Glide across the ice without Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Indoor ice skating centers across Connecticut feature family-friendly events and activities—and an occasional glimpse of an Olympic skater! Or step outside and enjoy the winter landscape at one of the state's skiing, snowboarding and tubing locations.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS 2014 AT LAKE COMPOUNCE AMUSEMENT PARK
Weekends starting November 28 – December 21, 2014
Park open 4-9 pm on Fridays and 5-9 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT 06010
The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of Children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa. Adult $14.99; Child (10 and younger) & Seniors (ages 60 and older) $10.99; Children 3 and under FREE. Event is free with a 2014 or 2015 Platinum Season Pass.
HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES
Allegra Farm & Horse Drawn Carriage & Sleigh Museum
69 Town Road, East Haddam, CT 06423
For times and fees, call 860.537.8861
There is nothing so enchanting as the sound of sleigh bells and the whisper of runners on fresh snow! Have a "Currier and Ives" experience as you bundle up in your lap robes and hand muffs, and let the sleigh take you from this bustling century to a more tranquil time. Bring your own refreshments to warm your body and spirit.
SANTA’S TROLLEY WINTER WONDERLAND
The Shore Line Trolley Museum
17 River Street, East Haven, CT 06512
November 28-30; December 6-7, 13-14, & 20-21, 2014;10:30 am–7 pm
Take a ride into the past at The Shore Line Trolley Museum and have your children visit with Santa! Inspect our antique trolleys decorated for the holidays. Enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate. Check out our model train layout. Bring the whole family and the camera! All children receive a small gift from Santa. You don’t want to miss getting a picture of your little ones on Santa’s lap.
In the evening the museum transforms itself into a wonderland of festive holiday lights. Many of the trolleys, buildings and sites in the yard area have been decorated for the holidays adding a wonderful soft glow reminding you of Christmas’ past. Start a new tradition your family will never forget! Adults $10, Children ages 2-15 $6, Infants under age 2 Free.
WINTERFEST AND THE TUNNEL OF LIGHTS
The Connecticut Trolley Museum
58 North Road, East Windsor, CT 06088
November 28 – December 30, 2014; 5–9 pm
Join hundreds of others and start a family tradition of coming for a trolley ride during the holiday season. Whether you ride a closed car or brave the cold to ride the open "electric sleigh", we promise you a good time and one that you'll remember for years. Join your motormen in singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley makes its way through the "Tunnel of Lights". Returning to the Visitor Center, it's always a race to get into the warmth and enjoy a nice steaming cup of hot cocoa as you listen to the entertainment and admire all the model trains and displays. Adults $12; Youth (2-12 Years) $8; Under Age 2 $3.
THE EAGLE FLYER SOARS AGAIN!
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT 06426
February 14-16, 2015; Departs at 11 am and 2 pm.
Vintage Diesel Locomotive 0900 will pull the Eagle Flyer out of Essex Station for a 2.5 hour eco-excursion. The train will make local stops in Deep River, Chester, Eagle Landing State Park and Haddam. Local residents may board at their nearby train station (see online schedule). Naturalists will be on board to share information about our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, and its glorious migration south to the CT River Valley from December to March. Bring binoculars!
CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS AT HILL-STEAD MUSEUM
35 Mountain Road, Farmington, CT 06032
Holiday Memories: Tales & Traditions of an Early 20th Century Christmas:
November 25, 2014 – January 4, 2015; Tues-Sun. 10 am–4 pm.
Free with admission to the museum. Free to members.
You’ll feel like an invited guest when you tour the country house, decorated for the holiday! Immerse yourself in the Pope family’s holiday celebrations, and view objects from family archives as well as decorations inspired by early 20th century traditions.
Holiday Boutique: December 6-7; 10 am–4 pm
More than twenty-five artists and crafters bring their best to present a dazzling array of unique holiday gifts including clothing and accessories, fine art and antiques, home and bath items, jewelry and sweet and savory treats.
A Children’s Holiday Tour: December 6; 11 am
New this season – a special holiday tour just for children will be offered during the Holiday Boutique. Visitors can shop for unique and hand-made gifts while their children tour the historic house with one of our wonderful museum guides. Space is limited, contact Kate Ebner at 860.677.4787 x 142 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to reserve a spot. Tour is open to children 6-12 years old and free with children’s museum admission.
Meet the Family: December 7; Noon–4 pm
Free with admission to the museum. Free to members.
Travel back in time to Christmas 1901. Museum interpreters portray members of the Hill-Stead family during the holidays, including Theodate herself, their household staff and such illustrious visitors as artist Mary Cassatt and others. Get the ultimate insider’s look on life at Hill-Stead.
CT River Expeditions/River Quest
1 Marine Park, Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT 06438
Come aboard, enjoy winter while experiencing the beauty and solitude of the lower Connecticut River, home to migrating and resident Bald Eagles, and other wintering wildlife. A naturalist will talk about eagle biology and ecology, and point out other wintering birds and wildlife seen on our cruise. RiverQuest has a fully enclosed heated cabin, enough to take the chill off, but, dress warm because you will want to be outside for most of the journey observing our wintering wildlife up close. Due to the length of this cruise, no children under 10 years old please. Due to the popularity of our Eagle Cruises, reservations are required. To make a reservation, please use our on-line booking. Cost is $40 for all passengers. Look forward to seeing you aboard.
