10 Things You HAVE to Do in January


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Adios, 2015!  It’s been fun, but we’re ready to see what 2016 has in store. This month, let 50 Russian dancers whisk you away to Cinderella’s castle, take a snooze with the most famous T-Rex or cast your line at a boat show. Check out our Editor’s picks for kicking off the new year in the Windy City.

Cinderella at The Macphoto: Moscow Festival Ballet’s “Cinderella”

(1) Playdate at Old Town School of Folk Music: Fiesta de Colores
A guitarron, a vihuela, a family band, soaring voices, thrilling harmonies, colorful streamers, songs from Mexico and traditional dancing to make your heart sing. Wear your most colorful clothing and fill the Chicago winter with color!

When: Jan. 9
Hours: 10 a.m.
Where: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave., Old Town
Cost: $7/person; free for members
Online: oldtownschool.org

(2)  Moscow Festival Ballet’s “Cinderella” at the MAC
Moscow Festival Ballet brings one of classical ballet’s most popular works, Cinderella, to the MAC Arts Center. See 50 leading dancers from across Russia, majestic costumes and stunning choreography unite for this retelling of the classic rags-to-riches fairy tale. There will be a free MAC Chat led by ballet and opera expert Richard Covello at 6 p.m., prior to the 7 p.m. show.

When: Jan. 10
Hours: 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Where: McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn
Cost: $55/adults; $45/children (use code 10OFF for $10 discount)
Online: atthemac.org

(3) A Winter Thrill at Navy Pier
Get your thrill fill at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest, which has rides for all ages. New attractions this year include the Polar Extreme, a double-sided inflatable slide and obstacle course, interactive Arctic Peaks Climbing Walls and an expanded, more challenging Winter Rules mini golf course. Guests will be greeted by a glittered forest of nearly 500 trees decorated with 25,000 ornaments hung on a mile of wire. From there, visitors can glide across the Blackhawks ice skating rink, soar across the 40-ft Cliff Hanger or take in the view from the top of the towering 50-ft-high indoor Ferris wheel.

When: Thru Jan. 10
Hours: Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Cost: General admission is $9 online & $10 walk-up. Activity ticket $23 online & $25 walk-up
Online: navypier.com

(4)  Cast a Line at the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show
If lakeside beach-y fun sounds good right about now, the Chicago Boat, RV & Strictly Sail Show is the show for you. Cast a line in the Huck Finn Trout Pond, where pros teach catch and release techniques with live trout, act like a crazy hamster in an inflatable wheel on water at Rockin’ Rollin’ Bubbles and much more!

When: Jan. 14-18
Hours: Thurs. & Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: McCormick Place, South Hall, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Cost: $14/adult; $20 for a 2-day pass (online only); free for children 15 & under
Online: chicagoboatshow.com

(5) Have a Sleepover with a T-Rex
The lights will dim as you explore the rituals of ancient Egyptian culture, guided by the light of your flashlight. Next, you prowl an African savannah with giraffes, hippos and man-eating lions. Take a break by playing games from around the world or looking at giant bugs from right in your backyard. Cap your night of exploration and adventure with cozy bedtime stories, before drifting off to dreamland in one of their amazing exhibits.

When: Jan. 15 & Jan. 29
Hours: 5:45 p.m.-9 a.m.
Where: Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Cost: $65+/person
Online: fieldmuseum.org

(6) A Theatrical Way to Celebrate MLK Day
We all know Chicago Children’s Museum has a ton to do on a cold January day, including learning about Civil Rights. The museum’s program called What Does It Mean, Dr. King? whisks you back in time to learn about freedom and Civil Rights through interactive musical drama.

When: Jan. 18
Hours: 11 a.m. (members only), 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Where: Chicago Children’s Museum, 600 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier
Cost: $14; free for ages 1 & under
Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

(7) Chicago Travel and Adventure Show
Dream about your next family vacation at this mega-expo, which has plenty of enticements for kids. Ride on Segways and Trikkes, ride a camel, hop aboard a reproduction 19th century tricycle and have fun pretending your adventuring around the world in the Green Screen Photo Booth. Bonus for families: one of the keynote speakers is Colleen Kelley, co-creator and executive producer of the popular National Public Television series Family Travel with Colleen Kelly.

When: Jan. 23-24
Hours: Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont
Cost: One-day adult admission, $12 online or $16 at the door; two-day adult admission, $18 online or $25 at the door; free for ages 16 & under
Online: travelshows.com/shows/chicago/

(8) Yell “Mush” and Hangout with Huskies
Bring your little mushers to learn all about Siberian huskies during Husky Heroes. The kiddos can take a look at the sledding equipment, strike a pose with a rig and watch a movie starring their new fluffy freinds. Of course, they will also get to watch the huskies work with sled pulling, skijoring and speed demonstrations.

When: Jan. 30-31
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; demonstrations held at 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3:15 p.m.
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
Cost: Free with admission ($9/adults, $6/ages 2-12)
Online: mortonarb.org

(9) It’s not Rosemont, It’s Frozemont!
Winter has had quite a magical effect on Rosemont. MB Financial Park has turned into a wonderland of fun, complete with tubing, ice skating, brilliant lights and more. At the center of “Frozemont” is the four-story Polar Peak tubing hill — the grade is steep and the ride is thrilling. (There is a kiddie slope for those that don’t need as much adrenaline.) Nearby, the NHL-sized ice rink is surrounded by glittering lights.

When: Thru Jan. 31
Hours: Various hours, check website for details
Where: MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Pl., Rosemont
Cost: Skating is free ($8/skate rental); tubing is $3/run
Online: rosemont.com

(10) Figure 8 with the Goats at Lincoln Park Zoo
Whizz past the goats and cows at the rink in Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Snacks and winter warming drinks are available for purchase and will keep the whole family happy.

When: Jan. 8-Feb. 28 Only!
Hours: Fri., 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., noon-8 p.m.
Where: Farm in the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.
Cost: $5 admission; $5 skate rental
Online: lpz.org

Big plans for January? Tell us all about it in the Comments below!

—Maria Chambers

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