When the Halloween season rolls around, the park puts away the holly in favor of haunted fun. The Nightmare from North Street haunted barn promises ghosts, zombies, ghouls, and goblins in spooky, family oriented attractions. Santa’s Village Azoosment Park is open Friday and Saturday nights during October, offering rides, games, eats, treats, and an outdoor beer garden.
When he shuts up his workshop at the North Pole after another successful holiday season, Santa Claus doesn't simply hibernate until next December. Instead, he packs up his sleigh and heads to his summer home at the Fox River Valley's Santa's Village Azoosment Park. Open from May to October, the wonderland greets guests with three separate amusement experiences. The fun begins in Santa's Village, where quaint alpine building and expertly manicured pathways awaken feelings of nostalgia in hearts young and old. There, visitors can zoom down the original Santa's Tree House Slide, hitch a ride on the Kringle Convoy, or snap a picture at a recreation of Santa's North Pole home. They can also tap into the amusement rides including the antique carousel, the Tilt-A-Whirl, and Dracor's Dragon Coaster.
A renowned lover of animals, Santa has also filled his park with a menagerie of animals both familiar and exotic. After visiting Rudolph and company at Reindeer Ridge, visitors can grab a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh on their way to see the denizens of Parakeet Paradise, Tortoise Island, or Old MacDonald's Farm and Petting Zoo. In addition to grabbing up-close peeks of everything from a red-tailed boa to a fennec fox, visitors can also take in an exotic animal show that educates audience members about the park's wild residents.
In addition to the traditional rides that have made the park a destination for generations of families, Santa's Village Azoosment Park also welcomes new thrills for the 2013 season. The Ding'em Dodge'em Bumper Cars invite drivers to live out demolition derby fantasy's from the safety of a rubber-ringed car. Always in the holiday spirit, the park welcomes groups looking to add a spark to reunions, birthday, or group outings. This accommodating spirit even extends to the park's rule book: parking is free, and picnic baskets are encouraged.
The award-winning professional belly dancers at Arabesque edify adult performers of all levels in the theories and techniques of Middle Eastern dance. Instructors teach hips to shimmy through scintillating moves as guests study such art forms as belly dance, choreography, and prop work. Throughout classes, skilled dancers lead by example, gracefully wielding swords, fans, and pool noodles or tapping out rhythms with finger cymbals. Classes are available in five skill levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Instructors and students can flaunt new moves during periodic local and national performances.
Over the past quarter century, Serpent Safari's indoor zoo has amassed a collection of rare reptiles that have appeared in publications such as National Geographic. Animals of impressive age, unusual coloring (such as an albino alligator), and Guinness World Record-holding weight have all called the Safari their home. Originally founded as a reptile adoption and education center, the Safari now runs guided tours and birthday parties that usher children through the world of scaly, cold-blooded creatures known as bankers into the diverse realm of reptiles. Following the tours, patrons can partake in photo opportunities with giant snakes, or take home a friend from the pet store.
With more than 23,000 square feet of public space, Kohl Children's Museum gives its young visitors plenty of rooms in which to play. The kid-focused facility houses 16 permanent exhibits for infants and children up to 8 years of age, each filled with hands-on activities designed to encourage learning and exploration.
City on the Move helps children learn about Chicago by challenging them to build city scenes from geometric shapes or crank an electricity-generating wheel to power a pretend John Hancock Center. Kids can follow animal footprints to their source in Nature Explorers, move musical notes to create melodies in Ravinia Festival Music Makers, or explore the rotating temporary exhibits, including Storyland, opening in October. And yet not all the fun is contained inside: the colorful two-acre outdoor Habitat Park encompasses features such as a grassy maze and an interactive sculpture trail.
A kids' firehouse sets the stage for hands-on, imaginative activities at FireZone, where actual firefighters show off fire engines, explain educational displays, and oversee games for kids of all ages. In addition to children’s parties and drop-in play sessions, FireZone runs school field trips, caters to adults with corporate training days, and rents trucks for picnics, parades, and festivals.
With a showroom full of materials and an impressive body of work that hangs in buildings such as the Trump Tower, Creative Edge helps clients turn bare walls into conversation pieces. Each Creative Edge consultant brings at least 10 years of professional experience to projects, ensuring that every frame perfectly complements its portrait, landscape, or recursive picture of picture frames. These experts also handle 3-D projects, creating shadowbox showpieces for items such as plates, sports memorabilia, medals, and dried flowers. Before settling on a design, clients can peruse the showroom to get creative juices flowing. The showroom offers samples of more than 3,000 different mouldings made from materials that range from classic solid woods to reclaimed roofing supplies, and the gallery features fine-art lithographs, giclées, and original multimedia pieces.
The Chicago Academy of Sciences created a library and collection of flora and fauna specimens that burnt in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, just 14 years after its inception. By 1894, the academy had regrouped and rebuilt its collection in Lincoln Park, where it stood for more than 100 years. In 1999, the academy turned it into the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a family-friendly museum filled with exhibits that let visitors explore the flora, fauna, and ecology of the Great Lakes region.
The 6.35-acre campus hosts more than 15,000 plants, 13,000 birds, and 22,000 amphibians and reptiles in its specimen collections. As visitors walk through Popular attractions include the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where visitors can stand in a swirl of 1,000 exotic butterflies, and Mysteries of the Marsh and the Istock Family Look-in Lab, which feature dozens of living creatures, such as turtles, snakes, and giant bugs. The two-story Extreme Green House offers a hands-on look at the materials and technologies that surround us.
In addition to educating the public, the museum is a local leader in wildlife conservation. It's nestled in acres of restored prairie, where visitors can spot migratory birds and other native critters and plants. Outdoor exhibits include 17,000 square feet of green roofs, a restored-prairie nature trail, and a rooftop birdwalk.