Places Tagged Christmas

Festival of the SEAson

Celebrate the holidays at the world's largest aquarium throughout the month of December. The Georgia Aquarium's Festival of the SEAson is a relatively new attraction, but much like the 10 million gallon underwater world itself, has caught on fast and shows no sign of stopping soon. Enjoy musical performances from local choirs, visit with a seaside Santa at Santa's Bay, watch Christmas movies, and enjoy the sights of a festive Atlanta out the windows of the second floor where Santa's Bay is located. You can even enjoy the aquarium's own Scuba Claus. Not only does your ticket include all of these spectacular extras, but you also get to enjoy the beautiful aquarium while you visit. Take your family, your friends or a date to the aquarium this year and start a new holiday tradition that's bound to bring smiles to all faces for years to come.

Plaid Tidings at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

If you've never been to Chanhassen Dinner Theatres add it to your holiday list of things to do. As the nation's largest Equity (professional status) dinner theatre company you will not be disappointed in the high quality and entertaining shows and plays presented here. Over the holidays, Plaid Tidings, the special holiday edition of the musical Forever Plaid is performed featuring the Plaid Boys: Sparky, Smudge, Frankie and Jinx. This evening really is fun for the entire family. Some of the acts will be familiar as the Plaid boys present their version of Vienna Boys Choir, The Ed Sullivan Show,  the Rockettes, the Chipmunk.

Holiday Lights

Visit Carlisle Reservation, the biggest of Lorrain County’s metro parks, for a look at the holidays, mixed with the great outdoors. The walking trails are decorated by local business. Once you’ve walked as far as your feet will carry you, hop aboard the train for a ride down a different decorated path. Warm up inside the visitor’s center with free snacks and hot beverages. Get in for free when each family member presents a non-perishable food item. Call ahead or check their website before you go. Special events are scheduled throughout the season, including holiday crafts, gift wrapping and game nights.

Holiday Trains

Shop for your Christmas tree and have a little holiday fun, all in one stop. Puritas Nursery offers a look at a unique holiday train display, free for the public to view. Whether or not you have a train buff in your family, you’ll all delight in watching the model train move through the miniature landscape. The surrounding landscape of holiday lights and poinsettias make it the perfect setting for holiday photos, so be sure to bring along your camera. Call ahead to see when Santa’s arrivals are scheduled – he makes several stops at the nursery throughout the season.

December Days

Enjoy the holidays in the wild without leaving Cleveland. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and RainForest includes over 3,000 animals within 165 acres. During December Days, held during the holiday season at the zoo, you might spot Santa around any corner or stumble upon Mrs. Claus’ workshop for crafting and cookie making. Bundle up and walk, or hop aboard a heated shuttle to get out of the cold. You may not get a chance to see some of the warmer weather animals, but the winter-loving animals will be out an about, putting on a much better show than they do through the summer months.

“A Christmas Carol”

Get in the true spirit of the season by taking in a performance of “A Christmas Carol” at Playhouse Square’s Ohio Theatre. Children and adults will delight in the Charles Dickens tale that tells the story of the true reason for the season. For an inexpensive theater experience, try out Smart Seats, tickets made available to most events for just $10 or $20. Make your theater experience a night on the town. Dress up the whole family, park in the Playhouse Square Parking Garage, and eat at one of the many fine restaurants within walking distance from the theater before the show.


Surround yourself in the beauty of the holiday season at the Cleveland Botanical Garden during WinterShow. Brilliantly decorated Christmas trees, animal topiaries and other holiday plants deck the halls of the entire facility. You’ll see a huge display of gingerbread houses, and may even catch some live music while you’re there. Get a bite to eat at the Garden Café, serving holiday favorites throughout the event. Do some Christmas shopping for any gardeners on your list at the gift shop. Once you’ve seen the sights at the garden, don’t rush away just yet. Take your receipt from the WinterShow across the street to the Wade Oval skating rink and enjoy free ice skating.

