DAY TRIP: A sparkle in your eyes: The trees are trimmed and the world stage is set for museum’s annual Christmas show

November 30, 2018

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light has become a tradition at the Museum of Science and Industry, and with me. Although I don’t set foot under the trees every year, they never slip off my list of things to do. I always look forward to finding out all the entertainment options and seeing the beautiful trees representing a wide variety of cultures and the sparkling lights of other holidays. It’s enough to warm a visitor’s heart, no matter how cold it gets. So go ahead, Old Man Winter, let it snow!

In fact, it does snow during Christmas Around the World. As you walk among the 50-plus trees and displays that have been put together by volunteers, every 30 minutes a gentle snowfall floats to the ground in the museum’s rotunda area.

Visitors will know they’re in the right spot when they see the 45-foot-tall Grand tree, which is covered in 30,000 lights. According to a news release, each of the trees and displays have been decorated with hand-crafted ornaments that honor holiday customs from around the world.

It’s not just the forest and the displays that open a window into other cultures. Dance and song are another good way to bridge the cultural gap, and there’s plenty of both at the museum. Live performances from more than 50 groups will entertain visitors in the main auditorium, inside the West Pavilion. The schedule can change, so be sure to check it at msichicago.org/catw before heading out – but here’s a look at what’s currently scheduled:

Dec. 1

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Ornament make-and-take in the West Pavilion.

• Entertainment: 11 a.m. Kupa, a Pacific Island Resource (South Pacific Islands); 12:15 p.m. After School Matters Latin and Spanish Dance (Latin American): 1:30 p.m. Norwegian National League of Chicago (Norway); 2:45 p.m. Team Kenya (Kenya); and 4 p.m. Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago (Greece).

Dec. 2

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Ornament make-and-take in the West Pavilion.

• Entertainment: 11 a.m. Bonnie Lindholm School of the Dance (America); 12:15 p.m. Austrian Mixed Chorus (Austria); 12:15 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. On Pointe Performing Arts Center (Mexico); 2:45 p.m. Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association (India); and 4 p.m. Suktinis Lithuanian Dancers (Lithuania).

Among the countries featured the following weekends are Scotland, Hungary, Ecuador, Republic of Georgia, Finland, Ukraine and Russia.

The entertainment and ornament-making are all part of the museum admission charge.

After viewing this annual exhibit, remember there’s still an entire museum out there to explore, so brush off the faux snow and head to another section, where you’ll find just as much to educate and entertain. It’s a wonderful museum just waiting to be explored.

If you go …

What: Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights

Where: Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

When:  Museum hours 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 6

Cost:  Basic museum admission $19.95 online or $21.95 for adults; $10.95 online or $12.95 for children 3 to 11 (includes most permanent exhibits and Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights); underground garage parking $22

Accessibility: Accessible to wheelchairs

Distance: 100 miles to Chicago from Dixon

Information:  msichicago.org or 773-684-1414

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