Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:
•Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich., is staging its 24th annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibit through Jan. 6. Included are 42 Christmas and holiday trees and displays representing countries and cultures from around the world. There’s also the popular model train Railway Garden and special events such as Tuesday evening performances by the Original Dickens Carolers. https://tinyurl.com/qdo8abu
•Christmas at the Mansions, a popular holiday tour in Illinois’ Bloomington-Normal community, will be held Dec. 8. There will be tours of the David Davis Mansion and Ewing Manor, along with a third secret location that’s a private residence. All will be decorated for the holidays. Shuttle buses will run continuously among the three houses. https://tinyurl.com/yazfu6xc
•The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra presents its holiday concert, Glad Tidings, on Dec. 8 on the Mendel Center Mainstage in Benton Harbor. The Three Divas of Southwest Michigan will perform with the orchestra, and there will be carols, sing-alongs, storytelling and more. https://tinyurl.com/y8dq6skm
•Ripon, Wis., holds its annual Dickens of a Christmas events on Dec. 7-9. Carriage rides will be offered through the historic downtown, and there will be an Enchanted Forest featuring decorated trees and holiday music, a quilt show, ice sculptures, home tours, model trains, a fruitcake toss and more. https://tinyurl.com/yacuplz7
•Shipshewana, Ind., is aglow with the Lights of Joy display at the Shipshewana RV Park. More than 2 million LED lights have been set up in multiple displays for a mile-long drive-through experience. It’s open Thursday-Sunday until Dec. 30. www.shipshewana.com
•Where else to go for Christmas activities than Santa Claus, Ind.? Find a list of what’s going on for the holidays at https://tinyurl.com/ycap6mc4.
•Cook County, Minn., on the north shore of Lake Superior, is a prime area for viewing and photographing the night sky. In recognition of that, a Dark Sky Festival will be held Dec. 14-15 in Grand Marais. There will be presentations on the night sky, including by two local photographers, telescopes will be set up to view a meteor shower and there will be a bonfire and more stargazing activities. https://tinyurl.com/y88k67y9
•Ste. Genevieve, Mo., highlights its French heritage during the Holiday Christmas Festival on Dec. 7-9. More than 30 free music programs are slated throughout the weekend, plus a Christmas parade, carriage rides and more. https://tinyurl.com/ya4qtoxu
•Over 500 Nativity scenes are on view in the Bethlehem Cave and Museum at the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Catholic Parish in Akron, Ohio. They can be found in a replica of the cave where Jesus was born. Public tours are offered at 2 p.m. Dec. 26-30. https://tinyurl.com/yb4p6q8b
•For a different type of holiday activity, the 20th Annual Reindog Holiday Parade will be held Dec. 8 in St. Joseph, Mich. Pet owners dress up their furry friends and themselves in Christmas garb and parade for prizes. https://tinyurl.com/yborwzsf
•Every year the Indiana tourism folks ask for people to vote for their favorites in the state in a wide variety of categories. This year’s voting has been tabulated, and Turkey Run State Park in Marshall was selected as Best State Park or Recreation Area. Best Museum honors went to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Check out all of the results at https://tinyurl.com/jjdbzov.
•You can order a copy of the 2018-19 Fall/Winter Ohio Calendar of Events or view it online at https://tinyurl.com/yd8lkvrv.
Deals and websites listed here have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not endorsements. Send tips at least a month in advance to ChicagoTribTravel@gmail.com.
Phil Marty is a freelancer.