Around Chicago: October

 

Pumpkins and skeletons and lining up in Highwood for the Great Pumpkin Fest ( J jacobs photo)
Pumpkins and skeletons and lining up in Highwood for the Great Pumpkin Fest ( J jacobs photo)

From the city and Oak Park to Glencoe and Highwood, there are events worth posting on the calendar.

Highwood

In the past few years with the exception of COVID 2020 tiny, north suburban Highwood has been trying for a Guinness record of carved pumpkins. But what area residents and visitors like is that the town’s Great Highwood Pumpkinn Fest includes music, a charity run, food, games and rides.

The event opens Oct. 7 with pumpkin carving and music, then continues, Oct. 8-10 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. This year, it also includes free COVI D testing. Check the schedule for specific event times and ride cost.

Highwood snuggles east of Highland Park along Waukegan Avenue, Green Bay Road and Sheridan Road.

Glencoe

Merely strolling among trees, water features and gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden is worth the trip. However, CBG also holds the Night of 1000 Jack O’ Lanterns Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 20-24 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Creative faces may spark ideas for home carving and are a terrific photo op (selfie?) Find more information at Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden is just east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe.

Wilmette

Chalet Nursery’s Scarecrow Making is sold out its garden is stacked with pumpkins, corn stalks and other decorations for October and Halloween. Plus it has some fun selfie areas.\

It’s events calendar includes the movie “Haunted Mansion” shown outside Oct 14 at 6:30 p.m. Registration needed and a “Howl-O Ween” Pet Parade, Oct. 31 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Chalet Nursery is at 3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette. Visit Events – Chalet Nursery for more information.

 

Chalet Nursery decorates for fall. (J Jacobs photo)
Chalet Nursery decorates for fall. (J Jacobs photo)

 

Oak Park

Poe’s dark side is perfect for the season. The Oak Park Park Theatre Festival brings “The Madness of Edgar Allan P:oe: A Love Story” to the Pleasant Home Foundation Oct. 15-Nov. 7, 2021. where audiences can move from room to room for different scenes.

Pleasant Home is at 217 Home Avenue, Oak Park.For tickets and more information visit Oak Park Theatre Festival

Lisle

Fall is a great time to drive through the Morton Arboretum but there is also something doing among the trees for walkers. The Arboretum has “Walking Plays” of popular fairy tales. Oct. 15-Nov. 7, 2021. Tales area abut 90 minutes and walks are less than two miles. To sign up and find more information visit Walking Plays/MortonArboretum.

Chicago

The whole city is open virtually in October through a Chicago Architecture Center app during Open House Chicago. There are trails, neighborhoods and treasures to explore. To see some of it in person, go Oct. 16-17. Registration needed. Visit Open house Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

Around Town: In person outings

Hope, a 5-year-old polar bear recently arrived at Brookfield Zoo (Photo by Jim Schulz for CZS)

Hope, a 5-year-old polar bear recently arrived at Brookfield Zoo (Photo by Jim Schulz for CZS)

Some of these places, such as the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Morton Arboretum didn’t really close because they are outside but they want to remind visitors to come back and that their hours may have expanded. Others, such as Brookfield Zoo are re-opening and the Cook County Forest Preserve has March events.

Brookfield Zoo

Visitors will find some new residents at Brookfield Zoo which re-opened March 1, 2021.

Hope, a 5-year-old female polar bear arrived the end of January, 2021 in time for Chicago’s icy weather. Look for Hope in the zoo’s outdoor habitat in the Great Bear Wilderness.

Also look for Sibi and her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Lorena, in the Regenstein Wolf Woods habitat. The two female Mexican wolves recently arrived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, New Mexico..

Sibi and Lorena, two Mexican wolves, are also new Brookfield Zoo residents. (Photo by Jim Schulz for CZS)

 

While at the zoo, go over to the Dinos Everywhere exhibition that is up March 1 through Sept. 6, 2021. Find the three-story-high Argentinosaurus on the zoo’s West Mall.

But don’t forget to see the grey seals, snow leopards and bald eagles that also can go into their outdoor habitats.

Brookfield Zoo is a Chicago Zoological property at 8400 31st St., Brookfield, IL. For hours, timed-ticket entry and other information go to Plan your visit Brookfield Zoo.

 

North American river otters in Cook County (Photo by Peter Pekarek)
North American river otters in Cook County (Photo by Peter Pekarek)

Forest Preserves of Cook County

Given that Cook County Forest Preserves covers 70,000 acres, you know there are several opportunities for outdoor fun. Here is a sample of some March events.