December 6, 2014; 2-6pm
Hamden’s Town Center Park
2716 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518
The event will include a puppet show, carousel rides, hayrides, crafts, letters to Santa, caroling, tree lighting and Santa’s arrival by fire truck. All events except the puppet show are free.
The puppet show will take place at the Miller Cultural Center, 2901 Dixwell Avenue at 2:30 pm. Admission is $2 children/$3 adults. Please bring an unwrapped toy for the Hamden Kids Holiday Toy Drive.
FAMILY PROGRAMS AT THE CT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1 Elizabeth Street, Hartford, CT 06105
860.236.5621 x222 or email email@example.com
Holiday Poppers: December 6, 2014; 10 am–1 pm
Come celebrate the holidays at CHS with our annual popper craft! First invented by a London pastry chef in the 1840s, poppers (or “crackers”) have become timeless favorites. Poppers make great gifts, holiday party favors, or New Year’s Eve noisemakers. Traditional fillers, like candy, paper hats, and fortunes will be provided, or you may bring your own.
Behind the Scenes Tour: G. Fox and Holiday Shopping:
December 13, 2014; 11 am–12 pm.
860.236.5621 x 289 or email jennifer_steadman@chs.
Holidays in Hartford in the 1950s through the 1990s were synonymous with its largest downtown department store. Come take a holiday stroll down memory lane through the CHS’s collection of G. Fox memorabilia, store displays, and holiday ornaments. Stay to browse through our CHS store and do some of your own holiday shopping. Tour lasts approximately 1 hour and are appropriate for ages 12 and up. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. $6 CHS members; $12 non-members.
Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT 06103
November 29, 2014 – February 1, 2014; 11 am–8 pm
Free public ice skating at Winterest on the east side of Bushnell Park over by the Pump House. Don’t have your own skates? Winterfest has free skate rentals too. Free Ice Skating; Bushnell Park Carousel, Candy Cane Café, Free Photos with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays, Noon – 3 pm until December
HOLIDAY LIGHT FANTASIA
Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Avenue, Hartford/Wethersfield Line
November 27, 2014 – January 1, 2015
Open nightly, Sunday – Thursday 5–9 pm; Friday – Saturday 5–10 pm. Proceeds to benefit the Channel 3 Kids Camp.
41ST FESTIVAL OF TREES & TRADITIONS
600 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103
December 5 – 14, 2014;
The Festival has become an annual holiday tradition for many visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Every year community members, artists and organizations are asked to decorate holiday trees and wreaths to be displayed in the galleries. All items are for sale, and profits help fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Purchase a tree or wreath for your home or to donate to a local charity.
Check out the website for information on “Second Saturday for Families” events.
FIRST NIGHT HARTFORD
December 31, 2014; 2 pm to Midnight
Programs and Events throughout various locations in Downtown Hartford. Two spectacular fireworks displays at 6 pm & midnight in Bushnell Park. $12 adults; $3 youth ages 3-15; FREE admission ages 2 and under. Discounted parking rates – FREE Hartford Dash shuttle.
Visit the historic homes of Harriet Beecher Stowe & Mark Twain decked out for the holidays.
Park once – visit both houses! Inquire about combined ticket rate. Call or visit website for tour schedules.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105
Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
Holiday Shopping Discounts in the Stowe Museum Store
November 28 – December 31, 2014
Discounts include 10% of all items (20% for members); $5 Nook Farm Book Talk selections; $5 off household memberships and Gift sets – just in time for holiday shopping.
HO-HO-HOLIDAY PARADE & TREE LIGHTING
December 7, 2014; 2 pm
Parade begins at 2 pm and will proceed from the former railroad station parking lot on Bradley Rd and end at the Café Allegre. Santa will be available fo rchildren’s visits from 2:15 – 4 pm on the porch of Café Allegre. Children are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Madison Food Pantry. Hayrides, gingerbread house displays, ice carving demonstrations, antique & class cars, face painting, great shopping, free cocoa and live music are some of the activities planned to usher in the Holidays in town.
Tree lighting at 5:30 pm.Caroling and cocoa will accompany the tree lighting and the Madison ABC Concert will take place at the First Congregational Church on the Green atfter the tree lighting.
LITTLE THEATRE OF MANCHESTER AT CHENEY HALL
177 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT 06040
Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. December 20, 2014; 2 pm
Recommended for children 8 years and older. Admission is $5; Children ages 8-12 are free. Call 860.647.9824 or visit website for additional shows.
THE MAIN STREET SINGERS
Winter Concert: December 13, 2014; 4 pm
90 Main Street, New Britain, CT 06051
Free Admission. Donations appreciated.
Holiday Lights 2014 Performance at Lake Compounce: December 20, 2014; 4:30 & 5:30 pm
186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol, CT 06010
Purchase tickets at the door.
