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Low cost, local entertainment for the kids

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 9:33 a.m. CDT

I’m not a parent, but I can guess that winter break is full of mixed emotions.

You’re excited to spend more time with your family – yet, the kids are bouncing off the walls and the last thing you feel like doing is going to a McDonald’s PlayPlace or a Chuck E. Cheese.

Well, good thing I’ve got you covered!

Ever notice the large, white “Now Showing” sign as you drive down West Main Street in Barrington? I had noticed it plenty of times, but never really knew what it was all about. Until now.

The Barrington History Museum at 212 W. Main St. is a hidden gem this time of the year. Calling ahead, you can book a personal tour for your family on virtually any weekday afternoon or on Saturdays, the museum is volunteer-run – meaning two things – entrance costs are low, and staff members love their jobs.

Most thrilling, the traveling exhibits are exceptional. I found myself nose-close to a preserved mammoth tooth and a patch of Ice Age dirt that contains remnants of life from thousands of years ago.

But what happens when you leave nearly any entertainment venue these days? Your kids want a souvenir ... and after the kicking and screaming or breaking out the cash – you finally strap them into their carseat. Am I right?

Good thing the newly opened Barrington History Museum Store has dozens of unique take-home trinkets – all reasonably priced. There are toys and books for a couple of bucks, as well as candy for mere cents.

Kids or no kids – the Barrington History Museum has truly impressed me as a one-stop shop for winter break entertainment. It would even be a neat place to meet up with neighbors or a nice way to find some thoughtful gifts for friends without battling the shopping mall crowds.

You can read my full story on page 12 for additional information on the Barrington Historical Society, its museum, exhibits, store and more.

I’ve grown to learn the Barrington community is all about giving back, and while we are often reminded to shop local, I think we tend to forget about adventuring local as well.

What better adventure than a time machine?

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