Catch the Leprechaun Story Hunt is March 1-3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. based from the Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave., River Forest. Maple Tree Tapping March 7 at 1:30 p.m., is also at Trailside.

For more Cook County Forest Preserves ideas visit Things to Do.

 

Spring will soon return to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. (Photo courtesy of the Morton Arboretum)
Spring will soon return to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. (Photo courtesy of the Morton Arboretum)

The Morton Arboretum

As with the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden visitors Morton Arboretum visitors need timed tickets. See Plan Your Visit for tickets and other information. Wednesday is discount day.

Located  4100 Il Hwy 53 in Lisle, there are plenty of trails and paths for biking and hiking  from 7 a.m. to sunset. In addition, the Visitor Center is open with restrooms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Children’s Garden and Maze Garden are open. The Ginko Restaurant will re-open March 12, 2021.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a perfect place to reflect on nature. (photos by Jodie Jacobs)
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a perfect place to reflect on nature. (photos by Jodie Jacobs)

Chicago Botanic Garden

Yes, you need a timed ticket to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden but the fee if for parking because admission is free. To know the protocols go to Plan Your Visit | Chicago Botanic Garden

Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The Garden View Café is open for Grab and Go and the Garden Shop open with a limited number of visitors at one time. The paths are open and busy now that the weather is more spring-like so wear the mask.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe just east of Edens Expressway.

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.

 

Holiday light shows still a go

 

Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder are among the two popular music and movement designs to return to the Morton Arboretum Illumination event in 2020. (Morton Arboretum photo)
Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder are among the two popular music and movement designs to return to the Morton Arboretum Illumination event in 2020. (Morton Arboretum photo)

Thousands of lights from Lincoln Park Zoo’s’ “Zoolights” and Macy’s Walnut Room “Great Tree” to Morton Arboretum’s “Illumination” and Chicago Botanic Garden’s “Lightscape” will once again be brightening the holiday season.

They just will be operating a little differently during the Covid pandemic. Protocols will be in place such as social distance requirements so timed tickets and reservations will be needed. Tickets are already available even though the events don’t start until November. However, events and times do sell out so best is to plan ahead.

 

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum

Instead of walking through the Morton Arboretum, visitors will drive along a two-mile musical light and movement show that redefines the woodland experience. Some favorites will be back such as Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder plus new, magical sights have been added.

The event goes from Nov. 20, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021 with additional hours and days. For tickets and more information visit Mortonarb/illumination.

 

Appropriate music accompanies your walk through cathedral-style arch. (J Jacobs photo)
Appropriate music accompanies your walk through cathedral-style arch. (J Jacobs photo)

Lightscape

Last year, the first year of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape, the event sold out and its Night of 1000 Jack o’ Lanterns has also sold out so visitors  should get their tickets now. The event runs from Nov. 13, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.

Lightscape is a one-way, mile-long walking loop past unusual and fun lighting movements accompanied by changing musical themes. The Cathedral of Light will be back but there are also new light designs.

For information visit Chicagobotanic/lightscape. For answers to frequently asked questions visit Chicagobotanic/faqs.

 

ZooLights is a fun time to visit Lincoln Park Zoo. (Lincoln Park Zoo photo)
ZooLights is a fun time to visit Lincoln Park Zoo. (Lincoln Park Zoo photo)

Zoolights

Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal exhibits, landscaping, and buildings dress up for the holidays with thousands of colored lights thanks to ComEd and InvescoQQQ.. Tickets for the event, Nov. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, are needed for all ages this year but are just $5. For information visit LPzoo/zoolights.

Past Great Tree with diners in the Walnut Room (J Jacobs photo)
Past Great Tree with diners in the Walnut Room (J Jacobs photo)

Walnut Room Great Tree

Right now, the holiday themed windows on the State Street side of Macy’s in Chicago are still a closely guarded secret. But visitors can make reservations starting Oct. 9 to dine in the store’s famed Walnut Room where they can see the Great Tree – beginning Nov. 7. Reservations are at OpenTable

Expect to see about 6,600 lights and more than 2,000 ornaments on the tree. P:lus past Great Tree photos can be seen on the store’s 7th floor.

As to the Walnut Room food, it is a three-course, fixed-price meal for $49.95 (adults, per person) with a variety of choices, “including Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie, cider glazed turkey and Frango ice cream pie . Youngsters’ meals are $19.95, include a 2020 Walnut Room holiday mug.

