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Get out of the house and have some fun: TribLocal’s guide to winter activities

It might be cold and snowy outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay home. There’s plenty to do for adults, children and families during winter both outdoors and indoors thanks to local museums, forest preserves, libraries, art galleries and other community venues. Here are some suggestions to cure cabin fever. Prairie Grass Nature Museum Children and adults can view several nature-related exhibits, including a wetland that shows what’s lurking above and below the ground and live animals such as snakes, turtles and Godzilla, the bullfrog. Free packets of activities for children are available, and programs are scheduled to teach youngsters about northern Illinois wildlife. When weather permits, visitors can also hike the Harts Woods nature trail behind the museum. Where: 860 Hart Road, Round Lake When: Open 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday; and 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday Cost: Free entrance; nominal fee for special programs Contact: 847-740-9826 Lake County Discovery Museum Lake County’s history is explored through interactive exhibits, some designed especially for youngsters such as the Children’s Learning Gallery. The Vortex Roller Coaster Theater takes visitors through 100,000 years of Lake County history. Kid stops throughout the museum offer hands-on activities. Where: 27277 N. Forest Preserve Rd., Wauconda When: Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Cost: $6 for adults; $2.50 for ages 4 to 17; $3 for ages 18 to 25 and 55and older; free to children age 3 and younger. Reduced rates are on Tuesdays. On Feb. 5, the museum opens a special exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Exhibit runs through Aug. 21. Contact: www.lcfpd.org or call 847-968-3400 Rink Sides Sports and Family Entertainment Center Children not only can take ice skating lessons, but they also can participate in laser tag, miniature golf and tornado rides as well as choose from among hundreds of video games. Refreshments are for sale, and the venue offers packages such as pizza, a skate and story hour for children and birthday parties. Where: Gurnee Mills, 6152 W. Grand Ave., Parking Lot J or H, Gurnee. When: Hours of operation vary. Go to the Web site for more information. Cost: Prices vary for different packages. Skating rental is $5. Admission to the skating rink is $6 for adults, $5 for children younger than 12 years old and free for those ages 3 and younger. Members can get reduced prices. Contact: www.rink-side.com or call 847-856-1064, ext.229; Key Lime Cove Water Resort The indoor water park celebrates the tropical paradise lifestyle and offers weekend getaway packages for families. Kids can opt for water slides and rides, games and other entertainment. Adults can join the kids or relax in the spa, and everyone can partake in a meal from the Toucan Grille or ice cream shop, among other eateries. Where: 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee When: Open year-round Cost: Prices vary. A weekend package for two adults and two children begins at $359.95. Call or go online for updated prices and schedules. Contact: www.keylimecove.com or call 877-360-0403 Libertyville Sports Complex The family can get some exercise indoors at the facility, which includes a 360-degree climbing mountain, an open gym and a kids club. Special events for groups can be planned. Where: 1950 N. Highway 45, Libertyville When: Hours vary. Call for more information. Cost: Daily and activity fees vary. Call for more information. No membership fee required. Contact: www.libertyville.com or call 847-367-1502 Oakton Ice Arena With open skating hours throughout the day, kids full of cabin fever will never run out of an opportunity to lace up their boots and practice their figure eights. The rink also offers skating lessons, hockey practice times and a party for space for rent. Where: 2800 West Oakton, Park Ridge When: Call or visit Web site for open skate hours Contact: www. parkridgeparkdistrict.com or call 847-692-3359 Wildwood Nature Center Visitors can take a tour through the five-acre property and then warm up inside the nature center. There they can visit with more than 35 animals including mice, box turtles and prairie dogs. There are also hands-on exhibits and scheduled programming. Where: 529 Forestview Ave., Park Ridge When: Call for hours and program times Contact: 847-692-3570 The Barefoot Hawaiian If you can’t get to Hawaii this winter, the Barefoot Hawaiian might be the next best thing. This dance studio has a complete schedule of Hawaiian dance and music classes for all ages. The 130-person dance company performs locally and internationally year round. Where: 529 Forestview Ave., Park Ridge Contact: 847-692-3570 "Frindle" School prankster Nick Allen has just landed himself in the toughest 5th grade teacher’s