Courtesy CZS/Brookfield Zoo

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

Enjoy the festive season at Brookfield Zoo’s 41st Annual Holiday Magic festival of lights, which kicks off Nov. 25-27 and continues through the end of the year on the following dates: Nov. 30-Dec. 4 and Dec. 7-11, 14-18 and 26-31 from 3 to 9 p.m. each night.

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

Several indoor and outdoor animal areas will be open, kids can deposit written holiday greetings and drawings for the animals and Santa Claus in designated boxes, and you can also take a spin on the skating rink ($7, skate rental extra). Restaurants, food stands and gift shops will also be open.

Regular zoo admission and parking apply (advance reservation required for South Gate entry). Visit for more info.

Letters from Santa

Would you like your child to receive a personalized letter from Santa Claus himself? Brookfield Parks & Recreation has you covered.

Pick up and return a form at the recreation office in the lower level of Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., or email a request to Completed applications must be received by Nov. 28. Letters will be sent the week of Dec. 5.

Toy drive, Santa’s workshop at North Riverside Mall

North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, will hold a toy drive benefiting The Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn from Nov. 25 through Dec. 15.

Bring a new, unwrapped toy to the customer service desk in the mall’s center court. The mall will deliver donations in time for Christmas.

You can also bring the kids to visit Santa in his workshop located in the mall’s center court daily through Dec. 24. Photo packages are available for purchase. Visit online for times of operation and details.

Virtually tour European Christmas markets

Take a virtual visit overseas to amazing Christmas markets in five European cities during “Christmas Markets in Prague and Germany” on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

The Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library invites you to join Eugene Flynn as he shares his adventures enjoying good food, friends and festivities.

Register to get a link to the program by calling 708-485-6917, ext. 130 or online.

Woodland flute concert

The Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library, 3541 Park Ave., invites you to join William Buchholtz for an evening of live woodland flute music and storytelling on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Meeting Room.

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

And more

  • Kuratko-Nosek Funeral Home, 2447 Desplaines Ave. in North Riverside, invites you to fill a holiday stocking for troops overseas and veterans. Stop by Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and pick up a free stocking. Fill it up and return it through Dec. 16. Call 708-447-2500 for more.
  • Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St. presents “Plot Structure,” featuring paintings by Matthew Girson; “Continue a Poem,” a group show featuring the work of Nicholas Frank, Lauren Fueyo and Nyeema Morgan; and “Dwell,” an installation of sculptures by Margie Glass Sula, through Dec. 30. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

There’s also “The Art of Seeing,” featuring botanical boxes by Shilin Hora, at the Riverside Town Hall, 27 Riverside Road, through Dec. 31. Viewing hours are Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit for more.

  • North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave., presents Calming Craft for Kids (with adult) on Nov. 25 at 4 p.m., Family Movie Matinee on Nov. 26 at 1 p.m., Morning Munchkin Stories with Ms. Karen (child with adult) on Nov. 28 at 10:30 a.m., Chair Yoga (in person) Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. Silly Science (10-under with adult) on Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. and Story Safari (child with adult) on Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m. Register for programs online.
  • Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library, 3541 Park Ave., presents Read to the Dogs (youth services) with the Hinsdale Humane Society of Nov. 29 at 7 p.m., Dinosaur Hat Craft (grades 1-5) on Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. and Family Fun Story Night (all ages with caregiver) on Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Call 708-485-6917 or visit online to register for programs.
  • Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road, presents Legopalooza on Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon; Knitting, Crochet and Needlework Group on Nov. 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and Create a Cricut Leather Keychain on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. To register for programs, visit online.
  •  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.