Christmas is such a great distraction from the fact that the weather sucks, isn't it? We put up sparkly lights and Christmas trees and buy a lot to distract ourselves from the short days and gray skies.
And three area zoos do fun, festive things for the holidays -- because who would ever want to go to the zoo in December otherwise?
But if you bundle up, and bring a few extra dollars for hot chocolate, you can have a lot of fun at these holiday events.
Festival of Lights at Cosley Zoo
1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
630.665.5534, Wheaton Park District
Time: 3 to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 30
Features: 2,200 trees for sale, plus wreaths, animal-related gifts and ornaments; decorative lights; holiday music; hot chocolate. During the weekends of Dec. 5 and 12, kids can visit with Santa and make a holiday-themed craft project from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a $2 donation.
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road, Brookfield
708.688.8000, Chicago Zoological Society
Price: $12; $8 for seniors and kids ages 3 to 11
Time: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 20 and daily Dec. 26 through 31
Features: More than 1 million lights; a light show synced with music; ice-carving demonstrations, a train ride, live music, dance performances, storytellers, magic acts, caroling and visits with Santa, and much more.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St., Chicago
312.742.2000 Lincoln Park Zoo
Time: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 13 and daily Dec. 18 through Jan. 3
Features: Mix of indoor and outdoor attractions; 1.5 million lights outside; hot chocolate and spiced wine; ice carvers; musical light show on the zoo's south lawn; free visits with Santa in the lion house through Dec. 23; more.