For Walnut Room info visit Macy’sRestaurants/walnutroom.

 

What to do Labor Day Weekend

 

Navy Pier. (J Jacobs photo)
Navy Pier. (J Jacobs photo)

Except for the falling leaves, it’s hard to believe that Labor Day Weekend is almost here.

With the pandemic changing our lifestyle, vacation plans and the events we usually use to mark off warm weather months such as the Chicago Air and Water Show, the usual Labor Day holiday might feel like just another weekend unless we plan something special.

Navy Pier

Chicago’s most popular destination will close Tues., Sept. 8, 2020 until sometime in spring of 2021 so plan an outing to the Pier Labor Day Weekend.

Stretching out into Lake Michigan at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago’s arguably most popular destination will close Tues., Sept. 8, 2020 until sometime in spring of 2021 so plan an outing to the Pier Labor Day Weekend.

If you enjoy jazz, singers and bands, plan to spend some time in the Miller Lite Beer Garden. See the Saturday, Sept.. 5 schedule at Live on the Lake  and the Sept. 6 schedule at Navy Pier/events.

Cruise

Sightsee by boat from Navy Pier while it’s open or take the cruise from the Chicago River piers at Michigan Avenue.  Check dates, safety protocols and tickets at NavyPier/cruises.

Chicago Architecture Center Tours

CAC at 111 E Wacker Drive, will be running its popular Architecture River Tours during Labor Day weekend. Cruises leave across Wacker at Michigan Avenue down on the river

But it also has some interesting walking tours such as a Frank Lloyd Wright Oak Park tour on Sun. Sept. 6.

CAC tour tickets go quickly because numbers are decreased according to protocols.

Morton Arboretum

The Arboretum at 4100 IL Hwy 53 has trails to explore,  a  Children’s Garden and the Ginko Restaurant. Visits are by timed tickets so see MortonArbVisit  and Tickets for more information.

Around Town has three outdoor updates in and west and north of Chicago

 

Navy Pier. (J Jacobs photo)
Navy Pier. (J Jacobs photo)

The outdoors beckons now that Chicago and Illinois has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 fighting strategies. Just know that restrictions such as social distancing and face coverings are still part of the experience.
Also note where reservations and permits are still required.

 

Navy Pier

The Pier at the eastern end of both Illinois Road and Grand Avenue, among Chicago’s most popular destinations, is opening its outdoor spaces excluding rides on June 10, 2020

Parking garages will have free access during the opening phase. Polk Bros Park across from the entrance and the Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion will open and some boat tours will be operating. There will be access to North and South Docks.

Several restaurants and retailers will have outdoor spaces such as Harry Caray’s Tavern, McDonald’s, Margaritaville Chicago, Billy Goat Tavern, Rainbow Bone and the large Offshore Rooftop & Bar. For updated information

For more information  see Updates Navy Pier and visit Navy Pier.

 

Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum, a 1,700 acre park and outdoor plant and research museum, is open now on timed visit, reserve-ahead tickets through Jujne 14. Visits will be available to nonmembers on a restricted basis beginning June 15.

Located at 4100 IL Hwy 53 in west suburban Lisle, IL, the park is interlaced with walkway and hiking and biking trails. For membership, admission fees and hours visit Know/visit/information.

 

Waukegan Savannah Dog P:ark (Photo courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserves)
Waukegan Savannah Dog P:ark (Photo courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserves)

 

Lake County Forest Preserves dog park

Off-leash dog exercise areas begin opening second week of June, 2020 to annual permit holders. Dog Exercise Areas using COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.

On June 8, Lakewood Dog Park in Wauconda and Waukegan Savanna Dog Park in Waukegan plans to open. They will be followed by Duck Farm Dog Park in Lake Villa and Prairie Wolf Dog Park in Lake Forest on June 10. Then, Independence Grove Dog Park in Libertyville opens June 12.

Visit  LCFPD.org/dogs to confirm opening dates and details.

“Once reopened, modified use practices will be in place for the health and safety of Forest Preserve staff, dog owners and their pets,”  said Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully.

“Access will be limited to annual permit holders only. To help prevent overcrowding, daily permits will not be sold at this time. Additional signage will remind permit holders to do their part and abide by safety rules and protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Tully.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around town finds a couple of virtual Earth Day visits

 

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL (J Jacobs photo)

 

Of course we try to employ good recycling practices year round but we’re also used to helping out in volunteer clean-up groups on beaches and rivers on Earth Day.