NEW BRITAIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERTS
December 7, 2014; 3-5 pm
Brass and Organ Holiday Concert
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
147 West Main Street, New Britain, CT 06052
The fullness, warmth, and power of brass and organ is the perfect way to open the holiday season. The sounds will lift your spirits and bring back joyous memories of holidays with friends and family. Listen, celebrate, and remember. Reception to follow.
February 8, 2015; 3-4:30 pm
Pre-Valentine’s Day Concert
Mooreland Hill School
166 Lincoln Street, Kensington, CT 06037
Bring your sweethearts, best friends, and families to this pre-Valentine’s Day concert to hear music expressing love through the ages. The beautiful sounds of the harp, flute, and voice will unleash your imaginations and allow your hearts to soar. A reception will follow with Valentine treats, wine, and other beverages.
YALE PEABODY MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS
170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511
February Vacation Two-Day Camp for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Graders: February 16 & 17, 2015; 9 am–4 pm.
Are you looking for a fun and educational camp for your child during February school break? Look no further! Our two-day camp will be filled with interactive learning activities about animals, plants, dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, space and other topics, including special viewing of specimens from the Yale Peabody Museum’s exceptional collections.There is a fee, camp forms and registration required.
For information contact Camp Director Josue Irizarry at 203.432.6646.
WINTER STROLL & TORCH LIGHT PARADE
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
Winter Stroll; December 5, 2014; 5–9 pm
Join the Main Street Business Association for a fun evening of hayrides, a visit with Santa, music, treats and events at each business along Main Street.
Torch Light Parade; December 13, 2014; 6 pm
This year’s parade will feature over 20 Fife & Drum Corps, a variety of Christmas floats, two bagpipe bands and many other marching united.
SEAL WATCH CRUISE
Thimble Island Cruise
Thimble Island Road to Dock, Stony Creek, CT 06405
Cruises available beginning March 2015. Call for details and pricing.
THE NEW CHILDREN'S MUSEUM EVENTS
950 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford, CT 06119
SPECIAL HOLIDAY SHOW premieres November 22, 2014: Let It Snow – a Christmas Journey of music and animation in the planetarium. Visit website for show dates and times.
Offered through The New Children’s Museum, West Hartford, CT – Events will be held at:
Roaring Brook Nature Center
70 Gracey Road, Canton, CT 06019
Winter Solstice Celebration:
December 21, 2014; 2–3:30 pm
Come have fun at the Nature Center on the shortest day of the year. Take a guided hike in Werner Woods. Make a variety of winter-related crafts, or watch a slide show on the beauty of winter. Hot chocolate will be provided after the hike. No need to preregister. Program, hike and crafts free with admission to the Nature Center.
GINGERBREAD DAY! (AND NIGHT)
Noah Webster House
227 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06107
Gingerbread Day is an annual event which allows kids and adults alike to construct a creation from homemade gingerbread, fresh icing, and delicious candies. Pre-registration is required. Register online or call.
December 12, 2014; 6-8 pm.
Adult Night: adults age 21 and over can join us for a BYOB (or W) gingerbread house event! Bring your favorite beer or wine (we’ll provide the glasses), grab a seat, and build away. The evening will feature light hors d’oeuvres, tiny decorative candies, colored icing, and door prizes. Each house kit is $17 for museum members and $20 for non-members
December 13, 2014; 10 am, 1 & 3 pm.
Family-Friendly Day: At three different sessions, kids and adults alike can build a delightful (and delicious!) house from holiday themed candies, white icing, and homemade cookies. While your house dries, enjoy a wintery story time or visit Noah's Discovery Learning Space. Each house kit is $13 for museum members and $16 for non-members.
HOLIDAY EVENTS AT BLUE BACK SQUARE
West Hartford, CT 06107
Holiday Stroll: December 4, 2014; 5:30-8:30 pm
Get into the Holiday spirit with a night that the entire family can enjoy! Sit with your family & friends aboard our horse-drawn carriage rides as they go around beautiful West Hartford. Take a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus while listening to carolers. Enjoy local bands and children singing groups on our stage; a tree lighting and more! Stop in Barnes & Noble for a special story time and try some holiday treats, goodies and giveaways in all of our stores.
Home for the Holidays: December 4 – 7, 2014.
Habitat for Humanity 4th Annual Gingerbread build. Gingerbread house build competitions, silent auction, crafts for kids and decorating demonstrations. Proceeds from this event benefit Hartford are Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Program.
Blue Back Mitten Run: December 7, 2014; 10 am
Enjoy a holiday 5k course that benefits our neighbors in need by accepting donations of new mittens, scarves and hats. Check out HartfordMarathon.com to register.
CANDLELIGHT TOURS CELEBRATING THREE CENTURIES OF CHRISTMAS
211 Main Street, Wethersfield, CT 06109
Tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years. This year, two evening candlelight tours, with costumed guides, have been added for viewing the three elegantly appointed historic houses that comprise the museum.
Candlelight tours are offered on two Fridays, December 12 & 19; 5-8pm.
Daylight tours will be held from December 13, 2014 through January 4, 2015;
Saturdays from 10-am-4pm and Sundays from 1-4pm.
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