class. And if Mrs. Granger has anything to say about it, his days as a troublemaker are at an end. That is until she teaches her class about the origin of words and Nick decides to make a word of his own: frindle. His word spreads like wildfire, catching on in his class, then throughout his school and even out into the town, all while Mrs. Granger tries to stop it. Recommended for grades 4-8 Where: Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights When: Feb. 3-12 Cost: $12, Children 12 and younger $10 Contact: www. metropolisarts.com 847-577-2121 Snowshoe Rentals Snowshoes may be rented for use at Spring Valley when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground. Where: Spring Valley Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg When: Rentals are available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily. Cost: The rental fee is $3 per pair for three hours and $6 per pair for the day. Contact: www. parkfun.com or call 847-985-2100 Legoland Discovery Center Children can learn and play with Legos. There are attractions including rides, a mini-Chicagoland exhibit and a play area. Where: Legoland Discovery Center, Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg When: Monday to Friday Noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Last admissions are at 5 p.m. Cost: Price at the door is $19 for adults, $15 for children and children aged 2 and younger are free Contact: www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com or call 847-592-9700 Tales With Tails A program where children in grades 2 – 5 read to a specially trained dog from Rainbow Animal-Assisted Therapy. Where: Mount Prospect Public Library, 10 South Emerson St., Mount Prospect When: Weekly, 15-minute sessions will be held Thursday evenings, Feb. 17-March 17 Cost: Free, but registration is required. Register at the Mount Prospect Public Library’s Youth Services Desk. Contact/information: 847-253-5675, www.mppl.org “On the Move in Arlington Heights” Using photographs and artifacts, the exhibit explores the changing ways of getting around in the village through the years. Where: Arlington Heights Historical Museum Heritage Gallery, 112 W. Fremont St., Arlington Heights When: Jan. 15-April 24. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Cost: Suggested donation of $2 Contact: www.ahmuseum.org or call 847-255-1225 Cozy Cup of Cocoa Stop by the museum anytime during our open hours for a wintertime tour and a complimentary cup of hot chocolate. Learn about cold weather traditions on the farm such as sleigh rides and quilting. You can also schedule a tour by appointment. Where: Elk Grove Historical Museum, 399 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village When: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 31. Cost: Free 'Explorer Day: Winter Wonders' Families can drop in for 30 minutes or stay for 3 hours to experience the power of nature exploration and play. Activities will target 3 to 6 year-olds, but older siblings are welcome to attend. Move among stations where experienced nature guides will share discovery tools and techniques. Where: Glacial Park, Lost Valley Visitor Center, Route 31 & Harts Road, Woodstock When: 10 a.m. To 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 15 Contact: www.mccdistrict.org or call 815-678-4532 Solar Lighted Trail at Pleasant Valley A half-mile looped trail on the east side of the entrance drive is open during winter evenings for hiking or cross-country skiing. Park at the early morning parking area and sign in. Where: Pleasant Valley, 13315 Pleasant Valley Rd., Woodstock When: now through March 13; Trail Closes at 9 p.m. Contact: www.mccdistrict.org 'Groundhog Days In Woodstock' The movie, “Groundhog Day,” with Bill Murray was filmed in Woodstock in 1992 and for 15 years, the city gathers to remember the fun and celebrate the special community during Groundhog Day. From the Friday Night Welcoming of the Groundhog to the official Groundhog Prognostication on Groundhog Day with Woodstock Willie, there's something fun for everyone. Various events taking pace include a dinner/dance, chili cook-off, walking tour, story telling, official showing of the film, pancake breakfast and more. Where: Historic Woodstock Square, Woodstock When: Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 Contact: www.woodstockgroundhog.org or call 815-338-4483 'International Tournament At Norge' Hit the hills during Norge Ski Club’s International Tournament. In addition to hosting three European ski-jumping teams, elite athletes from across the country will compete in the 5-Hill SuperTour Tournament. Where: Norge Ski Club, 100 Ski Hill Road, Fox River Grove When: Noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 29-30 Cost: $10 for tickets in advance and $15 at the gate. Children 12 years old and younger are admitted free. Parking is free. Contact: www.norgeskiclub.com or call 847-722-9293

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