Started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson,, WI, to encourage conservation and environmental awareness, Earth Day became an internationally observed day with a variety of related activities in 1990.

Typical Earth Day activities have generally been canceled in 2020 to avoid getting and spreading the Covid-19 virus. However Earth Day is still April 22 so think recycle but also take a couple of moments to virtually visit two of the Chicago area’s largest nature centers: The Chicago Botanic Garden in north suburban Glencoe and the Morton Arboretum west of Chicago near Lisle. They are sharing what’s blooming, garden tips, stay-at-home Earth Day activities and views of their grounds.

Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Earth Day and Smart Gardener sites for some activity ideas. Then go to ChicagoBotanic/Gardens for a live feed to see what’s in bloom.

At the Morton Arboretum look for Virtual Bloom Report and then go to Virtual Tours via Google Arts and Culture.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Holiday Happenings Part Two

Tulips at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Lightscape. (J Jacobs photo)
Tulips at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape. (J Jacobs photo)

Chicago might as well be called Holiday Central given all the fun, light-filled events taking place across the city and suburbs. So, to make it easier to figure out the where and when, we are dividing up the what.

Part One listed some of the holiday shows and date specific events such as parades because shows need tickets and some events are only one day or weekend.

Part Two is about light shows in and around Chicago. Most go through Jan. 5, 2020. Lights typically are on from about 4:30 to 9 p.m. Check each event’s site for hours and dates either not on or by holiday limitations. Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part Two”

Three sip and savor and shop events

 

Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)
Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)

When the weather turns frightful (even though Halloween is over)   it’s time to look forward to something delightful. First up are some wine, culinary and shopping events coming in the next two weeks.

Holiday Sip and Shop

In Chicago’s western suburbs, seasonal bites, spirits and shopping the Morton Arboretum way with botanical designer showcased “tablescapes” and browsing the store, welcome the coming holiday season.  The event is Nov. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes a Patricia Locke Trunk Show and mixology demonstrations. Tickets are members $45.00, nonmembers $50.00.

The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Highway 53, Lisle, IL 630-446-0537.

 

Antiques + Modernism Show

In the northern suburbs, an annual show benefiting the Winnetka Community Housegoes the whole weekend of Nov. 8-10, 2019. But a fun preview party known for its buffet stations and open bar is Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. This is when collectors and people in the know go for the first peek at exceptional jewelry, furniture and art. Tickets are $150 but $30 of the ticket price will be donated back to the North Shore Art League.

The Winnetka Community House is at 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL , 847-446-2870 or 847-446-0537.

 

Chill LuxeHome

Downtown Chicago, Chill, an international wine and culinary event co sponsored by Luxehome and Wine Spectator Magazine, features terrific food from Chicago chefs and excellent wines from around the world. It’s held Downtown Chicago at theMART, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Tickets are $145. Funds raised go to different charities.

the MART is at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around Town goes to two places for fall color and fun pumpkins

 

Fall at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)
Fall at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)

Of course visitors to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe would expect to see trees changing their summer colors to seasonal autumn rose, gold and bronze.

However, both popular Chicago area destinations also annually welcome fall with ales, pumpkins and more.

 

Glass pumpkins at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)
Glass pumpkins at the Morton Arboretum. (Photo courtesy of MortonArb)

Morton Arboretum

Go this weekend to find hand-blown glass pumpkins. Art fair goers have been collecting these delicate pieces for the past few years but the Glass Pumpkin Patch that is going on now through Oct. 13, features about six thousand choices.

Or go Oct. 19 for the Cider and Ale Festival and toast the season.

On the spookier side, do the Troll Hunt which is still going on. These giant-sized,  artistically crafted, wooden creatures can be found through June 2020 but are a fitting addition to a season filled with other-world spirits. Sculpted by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, the trolls are supposed to protect the environment.

For more Morton Arboretum information visit Mortonarb/explore.

 

Walk among fun, interesting, spooky Jack-o-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of ChicagoBotanic)
Walk among fun, interesting, spooky Jack-o-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden. (Photo courtesy of ChicagoBotanic)

Chicago Botanic Garden

Go tonight, Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. to hoist a beer to welcome fall.

Put a fun costume on your dog and you can also dress-up to if you go Oct. 13 for a Spooky Pooch Parade from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is the only time dogs (except support dogs) are allowed in the

Or go one evening when 1,000 spooky Jack-o-Lanterns light garden paths and patches from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. select nights from Oct. 16 to 27.

For more Chicago Botanic Garden information see Chicagobotanic/visit.

Jodie Jacobs