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Entries in holidays (64)


Spring Guide 2014: Easter Egg Hunts in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Note: Updated on April 18. Please scroll down to see events on Saturday, April 19.

Here's a list, in chronological order, of Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Egg Rolls and even an Easter Egg Drop in Chicago's far western suburbs! Note that several of these do require advance registration. Know of others that should be listed here? Please add in the comments!

Saturday April 12

ELBURN: The Elburn Lions Club sponsors an Easter Breakfast & Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 12. The "all you can eat" pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.is $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 through 11. The egg hunt is free, and starts at 9 a.m. with registration at Elburn Lions Park, with the egg hunt at 10 a.m. 

NORTH AURORA: The 4th annual Mooseheart Easter Egg Hunt will take place on Saturday, April 12, on the school stadium's turf. This is a free event, open to toddlers through 8 years old. Gates open at 10 a.m. and the hunt is scheduled for 11 a.m. Other activities scheduled to take place through 1 p.m. include pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting and bounce houses. The Easter Bunny will be available for visits, too. 

Photo by vanherdehaage on Flickr.

GENEVA: The Geneva Park District sponsors a free egg hunt at the Stephen Persinger Recreation Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 12. There are 5,000 eggs; the hunt is divided into two age groups: Ages 4 and under and 5 and up. Arrive early because parking is limited - this is a VERY popular event, and the hunt is over quite quickly. Event is held rain or shine.

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Holiday Guide 2013: Polar Express Trips in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Polar Express-themed train trips are so popular that many of them sell out as soon as details are announced in the summer. (Also, Warner Brothers Entertainment has been cracking down on the use of the "Polar Express" name, according to this newspaper article.)

But there are several options available that either still have tickets for sale or don't require a ticket in advance. Also, if you're looking for a town not listed here, or a different type of Polar Express event, make sure to check out the site Santa in Chicago and its "Santa on the Train" page. It's about as comprehensive as you could get. 


  • The "Candy Cane Express" is a new option in the area this year. (Or at least new to me.) It involves a ride on the Metra, accompanied by Santa and his elves, along with milk and cookies and carolers. I don't see a mention of "The Polar Express" on the website. 
  • Dates: Saturday, Dec. 7. Times vary, depending on which train location you are leaving from. (Options include Aurora, Naperville Downtown or Chicago Union Station; you return to the same station you leave from.)
  • Tickets: $25 per rider. Children under 1 ride free.
  • Details: This ride is 50 minutes long. You buy your tickets online for a specific train car. It does not look to include a reading of "The Polar Express." Candy Cane Express has partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; 20 percent of all profits from the event will benefit the hospital. 
  • More info: thecandycaneexpress.com, check out its Facebook page or write info@thecandycaneexpress.com.   

Photo by dkjd on Flickr.

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Holiday Guide 2013: Great Light Displays and Drives in Chicago's Western Suburbs

We've told you about where you can catch "The Nutcracker" this holiday season, and various live theater performances, too. We've also told you where your family can cut your own Christmas tree. Within a few days, we'll have info on spots to visit with Santa Claus and to see a holiday-themed movie. But first, how about we take a trip through the best Christmas light displays and drives in the western suburbs?

'Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum.' Photo by Tara Burghart.

LISLE: "Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum" is a brand-new addition to this list. It's also quite unique. I was fortunate to be able to check this attraction out a day before it officially opened at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, and we had a great time, even though it was a rainy night. My family got to "hug" a tree and see its lights grow brighter, sing to trees and see its lights change color and see our faces projected onto a screen of evergreens. The event takes place on a paved path, about one mile long, and will take most families about 90 minutes to complete. (There are warming stations where you can stand by a fire and buy concessions, too.) Tickets for non-members are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 through 17. Daytime Arboretum admission for the same day as your Illumination ticket is included with your ticket price. Illumination will open at 4:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 4, with the last entry at 8:30 p.m. (Event closed Nov. 28, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 24 and 25.) Advance ticket purchase is encouraged. 

NORTH AURORA: Mooseheart Child City & School in North Aurora will be holding its fourth annual "Holiday Lights" display from Nov. 29 through New Year’s Eve. The 80 displays, covering a 2-mile-long driving loop, will be lit from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. The tour through the display costs $10, but $2 off coupons are available on the website for those visiting Monday through Thursday. Santa Claus will also be in the Mooseheart Fieldhouse welcoming visitors from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 and 23. (You have to pay your admission fee and pass through the light display to visit Santa.) Proceeds from the event benefit Mooseheart's operating budget, including food, shelter, clothing, books and recreational activities for the children it serves. 

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Holiday Guide 2013: Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Options

If your family planning to cut your own Christmas tree this season, here are some options that come recommended by Go West readers. Please check the farm's website, or phone ahead, to make sure it's open when you plan to stop by and also that it offers the type of experience your family envisioned. Do you have another suggestion to make? Please do so in the comments! 

  • Camelot Christmas Tree Farm: 16380 S. Somonuak Road in DeKalb. 815-756-6559. (This got a number of mentions, was praised for its wonderful selection, friendly staff, free cookies and hot cider.)
  • Williams Tree Farm: 4661 Yale Bridge Road in Rockton. 800-423-NOEL. (A reader says "A little further out of the way, but we LOVE it here.)
  • Photo by Accretion Disc on Flickr.
  • Larson's Family Farm: 4404 Somonauk Road in Sandwich. 815-786-2249.
  • Spring Bluff Nursery: 41W130 Norris Road in Sugar Grove. 630-466-4278.  
  • Kuipers Family Farm: 1N318 Watson Road in Maple Park. 815-827-5200. 
  • Lee's Trees: 45W002 Lees Road in Lily Lake. 630-365-2116. (A reader says this spot offers cut-your-own trees and ready cut, as well as lots of pretty wreaths. You can have your photo taken every year, put it up on a wall and replace it with a current one the next year.)
  • Marmion's Abbey Farms: 850 Butterfield Road (IL Route 56) in Aurora. 630-936-0054.

Holiday Guide 2013: Festivals, Celebrations and Events in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Special thanks goes out to Goldfish Swim School of St. Charles for making this Holiday Guide possible. Goldfish offers small class sizes, a pool kept at 90 degrees to make the water inviting, and instruction for children of various ages and stages. It also offers regular "open swim" sessions that are free to families enrolled in classes.

Here's a chronological list of Christmas and holiday celebrations taking place over the next month in Chicago's far western suburbs. Have others to add? Please do so in the comments!


ST. CHARLES: The annual Holiday Homecoming in downtown St. Charles takes place over two days. The "Lighting of the Lights" on 1st Street Plaza will happen at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, featuring performances by high school chorales and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus. On Saturday, Nov. 30, The Arcada Theatre will show "The Polar Express" at 10:30 a.m. (Seating begins at 9:30 a.m.) There will be free horse-drawn sleigh rides leaving from the 1st Street Plaza on Saturday afternoon, and visits at Santa's House, too. The Electric Christmas Parade will step off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, traveling along Main Street between 6th Street and 4th Avenue. Get more detailed info here.

WHEATON: The "Dickens of a Christmas Celebration" in downtown Wheaton kicks off with a lighted holiday parade on Friday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. Santa Claus, city officials and carton characters will parade south on Wheaton Avenue and east along Front Street. Carriage rides and visits with Santa will take place Saturday, Nov. 30, at Martin Memorial Plaza with special holiday activities continuing every Saturday through Dec. 21. The town's "Dickens of a Christmas Stroll" is Saturday, Dec. 7, and will feature ice sculptures, carriage rides, caroling and other family fun. Find more info here

Photo by webmink on Flickr.

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