Com-fort-able in the city
If you have kids -- or were a kid -- you understand the attraction and fun of building forts. The Chicago Children's Museum has brought back its Forts exhibit, offering building materials just this side of nirvana: stairs-to-nowhere, headboards, cabinets, doors, and lots of everyday materials. There are costumes and props as well, so get ready to be here for quite awhile.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Wednesday and 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday for Kraft Free Family Night now through April 20 at the Chicago Children's Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave. Admission is $13-$14, free for tots younger than 1. (312) 464-7680 or chicago childrensmuseum.org.
Hey, the water's great!
You might not want to immerse yourself in glacial water for fun, or even on a triple-dog-dare. But you might jump in the lake for charity. The Chicago Polar Plunge is a memorable way for individuals, organizations and businesses to support Special Olympics Chicago. Basically, you plunge, dip or walk yourself into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan with 2,000 other nuts. But by doing so, you raise funds for nearly 5,000 Special Olympics athletes. Plungers are asked to have at least $150 in either pledges or donations to jump. There are prizes for the most money raised, most participants and best costume.
10 a.m. Sunday, March 2, at North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive. (312) 527-3743 or sochicago.org/chicago-polar-plunge.
No small crawl
Join The World's Largest Indoor Bar Crawl as Navy Pier partners with Players Sport & Social Group for a warm escape from winter. Seven bars at Navy Pier offer low-priced beer and winter cocktails, food specials, entertainment and much more. Walk the Pier and move from bar to bar while remaining indoors. Your ticket entry to the Crawl includes two beer tickets, drink specials and entertainment including live music, games, raffles and prizes.
When you get lemons, make lemonade. And when the snow melts at a ski resort, you hold a Slush Cup. Michigan's Shanty Creek Resort offers its most popular winter event -- when skiers compete to see who can get up enough speed to make it across a 40-foot pond filled with icy waist-deep water. The Monster Energy Slush Cup Weekend at Schuss Mountain has hosted Midwesterners for more than 30 years with the main event as well as the Frozen Fish Toss, Shovel Racing, Fruity Suity, Seal Slide and the Silly Slalom.
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Shanty Creek Resort, Bellaire, Mich. For lodging packages and special offers, visit shantycreek.com or call (800) 678-4111.
Pass the pounded cheese
There weren't any golden arches (or even electric lights by which to see your burger) in the early 1800s. Experience an interactive 19th-century candlelight feast served inside the historic Conner House at Connor Prairie in Indiana. You'll prepare recipes straight from the pages of a 19th-century cookbook, including spiced cider, popcorn, pounded cheese, soup with soppets, rump of beef with forcemeat, carrots the Dutch way, and more. You'll also tour the historic 1823 Conner House, enjoy entertainment in the parlor, and learn about life in 19th-century Indiana from costumed hosts. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through March at 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, Ind. Cost is $60 per person, and reservations are required. (317) 776-6006 or conner prairie.org.
Put a sock in it
Everyone is semi-delirious from the long, cold winter, so the 2014 Sock Monkey Madness Festival seems to fit right in. Explore why the popular Sock Monkey is important to Rockford's history at Midway Village Museum during the all-ages event. It's a celebration of Rockford's Red Heel Sock: make your own Sock Monkey or get accessories to take home; join the Miss Sockford Pageant; and shop for unique items.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, March 1-2, at Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford. Admission is $7 adults, $5 kids 3-17. midway village.com or (815) 397-9112.