Deck the Halls

The historic house museum and country estate is transformed each winter to present Deck the Hall. Your family will be greeted with bright holiday lights as soon as you enter the grounds. The entire estate is decorated to reflect Christmas’ of the past. Get there early to get the whole experience; the night begins with a Christmas tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. every day. If you bring the kids along, be sure to stop by Santa’s workshop and try some hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies. Don’t stop at the main house. Make sure you visit every building on the grounds, because each one has a different holiday treat in store.

Polar Express

Take a night ride Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to see the sights and sounds of the season. The whole family will sit comfortable in their pajamas and snack on hot chocolate and cookies during the Polar Express. Children will listen intently to a reading of the classic story by one of Santa’s elves while en route to a lighted North Pole. If you’re lucky, Santa himself will pay a visit during the ride. Buy your tickets early, as most scheduled departures tend to sell out before the start of the holiday season. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, make sure you get there early, as well. While cars are assigned, seats are not. Be one of the first to arrive to assure good seats and the chance to sit with your entire group.

A Christmas Story House and Museum

It’s Christmas all year long at A Christmas Story House and Museum. The Cleveland home that served as the setting for the famous Christmas flick is now recently restored and open for tours. Walk through Ralphie’s former home and see it as it was with original props from the movie, including the popular leg lamp. To make your visit even more special, watch the movie before you go. It’ll make the set seem even more familiar. After you’ve been through the house, visit the official museum across the street. Do some holiday shopping while you’re there – the museum gift shop is the world’s best seller of leg lamps.

Snow Days

It doesn’t have to be baseball season for Indians fans to have fun at Progressive Field.Snow Days, an annual event that turns the much loved baseball field into a winter wonderland, is a popular stop during the holiday season.Walk through Winter Haven, a beautiful outdoor light display, ice skate around the Frozen Mile or snow tube down the Batterhorn, a 60-foot high slide of ice that begins at the top of the bleachers. When you get too cold, warm up in the heated Indians’ dugout or the children’s play area inside. Ice skating and snow tubing does cost extra, so families of four who plan to partake in all the activities would benefit from purchasing a family pack.

Giant Gingerbread House

What do you get when you combine 800 pounds of flour, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of sugar, 1,050 pounds of honey and a handful of pixie dust? A very large gingerbread house at a Disney resort of course! The 16-foot gingerbread house is located in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and free to see. There are multiple times throughout the season when there's a Disney pastry chef on site directing guests on how to create their very own gingerbread houses. Take a stroll around the massive sweet structure to get a glimpse of every intricate detail. There's even smoke coming out of the lifesize chimney. If you're feeling hungry, there's a gingerbread store inside of the actual gingerbread house where guests can purchase their own sweet treat.

Scrooge in Rouge

Sure you can see the classic performance of The Nutcracker by the Milwaukee Ballet or enjoy the traditional version of A Christmas Carol put on by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, but why not have a little zany holiday fun instead? In Tandem Theatre’s production of Scrooge in Rouge adds a touch of comedy to a Christmas classic. Set in a mid-1800s British music hall in London, the story centers on a cast of 20 set to perform the traditional A Christmas Carol when food poisoning takes out 17 of the actors, leaving only three performers to play all 27 roles! Of course, a roller coaster of comedy ensues in the tradition of vaudeville with plenty of bawdy lines and double-entendres. So leave the little ones at home -- this is a production best enjoyed by attendees over 16 years old. 

Macy's Holiday Parade

The Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Orlando is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, which means the parade is bigger and better than ever. Handlers maneuver the gigantic floats and balloons straight from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade through the park's streets. Kids will spot characters including Shrek, Scooby Doo, The Simpsons and even Dora during the parade. Costumes and parade performaces are over the top. Picture a giant candy cane woman on stilts. Rooftop confetti cannons blanket parade watchers and the streets below. Check the website for parade times. Parade admittance is included in admission to Universal Studios Orlando.


