Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

Enjoy the festive season at Brookfield Zoo’s 40th Annual Holiday Magic festival of lights, which kicks off Nov. 26-28 and continues through the end of the year on the following dates: Dec. 1-5, 8-12, 15-19 and 26-31 from 3 to 9 p.m. each day.

Walk through the 600-foot tunnel of lights, pose for photos in the new illuminated gingerbread house or luminous 20-foot orb. The West Mall will be a new Sea of Lights measuring 1-mile long. A 41-foot-tall tree “dancing” to choreographed music will be just inside the North Gate.

Several animal areas will be open, with dolphin shows at 4 and 6 p.m. Restaurants and gift shops will also be open.

All visitors must purchase reserved-time admission (available in 20-minute increments) and parking tickets prior to arrival. Visit to buy tickets. Visit for more information.

Local toy drives under way

If you are looking to brighten a child’s holiday this year, there are a couple of options for you to donate toys that will be delivered to children in the area in time for Christmas.

North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, hosts a Holiday Toy Drive to benefit the Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn through Dec. 12. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Customer Service Desk located in the center court and get a free movie pass to Classic Cinemas in North Riverside.

Meanwhile, the North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave., is collecting new unwrapped and unopened toys that will be donated to Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve charity that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy gifts for Christmas.

You may drop off toys at the library through Dec. 10.

Santa’s Mailbox ready for your letters

Riverside Parks and Recreation invites kids to write letters to Santa and place them in a special mailbox that’s been located on the east side of the historic water tower, 10 Pine Ave. in downtown Riverside.

Letters received by Dec. 18 will get a note back from Santa, direct from the North Pole.

‘Cool Yule’ concert at LSF Brookfield Library

Clarence Goodman

Brookfield Public Library, 3541 Park Ave., invites you to get into the holiday spirit by attending an in-person concert of live music “Cool Yule” by local entertainer Clarence Goodman on Monday, Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

Register to attend the concert by calling 708-485-6917, ext. 130 or visiting online.

LTHS South Campus indoor track open mornings

Hate jogging in the cold? Beginning Nov. 29 through March 25, the Lyons Township High School South Campus Fieldhouse indoor track, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road in Western Springs, will be open to the public from 6 to 7 a.m. on days LTHS is in session.

There is no admission charge or fee to use the track. Please bring an ID and be prepared to sign in.

And more

  • Kuratko-Nosek Funeral Home, 2447 Desplaines Ave. in North Riverside, invites you to send troops and local veterans a taste of home for the holidays by participating in their Christmas Stockings for Soldiers & Veterans drive through Dec. 17. Stop in at the funeral home Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and pick up a free stocking to take home, decorate and stuff with Christmas cheer. Bring the filled stocking back for delivery to troops abroad and veterans at home. Call 708-447-2500.
  • Visit Santa Claus in the lower level center court of North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, through Christmas Eve on the following dates: Nov. 26-27 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Dec. 1-17 from noon to 7 p.m.; Dec. 18-23 from noon to 8 p.m.; and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visits are free, photo packages available for purchase.
  • Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St., presents the exhibition “Portable Memorials and Abject Objects” featuring the work of Rebecca Keller in the Freeark Gallery through Nov. 27. Gallery hours are Thurs.-Sat. 1-5 p.m. Visit for more.
  • Riverside Arts Center presents “Porcelain Utopia: Mid-Century Lustron Homes in Illinois and Beyond,” an exhibit of photographs by Dirk Fletcher in the lobby of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road, through Dec. 31. Free. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave., invites you to its monthly Spice Club via Zoom on Nov. 27 at 1:30 p.m.

Kids ages 4-up can choose either in-person or Zoom attendance for ABCs and 123s on Nov. 29 at 10:30 a.m.; Story Safari on Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m.; and Builders Club (Zoom only) on Dec. 1 at 4 p.m.

Register for programs at

  • Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library, 3541 Park Ave., invites kids to the virtual program 3D Printing: Kids’ Edition on Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. Learn to use Tinkercard to make amazing 3D prints via Zoom. Visit to register for programs.
  • Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, presents Developing Sound Financial Skills, a virtual program presented by Consumer Credit Counseling of Northern Illinois on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. URL sent after registering.

For kids there’s Mini-Movers Storytime in the Community Room on Nov. 29 at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; and Preschool/Kindergarten Storytime on Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and After School DIY on Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. Registration required.

Visit to register for programs.

  • Riverside Chess Club, open to anyone age 5 through adult, meets in person each Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Room 30 of the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road. Players of all levels welcome. Children under 7 require caregiver over 13. Email for more info.
  • The Brookfield Elks Lodge, 9022 31st St., hosts bingo the second Sunday of every month. Doors open at 1 p.m. and games start at 2 p.m. with cash payouts. Next bingo night is Dec. 12.