of Chicago photo)
Lights go on North Michigan Avenue trees during the Mag Mile Lights Festival Parade and stay on on holiday season. (City of Chicago photo)

It may be hard to believe we’re in the midst of the holiday season, already!

The Chicago Botanic Garden opened its paths at night for Lightscape. Santa is already listening to wishes at Macy’s where the famed holiday windows are ready for their close-ups. And, Christmas Around the world and Holiday of Light opens at the Museum of Science and Industry on its free day, Nov. 17, 2021.

But don’t miss the BMO Lights Festival – The Magnificent Mile this Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Folks line up two and three deep to watch lights go on as the parade moves south on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River and ends with fun fireworks.

A great place to view the action would be Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave.  You need to know, however, that the DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Avenue Bridge) closes at 3:30 p.m. But there are activities and food (smell Garrett’s? (It’s at 625 N. Michigan Ave.) along the Mile.

If you go downtown Friday, see the tree lighting at at Wrigley Building Centennial Plaza, 410 N. Michigan Ave. 4 p.m.

Related: Around Town: Two holiday doings to know about now – Chicago Theater and Arts

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

Two fall ticketed events to get now

 

Chicago botanic Garden Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns. (Botanic Garden photo)
Chicago botanic Garden Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns. (Botanic Garden photo)

 

Ready for fall?

The signs are there. A few leaves are already floating on the wind, Cars are filling school parking lots, Theater billboards and marquees announce show openings. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the next full moon after this weekend’s large orb, is the Harvest Moon on Sept. 20, 2021.

It’s time to start marking the calendar with fun, fall activities. Just don’t let too many weeks go by without snagging tickets for events that sell out.

Two 2021 festivals that sell out before people on the go realize the tickets are gone, are the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns and Lightscape.

Jack o Lanterns Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-24, 2021

“A: Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns is one of our most popular events at the Garden and in 2019, we expanded this event to run for 10 evenings due to popular demand, “said Zombolo, associate vice president of visitor events and programs.

“I’ts become an annual fall tradition,” she said and added, that people are “ amazed by the artistically carved pumpkins.”  And it’s all “ in a beautiful fall setting,” said Zombolo.

According to Zombolo, the event adapted procedures to fit recommended pandemic protocols.  “Last year we implemented new procedures including limited capacity per timeslot, a one-way trail with a separate entrance and exit, and extra space between pumpkins. We will be continuing those procedures in 2021.”

Tickets are time and date sensitive. They go on sale to members Aug. 23, 2021 and to the public Aug. 27.  Adults: $16/$18, Children 3 – 12: $12/$14
Children 2 and under are free. A $20 parking fee applies to  nonmembers and must be purchased ahead, online. Members park for free.  The Garden closes at 5 p.m. during the event and reopens at 6 for ticketed event guests.

Lightscape Nov. 12, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.

Now in its third year, the event’s famed winter cathedral will be back along with sing along musical trees but there will also be new features and a newly reworked, 1.25 mile path.

Tickets are already on sale for Lightscape. As with Jack o Lanterns, tickets are date and time sensitive. Ticket information for Lightscape.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Live holiday fun not canceled

 

City of Chicago holiday tree (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
City of Chicago holiday tree (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

Although indoor holiday events such as the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” has gone virtual, there are still outdoor places to visit. Three of them open this Friday, Nov. 20.

Chicago Tree

Drive or walk past Chicago’s holiday tree in Millennium Park. The lights officially go on Nov. 20. But the annual holiday ceremony goes virtual at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 on the city’s YouTube channel. For more information visit DCASE .

The program includes Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Percy Bady and Friends and a tribute to Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas.

Ice Skating

Maggie Daley Park’s Ice Skating Ribbon next to Millennium Park opens in time to see the Christmas Tree. Reservations needed to comply with Covid protocols. Visit  maggiedaleypark/skating.

Illumination at Morton Arboretum

The arboretum’s holiday light festival will be a half-hour drive through experience starting Friday as earlier announced, but bring your own refreshments because the concessions have been canceled and buildings will be closed.  Tickets are timed so visit Illumination for your time and date ticket.