Happy Wednesday Smarties. The countdown is on and Christmas is right around the corner. What better way to enjoy the holiday than to take the weekend and enjoy all the many activities around our Queen City. Check out the holiday lights, plays and great events at our local parks. Just get out and enjoy!
Polar Express PJ Art Party
Small Hands Big Art
December 16, 6:00pm-8:00pm
All aboard! Bundle the kids up in their coziest pajamas and drop them off for a two hour magical ride on the Polar Express! Children age 4+ will create Polar Express inspired handcrafted gifts to give (and maybe one or two to keep), & holiday decorations! Hot cocoa & cookie included.Drop off, age 4+. 10% of the registration fee will be donated to the new Ronald McDonald House! For more info and to register visit www.smallhandsbigart.com or call 704.246.8271. Cost is $35 / $15 additional family members.
Latta Plantation Nature Center
December 17, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Winter can be a tough time for wildlife. Why not help out by decorating a tree with tasty treats for them? We will go on a short hike to gather materials before we settle down to a cup of hot cocoa and homemade edible ornaments. Cost is $4.
Saturday with Santa
McDowell Nature Center
December 17, 12:00-1:45pm
Santa meets many animals in his travels around the world but his favorite live in your backyard. Come hear Santa talk about his many encounters with local wildlife. Free hot chocolate and photo opportunities with Santa and friends included, donations are encouraged and go to a local charity.
Decorate Santa Cookies
December 17, 10:00am-11:00am
Join us to decorate cookies for Santa and see the famous Santa Cow.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
December 17-18, Sat., 11:00am, 1:00pm; Sun., 2:00pm
All the other toys in the nursery snub the Velveteen Rabbit for being boring, old-fashioned and stuffed with sawdust. But when the Boy discovers the little rabbit under his tree on Christmas morning, they become instant friends. As their friendship grows, the Velveteen Rabbit learns what it means to be truly loved – and the smiles and tears that come from being “real”. Adapted from the classic book by Margery Williams, this poignant story has charmed generations of families and continues to be loved by audiences today. Cost is $14-$18.
Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte
December 16-18, Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 11:00am, 2:00pm; Sun, 2:00pm, 5:00pm
First grader Junie B. Jones can’t decide how she feels about the holidays. On the one hand, she couldn’t be more excited about her school’s holiday gift shop, especially the super-amazing Squeeze-a-Burp toy. On the other hand, her tattletale classmate May just might ruin the entire Holiday Sing-Along. When Junie B. draws May’s name for Secret Santa, she hatches a plan to give her nemesis a lump of coal while snagging the Squeeze-a-Burp for herself. Cost is $18-$24.
Cookies and Cocoa with Santa
N.C. Transportation Museum
December 16-17, 5:30pm, 6:30pm and 7:30pm
Take a 25-minute evening train ride to the Roundhouse to share hot cocoa and cookies and sit on Santa’s lap to tell him their fondest Christmas wishes. Kids can then visit the storytelling and activity area to hear Santa’s elves read Christmas tales, make a craft and to mail Santa a postcard from the Railway Express Office train car. Cost is $12-$15. Free for children under 2.
NC Dance Theatre presents Nutcracker
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
December 16-18, Fri., 7:30pm; Sat. 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sun., 2:00pm, 7:00pm
The holidays aren’t complete without seeing Nutcracker, Charlotte’s favorite holiday tradition. Bring your family and friends along for this holiday spectacular featuring choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and over 100 performers. Be there as the Nutcracker Prince triumphs over the evil Mouse King and as the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the audience with dazzling dancing sweets. Cost is $25-$79.
Carolina Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway is excited to bring the holidays to life this winter season with the return of Carolina Christmas, a spectacular drive-through Christmas light park and village located at the legendary superspeedway. Carolina Christmas is one of the largest holiday light shows in the United States, featuring more than 600 LED light displays boasting 3 million lights. Carolina Christmas also offers a Christmas Village with a realistic Bethlehem-themed village, a Festival of Trees, photos with Santa and areas with food and music. Carolina Christmas will expand to be bigger and better in 2011. Visitors will love the extended route filled with Christmas lights and displays. Carolina Christmas goers will enter the light park at zMAX Dragway, pass by The Dirt Track at Charlotte and into Charlotte Motor Speedway where a drive on the 1.5-mile superspeedway is part of the holiday fun. The light show is open 7 days a week, while the Christmas village is open Thursday through Sunday. Cost is $20 per car.
Christmas at the Billy Graham Library
Billy Graham Library
December 1-23, 5:00pm-10:00pm
Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides through beautiful lights, a live Nativity, carolers and festive music, story time for children, exquisite decorations, seasonal treats and shopping. Pet the animals from noon-2 pm. Carriage photos have been added this year. Additional cost for carriage rides.
Mummies of the World
Mummies of the World, the largest exhibition of mummies and related artifacts ever assembled, presents a never-before-seen collection of naturally and intentionally preserved mummies. This compelling collection, presented with reverence and dignity, includes ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years.
Zootastic Park of Lake Norman
December 16-18, 6:00pm-10:00pm
Join us for our largest annual event. Drive through 2 miles of forest and enjoy over 1.2 million lights. Santa joins us each night, we also have concessions with hot cocoa, pony rides, petting zoos and much more. Cost is $5 per person.
Holiday Lights at The Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Ongoing, Sun.-Thurs.; 5:00pm-9:00pm; Fri. and Sat., 5:00pm-10:00pm
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden will present Holiday Lights at The Garden featuring the theme, “A Vintage Christmas.” Holiday lights will showcase about a half million lights, a Christmas tree created with hundreds of orchids, carriage rides, live entertainment, a custom-designed model railroad and even a visit from Santa. Cost is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors 60-plus, and $6 children 4-12.
WBT Holiday on Ice
Corner of MLK Boulevard and Brevard on The NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
Ongoing, Wed-Fri, 5-10pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun., 11am-7pm
WBT Holiday on Ice is back for the 2011 holiday season! As you feel the air get colder, you will feel the chill in the air from the ice rink….in a NEW LOCATION, now located at the corner of MLK Blvd and Brevard on The NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza. And we are more than 30% larger. That means more skating room for you to cut up the ice! Heck yeah! Holiday on Ice will continue it’s tradition bringing Charlotte the coolest surface in the city, an outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of Uptown. It’s a holiday tradition for us to continue with you, your friends, and family. And we hope to see you there! Cost is $9; skate rental $3.
Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra
Founders Hall, Bank of America Corporate Center
Mon.-Fri., 10:00am-2:00pm, 5:00pm, 6:00pm; Sat.-Sun., hourly from 8:00am-6:00pm
One of Charlotte’s favorite family traditions is returning to Founders Hall this holiday season – Leonard Bearstein and his animatronic orchestra. The 45-minute program features holiday favorites, including: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and many more!
A Christmas Carol
December 16-18, Fri., 7:00pm; Sat., 2:30pm and 7:00pm; Sun., 2:30pm
Theatre Charlotte’s holiday tradition is back for the 5th consecutive year. This version captures the magic and mystique of the Dickens original. At the opening, Charles Dickens is presenting a reading of his popular “A Christmas Carol.” As he begins the story unfolds on stage around him: the classic tale of hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by the ghost of his late partner Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. These spirits gradually warm old Scrooge’s heart, as well as ours. Cost is $8-$24.