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45 family-friendly events in Denver this week

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Don’t miss the 12 Days of Flea, Horseshoe Market, Inside the Orchestra and A Kantorei Christmas 2018. See our event calendar for full listings. 

12 Days of Flea at Denver Union Station

Nov 23 – Dec 16 
The Denver Flea is excited to announce their new Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea! The Denver Flea will be hosting 12 Days of Flea with shopping events for four consecutive weekends kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 and running through Sunday, Dec. 16.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

Dec 5- 15
Start this holiday season with a timeless tale of joy and good will, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and head on over to The Buell Theatre to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. It tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written.

Museum Takeover: Germs at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
Dec 12, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Alert! Alert! Germs are taking over the museum! Okay, not real germs we hope, just lessons about them. With fun learning stations all over the gallery, you can better understand what germs are, how they spread, and why they make us sick. Brave the January cold (season) and learn all about these pesky microbes.

Jazz up the Holidays at Grant-Humphreys Mansion 
Dec 12, 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
We’ve explored the Grant-Humphreys Mansion’s spooky side many times, but this year we’re starting a new tradition. Join us to celebrate the delights of the season. We’ll lift our glasses to the diverse traditions December brings, enjoying stories of Colorado holidays past with Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel and historian Mary O’Neil and their band of merry elves. Some of them even know how to sing, and they’ll entertain us with many a familiar tune. So let’s hang the stockings on the chimney with care, in hopes that you soon will be there!

A Kantorei Christmas 2018 at Lone Tree Arts Center 10075 Commons Street, Lone Tree, CO 
Dec 13 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Now an Arts Center tradition, Kantorei returns for their annual holiday concert. Kantorei, or singers, formed in 1997 under the leadership of six friends who decided to form a choir capable of singing a broad range of a cappella choral music. Now in its 22nd full season of performing, the group has expanded into an auditioned ensemble of more than 50 volunteer singers under the direction of Artistic Director Joel M. Rinsema.

Free Day at Plains Conservation Center 
Dec 14 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Free Days occur throughout the year at both York Street and Chatfield Farms, thanks to funding from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). No tickets are needed for admission to Free Days. Free Days are for regular Gardens hours only and do not include ticketed events.

Free day at Four Mile Historic Park 

Dec 14,  12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Travel back to 1859… for free! Enjoy historic demonstrations, a tour of the Four Mile House Museum—a Denver landmark!—and meeting our many farm animals. Our Hay Bales & Tall Tales story and activity time will also be offered from 12-1 pm.

The Nutcracker of Parker 
Dec 14 – 22 
With a Sugar Plum Fairy and a mystical Nutcracker, comes a Town of Parker tradition. Douglas County’s premier dance school welcomes the entire family to their production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic.

Holiday Pop Up Market at Fairfield by Marriott
Dec 14  – 15
The event is focused on unique holiday gifts, things you cannot buy in most stores. With over 25 unique and fun vendors you are sure to find that perfect gift just in time for Christmas. 

Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at Pepsi Center 
Dec 14, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Watch the Denver Nuggets take on Oklahoma City Thunder!

Breakfast with Santa at Highlands Ranch 
Dec 15, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
To welcome Santa this season the HRCA will be hosting a very special breakfast for the man in red and his festive friends! Santa and Mrs. Claus will once again make a stop in Highlands Ranch this Christmas season for the annual Breakfast with Santa Event. Guests are invited to celebrate the magic of the holiday season and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet with Santa Claus as he travels the globe to visit Eastridge. Bring your appetite for the best pancakes and sausage this side of the North Pole.

Destination Venture at The Rink at Belmar at The Rink at Belmar
Dec 15 – 16
Experience the ultimate staycation when Destination Venture® comes to The Rink at Belmar December 15th and 16th. This free pop-up event presented by Capital One® will bring a ski simulator, workout classes, family-friendly activities, refreshments from local vendors and much more to the open-air shopping center from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Discover the thrill of competitive skiing, then grab a free beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company and a gourmet snack from award-winning restaurant Rioja.

