The best present a person can receive is love, but the second-best present is a new dog wrapped in money. Celebrate the holiday spirit with this GrouponLive deal to Winter WonderFestivus, a Groupon-exclusive Winter WonderFest event, presented by Bank of America, at Navy Pier on Thursday, December 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Choose from the following options:
- For $29, you get one ticket to Winter WonderFestivus (an $80 value), including a $5 concessions voucher
- For $49, you get two tickets to Winter WonderFestivus (a $160 value), including free parking and a $10 concessions voucher
- For $89, you get four tickets to Winter WonderFestivus (a $320 value), including free parking and a $20 concessions voucher
For each person, admission includes:
- Exclusive access to all Winter WonderFest attractions, including skate rental at the skating rink
- Live music from Pirouette & Glitter starting at 6 p.m., followed by Wedding Banned
- One ticket to the Ferris wheel and one ticket to the Navy Pier outdoor Ferris wheel in Pier Park
Groupon and Winter WonderFest have teamed up this year to create a slightly cozier take on Navy Pier’s annual holiday festivities. As snowmen stand before white-capped cottages and a towering tannenbaum blossoms with lights, adults and children tackle normally crowded attractions such as the inflatable Matterhorn Climb-and-Slide and the Snowy Summit Climbing Wall, aided by lines that vanish as quickly as a snowflake on an outstretched tongue. Grownups can tap their toes to the mashup master Pirouette & Glitter—and reminisce about the ‘80s and ‘90s with Wedding Banned. Seen commanding street festivals across the city every summer, the group’s members draw power from their impressive mustaches, mullets, and shades as they attempt to turn every performance into the wildest wedding reception the crowd has ever attended.
Children might meet a high-profile personality as well: Santa Claus is slated to roam the festival grounds, taking gift requests, posing for parents’ photos, and savoring the chance to ride something other than his boring old magic sleigh. Over at the newly constructed Winter WonderTown, costumed figures, including a teddy-bear tycoon and Mayor Burl Evergreen, show kids around a quaint village guarded by living statues and the burble of a brass band. Further photo opportunities abound at three professional photo settings, where families can pose with a giant inflatable chair or rocking horse for a take-home print. Guests aged 12 or younger can get their hands on the gift-making spirit by forging a personalized picture frame in the Craft Area, and a 50-foot indoor Ferris wheel powered by peppermint fumes opens up a twinkling new perspective on the carnival of good cheer.
Originally part of architect Daniel Burnham's ambitious "Plan of Chicago" drafted in 1909, Navy Pier was designed to handle both recreational and freight traffic for the burgeoning metropolis. Its role quickly changed when it began serving as a barracks and training facility during two World Wars—it earned its nickname because of the more than 200 planes that littered the lake bottom around the pier, lost during exercises and sunk to intimidate fish with military technology. In the decades that followed, the pier was home to a University of Illinois campus, a convention center, and a venue for citywide festivals before falling into disuse. This ended in 1989, when the state moved to transform the venerable pier into one of Chicago's foremost tourist attractions.
Reopened in 1995, the revamped Navy Pier boasts 50 acres of parks, restaurants, shops, and entertainment, scenically located along Lake Michigan and the mouth of the Chicago River. The pier's most striking denizen is its 150-foot-tall ferris wheel, whose glittering lights slowly rotate above the water and frame a beautiful view of the city's skyscrapers for riders. Other attractions include a towering IMAX screen that shows educational films and Hollywood blockbusters, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which treats audiences to bold stagings of the Bard's greatest hits.