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Family entertainment: On the calendar

9:35 AM, Oct. 21, 2013  |  Comments
The Merry-time Festival of Trees returns to Door County Maritime Museum.
The Merry-time Festival of Trees returns to Door County Maritime Museum.
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HEAD OUT

Museums offer a window onto a world other than our own. Here are five worth considering:

1. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. With more than 472,900 feet of exhibit space on five floors and covering 29 acres, this extraordinary nonprofit institution has been entertaining and educating families since 1925. Considered the largest children's museum in the world, its exhibit topics include the always-popular dinosaurs, artist Dale Chihuly's glass-blowing brilliance, biotechnology, space and other topics. Contact: 317-334-4000; childrensmuseum.org

2. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Bentonville, Ark. Thanks to a partnership between Fisk University and this museum, a new exhibition titled "The Artists' Eye: Georgia O'Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection" will open Nov. 9 and be on view through Feb. 3. Expect to see works of art from the collection O'Keeffe donated to the university, including African masks and modernist paintings. You'll also see the artists Stieglitz most favored, including O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove and John Marin, as well as 19 of Stieglitz's own photographs. A custom family guide to the exhibit is available, and admission is free for children younger than 18. Contact: 479-418-5700; crystalbridges.org

3. National Geographic Museum; Washington, D.C. Are you a family of explorers? You'll get inspired by a visit to the headquarters of this legendary society, where stunning photography and stories of science and adventure unfold through interactive exhibits, film and lectures. Stop by the museum shop for an extensive collection of maps, books and internationally sourced artisan crafts. Contact: nationalgeographic.com

4. Chicago Children's Museum. Kids 15 and younger are welcomed at no charge on the first Sunday of each month at this Navy Pier family favorite. Check out the new Tinkering Lab, a DIY space where kids and their parents can create their own projects with real tools that include saws, screwdrivers and power drills. (Don't worry. Pros are on hand to supervise and brainstorm with the youngsters.) The lab is designed to encourage creativity and innovation in an environment that doesn't include a computer screen. Contact: 312-527-1000; chicagochildrensmuseum.org

5. Museum of the Rockies; Bozeman, Mont. Visitors to MOR are invited to explore the rich natural and cultural history of America's Northern Rocky Mountains. The museum's dinosaur program - curated by paleontologist Jack Horner, who served as science adviser to the Jurassic Park films - is considered one of the largest and most famous collections of dinosaur fossils in the world. Snap a family photo next to the towering Tyrannosaurus rex on display. Contact: 406-994-2251; museumoftherockies.org

SAVE THE DATE

Nov. 16-Dec. 10

After a successful first season in 2012 in which nearly two dozen festively decorated trees could be found throughout the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, the Merry-Time Festival of Trees returns this holiday season.

Visitors will have the opportunity to enter a raffle in the hopes of winning their favorite tree. Each tree will be decorated with ornaments or goodies appropriate to its sponsor.

Every child accompanied by an adult will receive free admission to the museum. The regular adult admission of $8 will apply. Other special events planned during the Festival of Trees include "Tree Tales," a children's story hour on Nov. 16 and "Santa on the Tug" on Dec. 7.

The event culminates with the "Jingle, Jingle, Mix & Mingle" on Dec. 10, offering food and other festivities including the conclusion of the silent auction that will run through the festival as well as the drawing for the trees.

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