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posted: 1/1/2012 6:00 AM

On the road: Winter in Chicago

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  • Students from around the Midwest will compete in the Collegiate Invitational Ice Sculpting Competition in downtown Holland, Mich.

      Students from around the Midwest will compete in the Collegiate Invitational Ice Sculpting Competition in downtown Holland, Mich.

  • Bald Eagle Watching Days will be held in January at Prairie du Sac, Wis. $PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Photo courtesy of Kurt Eakle$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

      Bald Eagle Watching Days will be held in January at Prairie du Sac, Wis. $PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Photo courtesy of Kurt Eakle$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$



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During weekends in January and February (when there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground), you can trek around Northerly Island on snowshoes or cross country skis, see the sites in winter, track animals that are active in the cold and take in beautiful views of the city skyline. Check out snowshoes or cross country skis for a small fee on a first-come, first-served basis or bring your own and have free fun.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Jan. 8 to Feb. 26 at Northerly Island, 1400 S. Lynn White Drive, Chicago. Equipment rental is $5 for two hours or free with your own equipment. (312) 745-2910 or

It's all Greek to me

Experience ancient Greece through the family exhibit, "Gods, Myths and Mortals," at the new National Hellenic Museum. The only major museum in the U.S. dedicated to the Greek journey takes visitors from ancient times to the modern Greek-American experience. This interactive exhibit introduces visitors to the world of ancient Greece.

333 S. Halsted St., Chicago. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday; 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sept. 12. Admission to the exhibit is included with general admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $7 for kids ages 3-12. Members and children under 3 years old admitted free. (312) 655-1234 or

Pickin' and grinnin'

The grand opening of the Old Town School of Folk Music's new East Building launches a 55-day celebration of the school's 55th anniversary. The fete features specially priced concerts and free classes and workshops.

4545 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Times and days of concerts and workshops vary from Jan. 9 to March. 3. Tickets range from free to $45. Call (773) 728-6000 or visit for a calendar of events.


The Entertainer

Can you find any more gleeful music than ragtime? Take in a whole weekend at the 13th annual Ragtime Festival in Eau Claire, Wis., with concerts, sing-a-longs, vintage pianos and clothing. Sip on root beer floats and watch silent films or browse a 1912 timeline and vintage dress display. There also will be special dinners and a Sunday buffet.

Event times vary from Friday to Sunday, Jan. 13-15. Concerts are held in Eau Claire's 1st Congregational United Church of Christ, 310 Broadway St. Concert ticket and dinner/show prices range from $10-$20. Call (715) 834-2668 or visit

Ice breakers

College students from around the Midwest prove their mettle at the Collegiate Invitational Ice Sculpting Competition hosted by downtown Holland, Mich. nd the National Ice Carving Association. Students compete in a weekend-long competition transforming 300-pound blocks of ice into works of art using chain saws, torches, chisels and more.

44 West 9th St., Holland, Mich. Hours: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday Jan. 6, and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7. Call (616) 988-6187 or visit

Regal eagles

Come and see for yourself how bald is beautiful. See nature's celebrities during Bald Eagle Watching Days in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Spy the majestic birds soaring around the open waters of the Wisconsin River, take a guided bus tour, wildlife photography seminar and enjoy birds of prey shows. There will also be conservation exhibits and opportunities to learn about Native American legends.

7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. River Arts Center, 105 9th Street, Prairie du Sac, Wis. Free. Call (800) 683-2453 or visit

Worth the trip

You can travel free to or from more than 70 cities in the US and Toronto courtesy of The intercity bus service serves up 200,000 free seats for travel between Wednesday, Jan. 4, and Thursday, March 1. The buses come with free Wi-Fi and power outlets for laptops, smartphones and tablets.

For free travel promotion use the promo code GOFREE at The offer is limited and subject to availability.

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