Day Trip: Last chance to view holiday trees

Museum of Science and Industry exhibit open through Sunday

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(J.B. Spector/submitted by Museum of Science and Industry)
The Kenyan tree from last year gets finishing touches for Christmas Around The World and Holidays of Lights at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This year's exhibit is open through Jan. 5.

It’s over. Many have put their Christmas trees and holiday decorations away. They’re looking forward to a new year of bright beginnings.

However, there are some who want one last look at those decorations before moving fully into winter. The Museum of Science and Industry just happens to have a supply of holiday spirit open through Sunday.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light is in its 72nd year. It starts with the 45-foot grand tree in the rotunda and encompasses more than 50 trees on the main floor. They’re all decorated, drawing upon the variety of cultures combined in the city of Chicago.

The Kenyan tree, for example, has carved wooden African animals and masks. There are maize harvest scenes and beaded ornaments representing the outfits of the Maasai people.

The Puerto Rican tree touches on music, and the Danish tree has woven baskets for decorations.

Here are some other trees to appreciate: Ukrainian, with spider web ornaments; Native American, with dream catchers; origami for Japan; a German tree with a pickle ornament; neighboring Canada, with maple leaves, moose and geese; and a Scottish tree showing off its tartans.

Holidays of Light, isn’t quite as old as the trees – it’s in its 18th year. Holidays represented are Diwali, a Hindu festival; Ramadan, celebrated by Muslims; Kwanzaa, celebrated by African Americans; the Chinese New Year; Visakha Puja Day, Buddhist; the Jewish holiday Hanukkah; and St. Lucia Day from Sweden.

In December, entertainment was part of the display. Visitors might want to make a note to drop in earlier next year to see the variety of entertainment that has been scheduled.

Even though the exhibit is almost closed, the sparkling woods haven’t lost any of their beauty, and the rest of the museum is there to offer a full day of learning and entertainment.

One special stop is Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. Right now, this 80-year-old display is undergoing a conservation effort. Visitors will be able to see the work in progress through February. The restorers will be working Tuesday through Saturday.

Even better, the visitors will be able to see each room of the castle from all sides. It consists of 200 pieces. And the tiny objects that decorate the castle can be viewed closer than before.

There’s much to see at the museum, from large trees to tiny books. Just pick a place to start and forget about winter.

If you go ...

What: Museum of Science and Industry

Where: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

When: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights closes Sunday.

Cost: $18 for adults, $17 for those 65 and older, and $11 for children 3 to 11, basic admission. Packages are available. Parking is $20.

Information: Visit www.msichicago.org or call 773-684-1414.

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