Horseshoe Holiday Markets, next to Rink at Belmar in Lakewood
Dec 15  – 16
Date: Saturdays & Sundays, Dec 8 & 9, Dec 15 & 16, Dec 22 & 23
Start and end time: Saturdays, 10 am-8 pm, Sundays, 11 am-6 pm
Brief description: Voted Denver’s Best Flea Market, the Horseshoe Market will be hosting ‘pop up’ markets with over 70 new vendors each market, every weekend through December 23rd. Shop local and support small businesses. Indoors & cozy, free admission, free covered parking at Belmar and right next to ice rink at Belmar. Plus artisanal food, baked goods, coffee, hot cocoa and cocktail. First 25 customers each day of the market receive a shopping tote and first few lucky customers each day get free ice skating passes to the Rink at Belmar. Dog and family-friendly!

Museum Takeover: Animals at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
Dec 15, 10:00 am – 1:15 pm

Lions and tigers and bears (and snakes!), oh my! Learn all about animals from around the world, right here at FCMoD! With fun, interactive stations throughout the exhibit gallery, you can explore the animal kingdom firsthand. Create your own animal habitat, learn about animal superpowers, and meet the animals in FCMoD’s Animal Encounters exhibit zone.

The Nutcracker (Ballet Ariel)
Dec 15  – 16
Ballet Ariel’s classical version of The Nutcracker returns to Lakewood Cultural Center on December 15th for a limited engagement. Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker is a traditional interpretation interwoven with original, creative elements, resulting in a beautifully inventive ballet performed by Ballet Ariel’s professional company and Ballet Ariel School students to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.

Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues 
Dec 15 – 21
Tiny Tots gets children truly inside the orchestra by seating the audience on the floor and surrounding them with a 30+ piece orchestra. Designed for children six and under, this 45-minute holiday program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process. Tiny Tots audiences receive an up-close-and-personal performance in a festive, fun environment.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center
Dec 15, 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center!

Longmont Museum Holiday Showcase
Dec 15 – 16 
The Longmont Museum’s holiday tradition continues after last year’s sold out events! Join us for songs of the season and holiday cheer from some of the finest musicians and performers in the region. Featuring Longmont’s Centennial State Ballet Nutcracker excerpts and much more!

Ring We Now of Christmas Handbell Concert 
Dec 16, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Have yourself a merry little Christmas with Bells of the Rockies as they perform Ring We Now of Christmas. Let your heart be light as you surround yourself with the delightful sights and sounds handbells bring to this season. Your troubles will be out of sight when you join us.

Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors at Pepsi Center 
Dec 16, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Denver Nuggets face off against the Toronto Raptors

Pet Night with Santa at Outlets at Castle Rock 
Dec 16, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
On Sunday, Dec. 16 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., shoppers are invited to bring along their furry, feathery or fuzzy friend for a special “Pet Night with Santa” photo opportunity. Guests are asked to be sure pets are on leashes or appropriate harnesses. All friendly pets are welcome.

Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas Tour at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 17, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Celebrate this holiday season with the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman as they present The Best of Christmas Tour with your Colorado Symphony. The evening features music from the all-female ensemble’s most favorite Yuletide songs performed by them over the years. Prepare for an enchanting and festive evening filled with mesmerizing music, performance, and holiday cheer.

Ongoing Holiday Events and Exhibits

Horseshow Holiday Markets at Belmar in Lakewood
Dec 8 & 9, Dec 15 & 16, Dec 22 & 23 (Saturdays and Sundays)
Brief description: Voted Denver’s Best Flea Market, the Horseshoe Market will be hosting ‘pop up’ markets with over 70 new vendors each market, every weekend through December 23rd. Shop local and support small businesses. Indoors & cozy, free admission, free covered parking at Belmar and right next to ice rink at Belmar. Plus artisanal food, baked goods, coffee, hot cocoa and cocktails. The first 25 customers each day of the market receive a shopping tote and the first few lucky customers each day get free ice skating passes to the Rink at Belmar. Dog and family-friendly! Saturdays, 10 am-8 pm, Sundays, 11 am-6 pm.

