If it's the Festival of the Sugar Maples, spring is right around the corner. Join the McHenry County Conservation District's fun and educational program to discover how syrup is made from the sap of maple trees. Learn how maple syrup was made hundreds of years ago, how maple trees produce sap and how it is collected each year. You'll finish with a taste of fresh Coral Woods maple syrup. Dress for a half-mile hike on a rugged nature trail.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3 and 9-10. Free tours leave every 15 minutes at Coral Woods Conservation Area, 7400 Somerset, Marengo. (815) 479-5779 or mccdistrict.org.
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Klondike Cold Rush
Wisconsin's No. 1 winter festival precludes the need to travel to the Yukon to celebrate Klondike Days. The 23rd annual Trig's Klondike Days features a rush of events including a historic rendezvous encampment, lumberjack competitions, dogs and horses pulling weighted sleds, Native American dance performances, a craft show, snowshoe races, chain saw and ice carvings, bluegrass music festival and lots of food. For the kids, there are free horse and pony rides, hay rides, dog sleds and sleigh rides.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, in Eagle River, Wis. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $40 for a family, $6 for kids 6 to 16, free for those younger than 6. (715) 891-2679 or klondikedays.org.
She sells sea shells by the sea shore
Spit out a peck of pickled peppers at the 13th International Tongue Twister Contest in downtown Burlington, Wis. The event, held at the Logic Puzzle Museum, features age divisions and offers prizes for winners and door prizes for everyone. How many classic and modern tongue twisters can you say in less than 10 seconds?
2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, 533 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington, Wis. Admission is $6. (262) 763-3946 or logicpuzzlemuseum.org.
How about combining a visit to the Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier with a cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago? Cruises include food, views of the skyline and flower demonstrations by a professional florist. There's also DJ entertainment and an array of menu items including appetizers, entrees and desserts. Tickets include admission to the Flower and Garden show.
11 a.m. cruise runs from noon to 2 p.m. every day, March 9-17, at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. Weekend Flower & Garden Show Lunch Cruises cost $48.90 per person; $45.90 on weekdays. (866) 273-2469 or spiritofchicago.com.
Chicago Fun Family Palooza is a two-day event filled with hands-on activities, games and entertainment options hosted by Pheasant Run Resort. Fly along a 200-foot indoor zip-line, bounce on inflatables and enjoy carnival rides and attractions for all ages. There also will be magicians, game shows and interactive performances live on the Family Palooza Stage. Little ones will enjoy the Choo Choo Express trackless train, petting zoo and pony rides, while older siblings can test their skills on a rock climbing wall and the mini golf course. Stop by for the day or book a getaway package for the weekend.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, at Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. General admission is $8 or $15 for an unlimited activity wristband. (630) 584-6300 or chicagofun.com/palooza or pheasantrun.com.
Beached in Chicago
If the beach isn't in the stars this spring, take the kids to one of the Hilton hotels in Chicago offering kid-friendly hotel packages that include discounts and amusing amenities. For example, the Conrad Kid's Camp-in at Conrad Chicago includes a knapsack, flashlight, sleeping bag, bed tent and constellation night light, Barrel of Monkeys game, lantern, scribble T-shirt, s'more trail mix and a thermos for milk or hot chocolate. Other possibilities include the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago -- Magnificent Mile Navy Pier Family Package; Family Package at Hilton Chicago; and an American Girl Place Package at three Hilton hotels.
The promotions run through March 31 and start at $149 a night. chillcation.com/.