Finish 2021 with final day of fun

Local venues provide opportunities to give the year a fitting send-off

As we bid farewell to 2021 and prepare to welcome 2022, there are number of ways to celebrate this yearly changing of the, uh, years. Here are some to consider including in your festivities.

Holiday Magic casts its final spell

Holiday Magic continues through New Year's Eve at Brookfield Zoo, 3400 31st St. Visitors will enjoy more than 1 million twinkling LED lights, a 600-foot-long tunnel featuring lights synchronized to music, a 41-foot tree and more at the zoo's 40th annual Holiday Magic. Take memorable photos inside the new illuminated gingerbread house or the luminous 20-foot-tall orb or pose for a selfie next to the Santa Claus cutout.

View the new "Sea of Lights" colorful display on the West Mall and more than 600 decorated community and corporate trees along the malls and around Roosevelt Fountain. Several animal areas will be open, including dolphin presentations at 4 and 6 p.m.

Both guests and zoo members must secure admission and parking tickets in advance. Admission is $24.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 3-11, $19.95 for seniors 65 and older plus $15 parking. Reservation times are available in 20-minute increments between 3 and 9 p.m. at

Get bubbly at children's museum

Children can plunge into the festivities at the Bubble Bash from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at DuPage Children's Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville.

Families can spend time together taking part in special activities, grooving to good music, exploring the museum's hands-on exhibits and counting down at 11 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. with confetti, bubbles and more. This annual year-end celebration, now in its 20th year, has become a holiday tradition.

Tickets are $30, and advance reservations are required. Visit or call (630) 637-8000.

Lend new year's ear to New Philharmonic

The New Philharmonic will entertain revelers with its New Year's Eve Concert at 1:30, 5 or 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, at the College of DuPage's McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn.

Maestro Kirk Muspratt will lead the orchestra in waltzes, polkas, arias, light classical and pops, reflecting back and looking ahead with music as the medium. The concert will also feature baritone Ted Allen Pickel, who sang the title role from the New Philharmonic's production of "The Mikado."

The Gold Circle ticket includes a glass of bubbly, premium seats and party favors. A streaming ticket offers one-time access for either the 1:30 p.m. live performance or on demand (available 8 a.m. Jan. 1 through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 2).

Tickets for the in-person performance are $67, $65 for seniors, and $77 for Gold Circle table seating. The streaming/on-demand ticket is $67. Visit or call (630) 942-4000.

Skate into the new year (with fireworks!)

Take the party outside with Skating in the Park and NYE Fireworks from 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31, to 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 1, at Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont.

The whole family can enjoy skating in the daytime or under the stars, with a special fireworks display at midnight.

Admission is free; skate rental is $8. Visit

Il Poggiolo serves appetites of all ages

Hinsdale's Il Poggiolo invites diners to enjoy New Year's Eve family dinner starting at 5 p.m. Friday. Dec. 31, at the 8 E. First St. eatery.

Families with kids are invited to ring in 2022, with a celebration featuring party favors and an early countdown at 7 p.m.

The price for the special menu is $50 for adults and $25 for children. Make a reservation at or by calling (630) 734-9400.

Close the curtain on 2021 at Drury Lane

Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace, has a full lineup of events on tap for New Year's. For reservations or tickets, visit

• Enjoy Holiday Afternoon Tea at 3 p.m. at the facility's Lucille Restaurant, offering a selection of black, herbal, iced and other teas, and a menu of treats like tea breads, scones, finger sandwiches and sweet desserts,

The cost is $50 per person.

• If heartier fare is your preference, The restaurant is serving up New Year's Eve Dinner with seatings at 6 and 9 p.m.

Celebrate the last night of 2021 with a decadent multi-course dinner featuring prime Manhattan filet, pan-roasted heirloom chicken or Chilean sea bass as main course options, and white chocolate bundt cake for dessert. Then raise a Champagne toast and enjoy live music and the bar until 1 a.m.

The cost is $80 per person for the 6 p.m. seating, $75 for the 9 p.m. seating.

• End the year with a 5 p.m. performance of Irving Berlin's musical "Holiday Inn" at the Drury Lane Theatre.

Based on the classic film, the story follows retired song-and-dance man Jim's efforts to bring entertainment to his small Connecticut town. With the help of talented schoolteacher Linda, he turns his farmhouse into an inn and puts on spectacular shows celebrating all holidays. This joyous, family-friendly musical features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a parade of Irving Berlin's hit songs, including the Academy Award-winning "White Christmas." It runs through Jan. 9.

Tickets are $57-$72; dining packages are available.

- compiled by Ken Knutson