Winter Break in Lake County 2018

Your youngsters will have plenty to do during winter break in Lake County 2018 with all of the presents Santa drops off

From December 26-January 6, there are plenty of kid-tivities in Lake County during the holiday break.

It is splendid to have the entire family together for the holidays, but the grown-ups need their time off too.

For the little whippersnappers (and old whippersnappers), winter break in Lake County 2018 is a good excuse for everyone to get some exercise to work off the delicious eats during the holiday season.

While you prepare for the holidays, here are the top events during winter break in Lake County 2018.


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Catch these views in person this weekend! 😍👍

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Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America kicks off their inaugural Holiday in the Park event this year. This festival runs from now-December 31. The new holiday party will transform the park into a winter wonderland featuring millions of dazzling lights, a beautiful Christmas tree (5 p.m. lighting every night), festive entertainment and of course, rides on a world-class roller coaster.

Now-December 31; 2-8 p.m. or 2-9 p.m. Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy., Gurnee.

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow outside for all we care, because, inside Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, the temperature is 84 degrees. The event is full of holiday season activities like visit’s with Mr. Claus, shining, shimmering decorations, Snow ‘N’ Glow Dance Parties, a life-sized gingerbread house and so much more. Book your family vacay now!

Through January 4, 2019. Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, 1700 Nations Dr., Gurnee.


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Santa’s Rock n Lights 🌲🎁

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Santa’s Rock N Lights at the Lake County Fairgrounds

Get your last fill of the holiday illuminations at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center grounds. The Grayslake drive-thru format showcases a superbly lit spectacle. The route is nearly a mile of 100,000 animated lights synced to holiday music.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest

Lake Forest’s Citadel Theatre raises its curtains to this year’s holiday musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The musical created by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber turns half a century old this year. A story based on the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Joseph received a coat from his father, Jacob. This gaudy garb filled Joseph’s 11 brothers with jealousy because the coat symbolized that the show’s protagonist would assume administrative control of the family. His outraged siblings ultimately fail in an assassination attempt, so they sell him into slavery to the Egyptians. See how Joseph overcomes his adversity in the classic holiday hit. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” runs on select days through December 30 (it was extended one more week).

Through December 30. Admission: $45. Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest.

Dickens Holiday and Kringle’s Christmas Villages in Antioch

“Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.” Old Jacob Marley and a cast of other memorable Charles Dickens characters are lined along Main and Lake Streets in Antioch to offer visitors a cheerio to the holiday. This Olde English public art exhibit has around 45 lifelike mannequins spread along the streets displaying over 25 different storylines and acting out different Dickens scenes. Get the “bah humbug” out of your soul with this elegant display. After Dickens’ “spirits of all three shall strive within you” at his wax figure exhibit, mosey on over to Piggly Wiggly’s Plaza across town to experience more of the Christmas spirit. As the night falls in the afternoon, visitors can browse the magnificently illuminated shadowboxes. In its new location now indoors, the scenes in these boxes provides that nostalgia you attained when enjoying downtown Chicago’s Marshall Fields windows.

Dickens Village through December 31, Kringle’s Village through January 1. Downtown Antioch.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Wonderland Express

All Aboard! Chicago Botanic Garden has the little engines that can with the Wonderland Express. The renowned train set resides inside the Regenstein Center. The collection designed by Paul Busse spans 10,000 square-feet and is equipped with miniature trains, bridges, trestles, waterfalls and 80 mini-replicas of Chicago’s favorite landmarks. This event also features ice carvings, excellent music from carolers and for the kiddie:, Thomas the Tank Engine.

Through January 7, 2019; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission $8-$13. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.

Visit a Lake County Museums

Lake County, Illinois is loaded with history. It is home to some of the oldest structures in the Land of Lincoln like Casper Ott Cabin in Deerfield (1837), the Mother Rudd House (1841), the Haines House (1843; which is currently the Waukegan History Museum) and Village Tavern in Long Grove (1849). Get your youngster educated in the county just north of Chicago. Here are some of Lake County’s history havens and exhibits to check out.


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Doing some skating over Thanksgiving!

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Lake County Park Districts

Various Events

There’s plenty to do in during winter break. Here is a list of the different events hosted by the Lake County Park Districts, i.e. Waukegan Park District, Park District of Highland Park, Mundelein Park District and more.

  • Crate Stacking in Highland Park (Dec. 27)
  • Noon Year’s Celebration in Highland Park (Dec. 28)
  • Polar Plunge in Waukegan (Jan. 1)
  • Blizzard Bash in Highland Park (Jan. 2)
  • Grins, Giggles and Gags in Highland Park (Jan. 3)
  • Family Skate Night in Highland Park (Jan. 3)
  • New Year, New You Dance-a-thon in Mundelein (Jan. 5)


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winter fairy tale ❄️

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Fun in the Snow

Various Lake County locations

Once the snow hits the ground, kids (and children at heart) gravitate towards any hill that has a slight incline to race their friends and family. It’s that time of year to inflate that inner tube or dust off that sled and zip through the snow. Here are the top 10 sledding/tubing locations in Lake County

  • Old School Forest Preserve
  • Century Park Sled Hill
  • Wilmot Mountain
  • Wadsworth Sled Hill near Village Hall
  • Hart’s Hill
  • Paulus Park
  • Lake Villa Sled Hill at Caboose Hill
  • Blair Park in Lake Bluff
  • Keith Mione Community Park and Sports Complex
  • Warren Township Sled Hill

Tilt Studio

Want to escape reality and hunt down villains in a video game? Tilt Studio features 180 video and interactive games, laser tag and 18-holes glow in the dark mini golf. Host your group events or birthday parties at the Gurnee Mills facility, and their several party packages will knock your socks off. Besides all of the amenities, they do make a mean pizza. Do your best triple lutz on the frozen water as it is the perfect season to go ice skating.

