With temperatures struggling to get out of the single digits, only the likes of penguins and sled dogs could enjoy the weather the Chicago area has been experiencing the last couple days, so the Antarctic penguins and Alaskan sled dogs visiting town this weekend for the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show should feel right at home.
If you’re ready for a break from cold weather thoughts, however, the event Saturday and Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont has you covered as well, with attractions like a heated, 15,000-gallon scuba diving tank.
Among the celebrities scheduled to appear are public television’s Europe travel expert Rick Steves, guidebook author Pauline Frommer, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” author Patricia Schultz, and Chris Harrison, the host of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”
The penguins will be on hand to promote the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction opening this year at SeaWorld in Orlando. The sled dogs will be available for photo opportunities as visitors to the White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures booth can learn how to put on their harnesses and even sit in a real sled.
A certified diving instructor will offer free scuba lessons in the four-foot deep heated pool. Wetsuits, masks, air tanks, and even hair dryers will be provided.
Steves will speak both in the morning and afternoon both days of the show and will be available for autograph signings afterward. Frommer will speak on “What You Need to Know Before Planning Your Next Vacation at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Her seminar will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by Harrison, who will offer a reflection on 10 years of romance and travel on “The Bachelor.” Schultz will talk about her book Sunday at 1:15 p.m. and will be available for autographs following.
There will be plenty of other attractions at the show, including multiple theaters for cooking, music, and dance events. More than 150 exhibitors from around the world will be ready to help you plan your next travel adventure.
“Planning a vacation has never been more fun,” says Unicomm CEO John Golicz, whose company produces the show. “Whether you want to trek the rain forests of Costa Rica or discover nearby attractions in Wisconsin and Michigan, there is something for everyone.”
More than 18,000 people visited last year’s Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, setting an attendance record for the event. Organizers hope even more people attend this year’s event, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $9 online at (with promo code CHPR) or $15 at the door. Children ages 16 and under will be admitted free. The ticket price covers attractions like the penguins and sled dogs.
The local sponsor of the show is WLS-TV (ABC/Channel 7). For more information, visit the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show website or call (203) 878-2577, extension 100.