Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicago Free Outdoor Winter Family Fun

I appeared this morning on ABC's Windy City Live to talk about free outdoor family fun in January. Here's a link to the video, and a run-down of our favorites.

For some free outdoor adventure in the City....

POLAR ADVENTURE DAYS at Northerly Island takes place from 12-4pm on January 21 and February 18. Northerly Island is located on the Museum Campus near the Lake by Soldier Field. At Polar Adventure Days, held once monthly in the winter months, families can watch ice sculptors, create nature-inspired crafts, hear live entertainment from Old Town School of Folk Music, try out free snowshoeing (weather permitting), meet Siberian Huskies and other live animals. Parking is $3.

ICE SKATING AT MILLENNIUM PARK. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park offers a breathtaking background for ice skating. A great activities for families, or just adults, you can enjoy free skating under the lights of the city. . The rink is open through March 11. You can bring your own skates, or you can rent skates for $10.

And throughout the city and suburbs, park districts and their nature centers offer lots of great free options for cross country skiing, winter nature walks, snowshoeing and more. Here are some great suburban picks...

WILLOWBROOK WILDLIFE CENTER in Glen Ellyn has one of the nicer trails for kids in the winter, as it offers some indoor and outdoor areas to explore. There are animals on site that kids can visit, who have been rescued but aren't able to return to the wild on their own. And outside, there's a short 1/2 mile trail that's the perfect distance for a winter family nature walk, which takes you through different types of winter scenery including woodlands, open space and a pond.

HELLER NATURE CENTER is part of the Park District of Highland Park, and offers outdoor nature walks, cross-country skiing and other outdoor activities, as well as some great outdoor special events. On January 26 and February 25, your family can take part in a winter astronomy event for some night sky viewing, and you can use Heller's super powered telescope to view the moon, the stars and Jupiter.

SLEDDING AND SNOWBOARDING IN NAPERVILLE. The Naperville Park District has many great facilities for outdoor adventure. One great sled hill is at Rotary Hill, which overlooks the downtown area and you can sled with a view of the downtown area. And there's even a with a hill that's exclusively for snowboarding - Weigand Riverfront Park allows NO sleds, only snowboards!

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