Tuesday November 21st 2017

“Winter Wonderfest scores again- Navy Pier is THE place for having fun!

navy_pier_wwf_1200x800_5It is hard to imagine, BUT, the annual Winter Wonderfest indoor amusement attraction at Navy Pier is celebrating 16 years of bringing joy to Chicago area ( and its many visitors) families. Spending Christmas day with my twin grand daughters, Allison and Caitlin, now 20, reminded me that I have been attending since the very first (sponsored by LaSalle Bank, back in the day). Today, the day after Christmas, we took our youngest grand daughters, Sarah and Rebecca. We had an absolute blast.ww2

For those unfamiliar with this attraction, they take the entire exhibit hall areas and erect a 170,000 square foot amusement park, indoors, including an ice skating rink (Chicago Blackhawks, of course) , an indoor Ferris wheel, Tilt-o-whirl, Carousel, all types of slides, an amazing ride called the Cliff Hanger ( I dared not try this one), and Zero Gravity (like the old Rotor). The rock climbing attraction was one that many enjoyed as they were allowed to test their skills on several climbing items. Lots of family activities and bounce houses. They even have a special section of bouncies for the little ones as well as a train ride and indoor mini-golf.np2

Just to ensure a memorable visit, Santa and Mrs. Claus were  around thru the 24th and there are a great number of photo ops so that keepsakes can be added to your family album (or you might opt to start one). The “Hot Cocoa Cups is a fun ride and of course, what kid doesn’t want to create their own Christmas/Holiday cookie. Many rides are geared for those who are 48″ or taller, but there are also many for the 36” rider as well (and some where a parent must ride with the child (which is the right thing to do).

ww3Concessions are readily available throughout the amusement area and of course, if you need to go to the Pier “proper”, to dine, there is no problem doing so. In fact, a break can be good if spending the entire day at Winter Wonderfest. I am not an ice skater, so the girls went on their own. I watched them closely and Jane stayed along the fence (on skates) just in case she was needed. She was not, and in fact, Sarah, who has taken some skating classes, truly showed off how graceful she is and was able to help guide Rebecca through some rough falls. Nothing like the holidays to bring out “sisterly love”.

The slides were fun and the rock climbing a major hit. But it may have been the visit to the concession areas that gave them the lift they needed. Every kid’s favorites were readily available , and guess what? They were tasty. Funnel Cakes are Sarah’s favorite thing at this event ( I may feel just the same way), but the lunch and the cotton candy and of course, the cookie they frosted/decorated- just enough sugar to make sure they never missed a beat. Once again, making the Winter trek to Navy Pier, was a day to remember. The perfect day for a grand parent to make a special event out of a day with the kids. Watching those around me, it is also a day for the entire family and guess what? You still have until January 8th to have this experience with yours.


The Winter Wonderfest, now sponsored by Fifth Third Bank is open from 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. , except on Fridays and Saturdays where they remain until 10 p.m..new-years-eve-fireworks

This Saturday, December 31st will also feature a Children’s fireworks display (and of course the big one at Midnight). Check http://www.navypier.comfor more information. For $25 one can purchase an activity wristband that allows one to ride or be a part of everything- and even the skates are included. There are also special entrant fees for grandparents who are watching and little ones, under 36 ” are free. There are some shows as well including a section called Winter Wondertown, where we met some very odd characters (almost seemed out of “Alice In Wonderland” and the Mad Hatter Tea Party”)act


As someone who has experienced this special event for 16 consecutive years, I can tell you that this is a very special place to be during this very special time of your life and in particular with those in your family you love. Memories are created from days like this one! Enjoy and experience it yourself! You will see, I am right!

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