Winter is a fabulous time to find fun-filled, family holiday festivals and carnivals! They’ll help your kids get away from the television and out with the family. Sure it’s cold, but that’s what warm woolen mittens and steaming cups of cocoa are for, right?
Ride Above the Treetops Like Santa
Stone Mountain Park, November 14 – December 30
Be prepared to be dazzled! Stone Mountain Park (SMP) is almost overwhelming in its collection of winter activities for families. Watch plays and shows, eat and shop or enjoy some holiday carols. SMP boasts one of the top 10 places to visit Santa, and they also have a fantastic aerial tram that will take you to the top of the mountain. Look down at two million twinkling lights below, enjoy holiday shopping and soak up the holiday cheer.
Snowy Good Time in the Desert
Goodyear Homeplate for the Holidays, 1st Saturday of December
Goodyear, AZ near Phoenix
Grab your hat and gloves and head out to a wonderland in the desert covered with SNOW! Twenty miles west of Phoenix, the city of Goodyear manufactures 40 tons of snow for the kids living in the Arizona desert to frolic and play. Santa will join in the festivities via fire truck, and there will be a multitude of crafts, rides and other activities that are sure to delight even the grumpiest Scrooge.
Winter Fun by the Water
Winter Wonder Fest at Navy Pier, December 4 – January 3
The Winter Wonder Fest is a veritable month-long cornucopia of holiday events and activities. From music to food or rides to fireworks, Navy Pier has it all! Your kids can also meet the Navy Pier mascot or grab the autographs of some other favorite characters. Beware of the “holiday cops,” Doug and Eddie. They are on the lookout for un-holiday-like behavior and might give you a ticket and send you to Bah Humbug Court to protest your ticket! Don’t worry though – it’s not hard to get a favorable ruling.
Ice, Ice, Baby
Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland, December 4 and 5
Bethesda, MD near Washington, D.C.
Just outside of Washington, D.C. lies the town of Bethesda, where an annual festival offers community spirit and a few winter wonders. The fantastic live ice-sculpting exhibit will amaze your kids as blocks of ice are transformed into whimsical winter creatures and characters with only the aid of chainsaws and chisels.
A Victorian Winter Celebration
Dickens on the Strand, December 5 and 6
Galveston, TX near Houston
Ever wished you could live in a Dicken’s Novel? For one weekend, a few hundred costumed performers and vendors will transform a part of Galveston into a 19th Century bustling city with traditional food, music, games and even an appearance by The Queen! There will be events such as “The Victorian Bed Race” and walking tours of the Historic District with a complete overview of the history of Charles Dickens.
Fur Rendezvous, February 26 – March 7
What could be more exciting than a World Champion Sled Dog Race? Every February, people come from all over the world to watch and join in this highly anticipated Alaskan festival. Heavily steeped in Alaskan traditions and Native American culture, children can witness tribal dances, parades and snow sculptures. There’s also a family skating night, and a ton of other fun and exciting events!