There’s so much to do in our region! Here are some exciting recreation events happening this season.
Due to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19, please check before attending an event. Virtual events are listed where possible.
Garfield Farm Museum
Ongoing. Private tours of the barns and grounds available to same household individuals by appointment. Reservations required. Garfield Farm Museum, 3N016 Garfield Road, LaFox, (630) 584-8485, garfieldfarm.org.
The Holiday Lights Experience
Through Dec. 20, Sat.-Sun. 5-8 p.m. Visitors drive through the museum campus to view a fully illuminated freight train and lots of decorations. Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union, (815) 923-4391, irm.org.
Elgin Festival of Lights
Through Dec. 27, 5-9 p.m. Share some holiday cheer, with lots of lights dancing to holiday-themed songs. Festival Park, 132 S. Grove Ave., Elgin, cityofelgin.org.
Hideaway Brew Garden
Through Jan. 2. See website for performance times. This open-air, heated pop-up market offers a wide range of craft beers, signature drinks and tacos; live entertainment and theme nights. Now Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy., Hoffmann Estates, (888) 732-7784, nowarena.com.
Woodstock Winter Farmers Market
Through March, select Saturdays. See website for times/dates. Featuring products that are grown, produced or made by local farmers or artisans, including baked goods, honey, eggs and cheeses. Other products offered include soaps, body products and flowers. McHenry County Fairgrounds, 12015 Country Club Road, Woodstock, woodstockfarmersmarket.org.
Holiday Night Hike
Dec. 18-19, 4:30 p.m. Don your warm duds and go for a hike in Veteran Acres. Register online. Crystal Lake Park District, Veteran Acres, 431 Walkup Ave., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Woodland Family Hike
Dec. 19-20, 11 a.m.-noon or 2-3 p.m. Discover the sounds of the winter landscape, then warm up with s’mores, hot chocolate and a winter-themed musical play-along. Register online. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Ill. Rt. 53, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.
Winter Woods Walk
Dec. 20 and Sundays in Jan. and Feb., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Bundle up and get out in nature with a peaceful, self-guided walk through the McDonald woods; then warm up by the fire at the shelter. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, (847) 835-5440, chicagobotanic.org.
Winter Solstice Virtual Program
Dec. 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Learn about the science and symbolism of the shortest day on the calendar. Includes multisensory activities. Register online. Lake County Forest Preserve District, 1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, (847) 367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Ice Age Mysteries Virtual Program
Dec. 22, 10-11 a.m.; Dec. 29, 2-3 p.m. A museum educator gives participants a closer look at Ice Age mammal casts and explains the difference between mammoths and mastodons. Online event. Info/Register: Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, (847) 367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Holiday Lights Tour
Through Jan. 3, dusk-10 p.m. Pack up the kids and drive by the displays lighting up homes in St. Charles. Map guide online at stcparks.org/holiday-lights-tour. Info: St. Charles Park District, stcparks.org.
Long Grove 5K Virtual Run/Walk
Jan. 1-30. Support Orphans of the Storm Animal Shelter and start the new year with a healthy activity. Register online. Info/Register: Historic Long Grove Village, Old McHenry Road, (847) 634-0888, longgroveonline.com.
Kames Kickoff Hike
Jan. 2, 9-10:30 a.m. Hike up to the kames (mounds of soil and gravel deposited by glaciers) of the park before heading back to the visitor center. Register online. Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
After School Adventures
Jan. 7, 3:45-5:15 p.m. See website for other dates and locations. Time to get outside and explore, take a hike and play games. Ages 5-12. Register online. Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Family Scavenger Hunt
Jan. 9, 11-a.m.-1 p.m. Bring the family out for a fun adventure. Pick up a map and head out to find the required items to get a prize. Register online. Rush Creek Conservation Area, 20501 McGuire Road, Harvard, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Storytime on the Trail
Jan. 9, 2:30-4 p.m. Children 2-6 enjoy an interactive adventure, exploring with the characters from “The Mitten,” a book about a boy whose grandma knits him a pair of mittens, but he loses one while playing in the snow. Woodland animals take advantage of a place to get warm. Hike with craft and outdoor exploration activities. Register online. Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Jan. 16, see website for ticket times. Held in the historic buildings at the settlement, the showcase can help brides and grooms find out how to make their special day one to remember. Consult with photographers, florists, musicians, caterers and more. Register online. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.museum.org.
Rags the Dog Virtual Program
Jan. 18, 10-11 a.m. Children 4-7 enjoy the story of Rags, a hero dog in World War I who ended up becoming the mascot at Fort Sheridan. Includes songs and crafts to try at home. Virtual Program. Register online. Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, (847) 367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Demystifying Bread Online
Jan. 20, 7-8 p.m. Jessica Ellington, executive pastry chef, will help you discover tricks and tips so your bread recipes bake up reliably. Learn the difference between active and dry yeast, the differences in flours and when your dough has been sufficiently kneaded or proofed. Register online. Virtual program. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, (847) 835-5440, chicagobotanic.org.
