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posted: 1/15/2012 6:00 AM

On the road: Art Institute offers free days

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  • Enjoy free admission for Illinois residents every weekday through Feb. 10 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Enjoy free admission for Illinois residents every weekday through Feb. 10 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • See if Humpty Dumpty has a great fall at this year's Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in Rockford.

    See if Humpty Dumpty has a great fall at this year's Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in Rockford.



Home is where the art is

The holidays are over, but the Art Institute of Chicago has one more gift for Illinoisans. The museum is once again offering free admission for Illinois residents every weekday through Feb. 10. Find inspiration in special exhibitions such as "Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph" and "Traditional Japanese Musical Instruments." Enjoy a variety of gallery talks and lectures and even a special concert by the International Contemporary Ensemble.

10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Free admission weekdays through Feb. 10. (312) 443-3600 or

Dance fever

The contemporary dance companies Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street 2 (HS2) perform new works created by developing choreographers in Danc (e) volve: New Works Festival. The two-week festival features nine new works in two programs choreographed by Hubbard Street dancers and directors, along with a guest artist.

7:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, Jan. 19-22 and 26-29, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $35, $10 for students. Purchase tickets at the MCA Box Office at or call (312) 397-4010 and the Hubbard Street Box Office at

Go coo-coo for cocoa

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago presents a Weekday Winter Wellness offer to make good on New Year's resolutions and sweet chocolate treatments just in time for Valentine's Day. Enjoy a $30 savings when booking a 55- or 80-minute massage Mondays through Thursdays through March as well as a same-day complimentary pass for the pool and fitness center. After each treatment, savor the experience with a chocolate martini served in the spa's relaxation lounge.

8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 E. Delaware, Chicago. (312) 649-2340 or


Michelangelo on ice

Get an eyeful at the Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition held annually in Rockford. Teams from around the state compete for a chance to represent Illinois in the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition next year. Teams use axes, machetes, water buckets, scraping tools, ice chisels and shovels to create sculptures.

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, Jan. 18-21, at Sinnissippi Park, 1401 N. Main St., Rockford.

Days of wine and snows

Proving that the grape goes with anything, Hike the Vines is a combination afternoon snowshoe hike and wine tasting in Galena, Ill. Hike at your own pace through the Galena Cellars vineyard, and follow it up with a wine tasting accompanied by cheese and crackers. Get a group of eight or more together and make your own date.

Noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, and Feb. 4, 11 and 18 at Galena Cellars, 4746 N. Ford Road, Galena. Cost is $45 person and includes snowshoe rental, wine tasting and shuttle ride to and from the vineyard or $25 person if you bring your own snowshoes. Advanced reservations required. (815) 776-9425 or

Gals in sno-mo

Looking for adventure? Head out on the highway to the 26th Anniversary Annual Women on Snow Celebration, which is an opportunity for women of all ages and riding abilities to snowmobile northern Wisconsin's trails. The hosting lodge is Eagle River Inn and Resort in Eagle River, and the package is limited to the first 120 women. Meals, lodging and gas are included in the registration fee.

Friday to Sunday, Jan. 27-29, at Eagle River Inn, 5260 Wisconsin 70, Eagle River, Wis. Cost is $250 for the weekend. (800) 359-6315 or

Worth the trip

Head to spring training and root for the Cubs and Sox via an Arizona Spring Training by Rail tour, which combines the state's most popular sights and baseball tickets with round-trip rail travel aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief. The 10-day journey steps off in Chicago and travels to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and five days in Mesa to see three spring training baseball games. Reserved seats will be available for either the Chicago Cubs or White Sox.

Departs March 3. The per person rate is $1,529 and includes round-trip coach class rail transportation, hotel accommodations for seven nights, 11 meals, reserved seats to three Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox games and sightseeing round-trip motor coach transportation between Flagstaff and Mesa. (877) 929-7245 or visit

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