Denver Union Station Holiday Fun
Denver Union Station is officially in business for the holiday season!  Don’t miss the landmark train station’s NEW outdoor Christmas tree, a 40 foot tall tree that will feature more than 7,000 holiday lights. Other festive events this holiday season include the Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea (Dec. 2, 9 and 16), free visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus (Dec. 2nd, Dec. 9th, Dec. 16th and Dec. 23rd) and Sundaes with Santa on Sunday afternoons (2-4 p.m.) features a make-your-own-Sundae Bar featuring including a variety of sauces & toppings for $5 per

Winter Wonderlights
November 16-January 1
This walkable lighting attraction situated in the award-winning Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra will mesmerize guests as they stroll through the sculpture park, which has been transformed for this joyful time of year. Each night, visitors will revel in more than 60,000 holiday string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, illuminated African stone sculptures, a 20’ LED mappable Christmas tree and a six-song music and light show each evening starting at 5 p.m. In addition to nightly lighting attractions, special weekend programming will run Friday and Saturday evenings from Nov. 16 – Dec. 15 featuring Colorado’s largest inflatable igloo, weekend food and retail vendors, prize giveaways and exceptional performances from dance and musical acts from across northern Colorado.

Christkindl Market
Nov 16, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
This annual event brings authentic German and European holiday traditions to Denver. This market opens every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving, and lasts through the 23rd of December. Guests can find delicious cuisine, festive German drinks, handmade jewelry, toys, clothing, gifts and much more. Live entertainment is featured inside the festival tent every evening, and dancing is highly encouraged!

A Hudson Christmas
November 23 – December 31
A Hudson Christmas is an extravaganza of outdoor Christmas lights that will keep the holiday spirit burning bright. Don your warm apparel and get ready to create lifelong memories while you explore this unique display of holiday light artistry. Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones and old friends. See how this woodsy terrain transforms into a winter wonderland where brightly-lit trees weave neon colors into the night sky, reflect off bodies of water, and illuminate happy faces. Share your holiday wishes with Santa Claus, take a family photo on Santa’s sleigh, warm up in the yuletide yurts, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for priceless photo opportunities along the way.

Blossoms of Light
Nov 23, 2018 – Jan 1, 2019
This annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. Don’t miss: The interactive light display, featuring a large field of sound-reactive, animated LED lights. Seasonal entertainment available on select evenings.

Denver Zoo Lights
November 30 – January 6, 2019
Always a memory-making sell-out, be sure to get your Zoo Lights tickets early. Zoo Lights, now in its 28th year and presented by your Hometown Toyota Stores, is Denver’s premier light show spread across 60 acres with over a million bright lights, animated animal sculptures, Santa and Mrs. Claus visits, animal encounters, exciting entertainment, and treats for kids of all ages.

Holiday Flea at Denver Union Station
November 23 – December 16, 2018
Gather your family and friends for the Union Station Holiday Market by Denver Flea, four weekends of shopping, festivities and winter fun, all at the historic Denver Union Station! Hundreds of Colorado’s best makers and artisan brands will pack the Plaza of Union Station each weekend, starting Friday, Nov. 23, for a holiday shopping wonderland in the heart of the Mile High, paired with music, eats, drinks and more. Tickets are $5 per person, and are good for entry/re-entry for the specific weekend for which they are purchased. Children 12 and under are free.

Christmas in Color at Water World
November 23 – December 31
Load up your friends and family into the van (or car, or truck) and experience Christmas like never before. Drive through acres of more than 1.5 million lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. You’ll drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. It’s like being immersed in another world. In fact, we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window.

Santa’s Flight Academy at Cherry Creek
Nov 10, 2018 – Dec 24, 2018
Santa is looking for cadets to help him prepare his sleigh for the big day! Create memorable moments with a magical snow and light show inside Santa’s sleigh, the Flight Suit Visualizer, and of course, a visit with Santa Claus. Don’t miss this one-of-kind interactive experience!

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov 23, 2018 – Dec 23, 2018
Santa and his friends move to Chatfield Farms in November! Chatfield Farms is transformed into a magical village. Join us for an exciting holiday experience for all ages. Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s cinema and find unique holiday gifts in his workshop. Admission includes:  Santa’s live reindeer, kids get pictures with Santa, Snow Man and the reindeer, craft with Mrs. Claus, holiday lights, hayrides, Santa’s Cinema on Elf Boulevard, and Santa’s Workshop will include craft vendors.

St. Nick on the Bricks at Pearl Street Mall
November 23-24; December 1, 8, 15, 22
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center for free. Bring your list and a camera to capture priceless holiday memories.

