Navy Pier is just as wonderful in the winter as it is in the summer. You can pull right in, park your car in the indoor lot, and enjoy a day jam-packed with activities, dining, shopping, and fun - without having to endure the chilly weather outdoors. Today, Navy Pier's Winter Wonderfest's opens its doors to frenetic holiday fun with rides for the entire family - from whirling teacups to a giant gumball machine.
Our family checked out this year's fest last evening, and we were all thrilled to see new rides, including an Ice Line Express Zip Line where kids can zoom down a 28-foot tall indoor zip line. You'll still find your old favorites, including the Cliff Hanger, the indoor Ferris wheel, the Pepsi Create-A-Cookie Cottage, and the Snowy Summit Climbing Wall.
My 4-year-old daughter delighted in spinning round and round in the oversized teacups on the Hot Cocoa Cups ride, and she flew down the many inflatable slides with glee. The Winter WonderFest Jr. area - a special section expanded this year for kids 46" or smaller - was also a hit, with its gigantic candy canes that kids can crawl through, a "snowball" area with red and green foam "snowballs", and a giant bouncy house - all great for the toddler and preschooler set. My 12-year-old and his 15-year-old cousin went straight for the Tilt-a-Whirl, spun and whirled on the giant Whirler, and enjoyed ice skating at the Chicago Blackhawks Indoor Ice Skating Rink.
Winter WonderFest is open December 6 - January 12, closed only on Christmas day. Admission is free but an activity wristband is required to participate in rides and attractions within the event. Premium wristbands include all rides and activities including ice skating and the regular wristbands include all rides and attractions except ice skating. Visit
www.winterwonderfest.com for more information and hours of the event.
A few tips for getting the most out of the Winter Wonderfest:
1. Arrive early, to avoid long wait times for rides. If you arrive early enough, you might have the chance to join Mayor Burl Evergreen as he chooses one lucky winner to open the doors to Winter WonderFest in the morning to start the day's magic!
2. Leave your coats in your car (parking is indoors at Navy Pier) to avoid having to pay fees to check them or drag them around with you all day.
3. Check out Navy Pier's promotions page before you go, for daily discounts on admission and parking.
4. Ice skate rental is included in the price of a Premium Wristband. Guests are also
welcome to bring their own skates and skate for free!
5. Also new this year, kids can visit with Santa Claus at the foot of Navy Pier's magnificent 42-foot tall tree. Professional photographers will be ready to capture your visit with Santa.