For 10 days every December, the Frontier Airlines Center transforms into a Winter Wonderland with holiday activities for the whole family -- even on New Year’s Eve. Whatever the weather outdoors, you’ll find 150,000-square-feet of family fun that includes a synthetic ice rink, a trackless train, inflatable slides, an indoor movie theatre playing the classics and a snow globe-style inflatable jump around that’s perfect for snapping holiday photographs. Other activities include a carousel, a mini-golf course, and an entertainment stage where you can see all sorts of Christmas concerts, plus the city’s own talent competition -- Milwaukee’s Got Talent. And the best part is, all the activities are free with the price of admission so you can have as much holiday fun as you can fit into one day.

A Cedarburg Christmas

Just under 25 minutes north of Milwaukee, the historic town of Cedarburg and the craft stores and antique shops of the Cedar Creek Settlement transform each December into an Old World holiday village. Bring the family for a day visiting sweet-looking Santa’s Workshop, the Antique Toy Exhibit, the living Nativity and a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a picturesque forest illuminated with thousands of holiday lights. Check the town’s busy holiday calendar foe special events like their Festival Fridays aimed at kids and families with holiday craft projects, face painting, cookie decorating and visits with Santa Claus. Some events feature adults-only activities such as food and wine tastings or some live entertainment shows. 

The Domes’ Holly, Jolly Holidays

Locally referred to as simply  “The Domes,” the Mitchell Park Conservatory stages a special holiday display in it’s seasonally changing Floral Show Dome. More than just a flower display, the dome transforms into an annual, Christmas-themed fantasy garden complete with decorated Christmas trees, holiday flowers, buildings and statues of characters from various fairytales, such as Santa Claus’ from around the world and elves at work in toy shops. The Floral Show Dome typically closes for two weeks in between seasons, so call a head to ensure that the holiday-themed dome is currently open to visitors. If you want more than just a stroll through a holiday-themed garden, come to the domes at night for one of their Music Under Glass concerts during the Christmas season. 

The Polar Express -- IMAX Experience

Forget taking kids to see yet another Christmas tree and stop instead at the Milwaukee Public Museum to take in the enormous, suspended humpback whale skeleton that’s been literally lit up like a Christmas tree with thousands of holiday lights. The museum also decorates the streets of historic Old Milwaukee and the European Village displays with traditional decorations that teach children about celebrations of a turn-of-the-century holiday. Finish off the holiday excursion with a viewing of The Polar Express at the museum’s IMAX theater to experience the story of a young boy’s journey of self-discovery aboard a magical Christmas train. The museum also hosts several free-with-admission, holiday-themed storytimes and interactive events throughout the season, so be sure to check their online event calendar before planning your trip.

The Country Christmas

Wisconsin’s largest outdoor drive-through lights display just a half-hour ride outside of Milwaukee in the city of Waukesha, at the Country Springs Hotel. Displayed amongst 40 forested acres, the Country Christmas display has over one million holiday lights shaped like holiday carriages, castles and candy canes. Make sure every seat in your vehicle is filled with a friend or family member as the event charges by the carload. After the drive, hop out to buy some hot chocolate at the refreshment stand to warm up with while wandering Christmas Village with its working model train. Move on from secular to sacred on the Streets of Bethlehem to view an exact replica of the Vatican’s nativity display. 

Christmas at the Zoo

Winter doesn’t close the Milwaukee County Zoo! Open 365 days a year, the zoo has all sorts of holiday activities throughout the holidays, making it the perfect place to enjoy a little Christmas cheer. Participate in the Milwaukee County Zoo’s annual Giving Tree where kids select wish list ornaments from the tree to discover which special treat they can give to their favorite animal -- like gifting bubble bath to the African Elephants or painting supplies to Mahal the Orangutan. On certain days throughout December you can even have a (reservation-required) breakfast or lunch with Santa, then wander through the child-decorated Fantastic Forest of Holiday Trees. When the holiday gets too hectic, keep the zoo in mind as an out-of-the-house activity option to get kids and guests out of your hair for a few hours  -- even on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.