Northerly Island is the perfectly named place for a day of outdoor winter activities courtesy of the Chicago Park District's eighth annual Polar Adventure Days. The fun, family event features enough action to warm the body and the brain: meet and learn about live animals like wolves and birds of prey; see Siberian huskies from Free Spirit Siberian Rescue and hear dog sled racers talk about their Iditarod race experiences; enjoy live entertainment from the Old Town School of Folk Music; and create nature-inspired crafts. Events take place both outdoors and inside the visitor center.
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 8, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16 at Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago. Free admission. Limited parking available for $3. (312) 742-7529.
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One of a Kind Show
The 12th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale Chicago is an alternative to traditional retail shopping and a place to find one-of-a-kind gifts. More than 600 artists from across North America bring their handmade creations to this year's show, offering a wide range of media and categories including accessories, ceramics, fashion, fiber art, furniture, glass, gourmet treats, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, wood and more. Artists will be on hand, plus there will be craft demonstrations, a crafting workshop, fashion shows and live music.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 6-7; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago. Adult admission is $12, seniors $9, special park and show packages $30. (312) 527-4141 or oneofakindshowchicago.com.
Night with the Nutcracker
The JW Marriott Chicago, a hotel in the heart of the Chicago Loop, offers "A Night at the Nutcracker" package that includes an overnight stay, two VIP tickets to a performance of the "Nutcracker" with the Joffrey Ballet and perks such as a signed pointe shoe and photo from one of the ballerinas. Younger dancers will also enjoy a hot chocolate nightcap, ballerina welcome cookies and breakfast for two the next day.
Friday, Dec. 7, to Tuesday, Dec. 27, at JW Marriott Chicago, 151 W. Adams St., Chicago. Rate for the package for two is $475 using the code ZZLO. (312) 660-8200 or jwmarriottchicago.com.
Santa Claus arrives on a tugboat at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum during the Christmas Tree Ship Celebration in Manitowoc, Wis. Santa boards the ship with Christmas trees, crafts and choruses singing seasonal carols. This is the 100th anniversary year of the sinking of the Christmas tree ship, Rouse Simmons. Visitors will be able to hear ballads and tales, along with enjoying Great Lakes singer Lee Murdock.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at 75 Maritime Drive, Manitowoc. Free. (866) 724-2356 or wisconsinmaritime.org/special-events.
Spirit of Christmas Past
Many of the village buildings at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wis., will be busy with holiday preparations and a special Christmas dinner. The compound of pioneer homesteads adjacent to Kettle Moraine State Forest will feature Father Christmas strolling the homes, Christmas carols in St. Peter's Church and the Thomas General Store stocked with special items for the holidays. Visitors will be able to sample old-fashioned food and make traditional crafts, shop and learn the origins of many of today's holiday customs.
Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, at W372 S9727 Hwy. 67, Eagle, Wis. Admission is $5 per person, children 4 and younger admitted free. (262) 594-6300 or oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org.