Jan. 21, 10-11 a.m. Children 2-6 hear a story about winter when the world is covered in snow. Then they take a hike to find the signs of animals they learned about in the story. Register online. Stickney Run Conservation Area, 3216 State Park Road, McHenry, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Jan. 23, 10-11:30 a.m. Do you want to build a snowman or snow volcano, or learn how no two snowflakes are the same? Ages 7-12. Register online. Rush Creek Conservation Area, Harvard, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Howl at the Moon
Jan. 29, 7-8:30 p.m. Explore the woods at night with or without your favorite leashed furry friend. Let the moon guide the way. Coral Woods, 7400 Somerset, Marengo, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Family Golf Event
Jan. 30, 10 a.m. Bring the family for mini-golf challenges and opportunities to win prizes while playing the 18-hole course. Register online. Lippold Family Golf Center, 1251 W. Rt. 176, Crystal Lake, Crystal Lake Park District, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Jan. 30, 1-4:15 p.m. Choose from a variety of classes including ceramics, blacksmithing, chain maille, book making, basket making and many more. See website for additional classes and times. Fine Line Creative Arts Center, 37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles, (630) 584-9443, fineline.org.
Dog Admission Day
Jan. 31, 7 a.m.-sunset. Enjoy a stroll through the grounds with your leashed pup. Morton Arboretum, Lisle, (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.
Woodstock Groundhog Days
Jan. 29-Feb. 2, events daily. Celebrate Groundhog Day and Woodstock’s role in the Bill Murray film with trivia, filming site tours and Woodstock Willie’s annual prognostication. Various locations, Woodstock, (815) 334-2620, woodstockgroundhog.org.
Feb. 2, 10-11 a.m. Kids 2-6 enjoy fun educational activities focused on the theme of groundhogs. Lost Valley Visitor Center, Glacial Park, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 678-4532, mccdistrict.org.
Elizabeth Keckley Seamstress Virtual Program
Feb. 4, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Historic re-enactor Marlene Rivero brings to life ex-slave Elizabeth Keckley, who gained a reputation as a first-rate tailor and dressmaker and who did work for President Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. Register online. Virtual Program. Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, 847-367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Winter Bird Hike
Feb. 6, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Look for those birds that don’t migrate to warmer climates for the winter. Bring binoculars if you have them. Register online. Brookdale Conservation Area, 18410 U.S. Hwy. 14, Woodstock, (815) 338-6223, mccdistrict.org.
Feb. 6, 2-3:30 p.m. Learn about the former inhabitants of various areas of the park, visit the Weidrich barn, the kettle marsh, the old main office, the Thomas cemetery and more. Register online. Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
The Blodgett Brothers
Feb. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. In this virtual program, hear the stories of one of Waukegan’s early families, the Blodgetts, including their involvement in anti-slavery societies, the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Waukegan. Register online. Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, 847-367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Feb. 12-13, 5-9 p.m. Cross-country ski on trails lit only by candlelight. Skiers of all levels welcome; bring your equipment. Gather around the campfire for refreshments after your time on the trail. In case of insufficient snow, enjoy a hike and campfire refreshments. Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Chili Open Golf Classic
Feb. 13, 8 a.m. Golfers play a nine-hole, par-32 course on the frozen lake. All foursomes receive a gift and a bowl of chili to go. Register online. Main Beach, 300 Lakeshore Dr., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Snow Volleyball Tournament
Feb. 13, 10 a.m. Participants 21 and over enjoy organized volleyball games in the snow with breaks for hot chili and cold adult beverages. All teams are guaranteed at least four games; awards are for championship teams, and a national bid is given to the top team in each division. Register online. Crystal Lake Park District, Crystal Lake, (815) 459-0680, crystallakeparks.org.
Winter is Ever Green
Feb. 21, 10-11 a.m. Evergreens are some of the only trees to keep their leaves during the winter months. Find out how they stay green all year long. Register online. Pleasant Valley Conservation Area, Woodstock, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Feb. 23, 7-8:30 p.m. Get online and show off your nature knowledge. Grab some friends to make a team or make new friends on a created team. Register online. Virtual event. McHenry County Conservation District, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Maple Tree Tapping Virtual Program
Feb. 28, 2-3 p.m. Witness the tapping of sugar maple trees at Ryerson Woods and learn about how trees work and the sweet science behind making real maple syrup. Register online. Virtual program. Lake County Forest Preserve District, Libertyville, (847)367-6640, lcfpd.com.
Tapping into Nature
Feb. 28, 2-3:30 p.m. During this annual Festival of the Sugar Maples, participants learn how to correctly select a tree, place a tap, and use the proper equipment to complete the process, then work together to tap some of the trees. Register online. Coral Woods, Marengo, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.
Festival of the Sugar Maples
March 6-7 & 13-14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Hear how maple syrup was made hundreds of years ago, discover how maple trees produce sap each spring and how sap is collected from the trees; then see how the syrup is made at the evaporator house. Coral Woods, Marengo, (815) 479-5779, mccdistrict.org.