Wonders of the cosmos
Cosmic wonder isn't something you left back in the 1970s -- it's a new show at the Adler Planetarium that tells the story of how humans have pieced together an understanding of the cosmos. Presented in one of the world's most technologically advanced dome theaters, "Cosmic Wonder" begins with a naked-eye tour of the night sky using constellations as a road map and explains how ancient observatories, telescopes and modern devices have advanced space exploration. Witness the Crab nebula as it descends, zoom into Orion the Hunter and zero in on a small patch of the night sky as you are surrounded by the Hubble Extreme Deep Field image containing more than 5,500 galaxies.
Planetarium hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Show runs May 17 to April 1, 2014, at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Premium Pass, which includes general admission, "Cosmic Wonder," one additional show, access to all exhibitions and the Atwood Experience, costs $28 for adults; $26 for seniors and students with ID; and $22 for children (ages 3-11). (312) 922-7827 or www.adlerplanetarium.org.
Hotel and boat tour package
Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for touring the city and the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza hotel and Entertainment Cruises have introduced an Architectural Tour package. The package includes overnight accommodations at the River North hotel and two tickets for the Seadog Architectural tour, a 75-minute river and lake tour on a speedboat where you'll see the Chicago skyline while enjoying a narrated tour (dogs cruise free).
Through Oct. 31 at 350 W. Mart Center, Chicago. Rates start at $249. Use booking code: IJHD1. (312) 836-5000 or www.martplaza.com.
The good kind of clog
Enjoy the Orange City Tulip Festival, which not only celebrates spring but also the best of small-town America. The Iowa community's rich Dutch heritage emerges in a big way with music and dancing by hundreds of children and adults donning intricate authentic costumes, two daily parades featuring marching bands and nightly musical theater. Kids will be drawn to the carnival midway and everyone can enjoy the ethnic food, countless tulips and a dozen reproduction windmills throughout the village.
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 16-18, in downtown Orange City, Iowa. (712) 707-4510 or www.octulipfestival.com.
Stoughton, Wis., (just south of Madison) celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day during the annual Syttende Mai (May 17th) festival, one of the largest fests of its kind in North America. Held on the weekend closest to that date, the festival dates back to1868, when Norwegian immigration to the area was reaching its peak. There will be folks dressed in authentic Norse costumes, folk dancing performances by the Stoughton Norwegian Dancers, exhibits of Norwegian rosemaling painting and needlework, woodcarving, a Norse costume style show, a smorgasbord of Norwegian foods, a variety of musical performances and a canoe race. There also will be an arts and crafts fair, quilt show, parade, embroidery exhibit and demonstration, and Krumkake demonstrations to see how the sweet treats are made.
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, May 17; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 18; and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at 532 E. Main St., Stoughton, Wis. (888) 873-7912 or www.stoughtonwi.com.
Roll out the barrel at the Wisconsin State Polka Festival, which features big bands offering Dutch, Polish, Czech, Slovenian and German style polka music. Performers include Gary & The Ridgeland Dutchmen, Chad & the Polka Rhythms, Hauser's Hotshots, Squeezebox, Becky & The Ivanhoe Dutchmen, Rhythm Playboys & Karl Hartwig and The Top Notchmen. There are two huge wooden dance floors, food including a Friday fish bake and a Sunday polka mass.
4 p.m. to midnight Friday, May 17; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, May 18; and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Road, Oconomowoc, Wis. Three-day pass costs $35; Friday or Sunday admission is $12; Saturday, $15; kids younger than 14 admitted free. (262) 894-6998 or www.wisconsinpolkaboosters.com.