Tilt Studio, 6152 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee.

Nova VR in Grayslake

This Grayslake lounge is the perfect place to break away from reality during your kid’s spring break. It is the first virtual reality location in Lake County. Play with some critters under the sea, zap some earth invaders, paint a magnificent mural: everything is just at the touch of your fingertips at this state of the art gaming lounge.

Nova VR Lounge, 1826 E. Belvidere Rd., Grayslake.


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WhirlyBall is happening next Sunday (Oct. 28)! Sign up now to claim your spot. Link in bio. #whirlyball #youthgroup #highschool

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Whiryball is a game of modified basketball, hockey and lacrosse while driving on bumper cars. The Vernon Hills facility accommodates up to 400+ guests and has a climbing wall, video games, pool tables, a complete food/beverage menu and a fully-loaded sports bar.

WhirlyBall Vernon Hills, 285 Center Dr., Vernon Hills.

Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire

Shrek the Musical

All of the favorites, Shrek the Ogre, Fiona, Donkey and a host of other storybook characters grace the stage. The story follows a crotchety green ogre who only wants to live in solitude and away from his neighbors like the three little pigs, three blind mice, the gingerbread man and a slew of other characters that continuously wander onto his property. The king recruits Shrek to save the princess (from a Rapunzel-like tower) from a fire-breathing dragon and bring her to safety so she can be royally wed. Follow Shrek and Donkey on their hi-jinks journey to deliver Fiona to the castle in this fun-filled all-ages show.

Now-December 30; Various times. Various admissions. Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire.


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Uniquely Sweet

We’re all a softy for toffee. Your wee ones have the opportunity to create their own sweet treat. On Tuesdays, the Grayslake confectionery company teaches individuals how to make toffee. Not to mention Uniquely Sweet creates some of the finest, decadent treats visitors can indulge in. Their specialties include dipped fruit, cookies, grahams, gourmet popcorn, toffee varieties, patties, clusters and so much more.


Lake County Forest Preserves

Various Events

Winter showcases the sounds of the creatures that call Lake County home. Bundle up and learn about these fantastic animals, trees and more.

  • Restoration Work Day: Native Seed Nursery in Grayslake (Dec. 26-27, Jan. 2 )
  • Restoration Work Day at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa (Dec. 27)
  • Family Crafts at Dunn Museum (Dec 28)
  • Lunchtime Tours: Settlement of Lake County at Dunn Museum (Dec. 28)
  • Restoration Work Day at Heron Creek in Lake Zurich (Dec. 29 & 31)
  • Playdate with Nature at Old School Forest Preserve (Jan. 3)
  • New Year’s Celebration at Dunn Museum (Jan. 3)
  • Museum Curiosity Stations at Dunn Museum (Jan. 4)
  • Walk with a Naturalist: Independence Grove in Libertyville

The hair twist/flip at the end though…… @tranch25 #jumpamerica #trampoline

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Jump America

Jump America features over 16,000 square feet of trampolines including two dodgeball courts, a foam jumping pit, a kids zone, and more! This impressive Gurnee facility designed for kids from age 4 and up. Jump America is great for adults too.

Jump America, 880 Lakeside Dr., Gurnee.

More at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Events Center

Great Train Show

In Lake County, we always celebrate trains during the holiday season. As your friends and family ring in the new year, you can take care of their tickets to the Great Train Show at the Grayslake fairgrounds. The show features 250+ tables of trains, 50+ exhibitors, two unbelievable LEGO layouts and free rides on Thomas the Tank Engine for kids of all ages.

Saturday-Sunday, December 29-30; Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center, 160 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake.

Waukegan Municipal Beach

Polar Bear Plunge

Tis the season to be freezin.’ Already Lake County has been hit with a lot of snow and low mercury temps. Kick 2018 off by chilling in the 19th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Waukegan. This Waukegan Municipal Beach event awards a polar plunge shirt to the first 500 brave souls that take a dip in the drink. Water shoes or other footwear are required. Food, hot chocolate and polar bear hats will be sold on site. If you’re not enticed by a frigid hug with Lake Michigan, cheer your friends and family from slightly warmer shores. Preregistration is $15.

Tuesday, January 1; Preregistration at 9 a.m., Plunge 10-11 a.m. Admission: $20, $15 in advance. Waukegan Municipal Beach, 201 Sea Horse Dr., Waukegan.

More From Chicago Botanic Garden

Winter Break Camp

Besides Wonderland Express, children can engage in exciting hands-on indoor and outdoor activities while discovering the Garden in winter. Youngsters will investigate the weather, explore seasonal adaptations of plants and animals, enjoy a visit to their Wonderland Express holiday exhibition, and dabble in art. Grades K-5 are invited. Hurry and apply now, because many of the camps are sold out.

January 2-4; 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe.

Kristof’s Entertainment Center

Gobble, gobble. Is someone trying to get a turkey? Even though mini golf, the batting cages and go-karts are closed for the season, doesn’t mean the Round Lake Beach center isn’t the place to be over winter break. Bowl a couple games in space challenging your friends and family to cosmic bowling, pick up your sticks in the arcade or hit the eight ball in the corner pocket in a game of pool.

For more activities during winter break in Lake County 2018, continue here.

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