Olde Golden Christmas
Dec 1, 2018 – Dec 31, 2018
At the closing of each year, Golden celebrates tradition back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden becomes the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, December-long celebration, including a traditional candlelight walk, Victorian carolers, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, free Newfoundland dog pulled cart rides, shopping, dining, three parades down Washington Avenue, and so much more!

The Polar Express
November 10- December 23, 2018
2018 Polar Express Train Ride performances run select dates November through December. Show Times: 5:00PM, 6:30PM & 8:00PM. Each performance will last approximately 75 minutes.   

12 Days of Invertebrates
December 1-31
The 12 Days of Invertebrates at Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion is a holiday-themed exhibit also includes 12 butterflies flitting, 11 bees buzzing, 10 stick insects hiding, 9 sun beetles pooping, and the list goes on in the spirit of the classic holiday song. In all, 12 spineless wonders will be highlighted during the month of December.  

Ice Skating Rink at Denver International Airport
November 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Returning in 2018 for it’s 3rd year, the FREE Ice skating on the DEN Plaza. There truly is Snow Place Like DEN for the Holidays!

Free Skating at Skyline Park
November 20-February 3
Now in its 9th season, the Downtown Denver Rink offers free ice skating seven days a week. Plus, check out the amazing programming–from Snoga to Broomball. Entry is free but skate rentals are $6 for kids 12 & under and $8 for adults 13 & older.

Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker
November 24-December 23
Just in time for the holidays, Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker returns for its 58th year. In addition to being the largest production of The Nutcracker in the state, Colorado Ballet’s 2016 production was named the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S. in the 10th Annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Award Contest. Live music will be performed by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Last season’s performance of The Nutcracker sold out, so be sure to get your tickets early!

Seussical at the Arvada Center
Oct 10 – Dec 29, 2018
Enter the fantastic world of Dr. Seuss in the musical, Seussical! Music and dance bring characters like Horton, the Cat in the Hat, and Gertrude McFuzz together on stage. Don’t miss out on all the fun and all the “thinks you can think.”

Holiday Carousel
December 15 – January 2
Conveniently located at Denver Pavilions (500 16th Street), the Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver to enhance your holiday experience and create memories for years to come. Free rides will be given from Denver Pavilions restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues with purchase, and from select Downtown hotel partners. Partial proceeds will benefit Food Bank of the Rockies.

ELF Hot Chocolate Bar
December 7-28
The  Curtis – a DoubleTree by Hilton invites you to celebrate your festive North Pole spirit this holiday season with a new Elf  Hot Chocolate Bar every Friday in December from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Kick off the weekend with a delicious cup Yuletide cheer – adults are welcome to spike their hot cocoa with a splash of Baileys, Bourbon or Kahlua – topped with a bevy of delicious holiday toppings, including candy canes, sprinkles & marshmallows. Free & open to the public, the Curtis will be collecting donations that will go directly to Denver’s Tennyson Center for Children, which is dedicated to helping children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect, and/or trauma so they can bravely, and safely, change their life’s story. Guests are also invited to decorate snowflakes while enjoying a screening Elf everyone’s favorite feel-good Christmas movie all surrounded by the bold & bright holiday decorations in the Curtis lobby.

A Christmas Carol
November 21 – December 24, 2018
Essential to the holiday season in Denver, A Christmas Carol is a joyous and opulent musical adaptation that traces money-hoarding skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant overnight journey to redemption.

Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
December 7, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Electric Safari at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only one place in Colorado Springs where you can see over 85 one-of-a-kind light sculptures and enjoy a full Zoo experience! For all the details, visit:

Santa on the Square
November 23 -December 24, 2018
Kicking off the day after Thanksgiving and continuing throughout the weekends in December with extended hours, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting Larimer Square. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus are free but please bring your own camera.

Ongoing General Events

Play Ball!at the History Colorado Center
Apr 7, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Treasured memorabilia and iconic photographs bring the past to life through stories that begin on the ball field and echo through American history. Size up your hand against Babe Ruth’s. Find the nails Ty Cobb used to hold his favorite bat together, and admire the glove flashed by Willie Mays to make some of the game’s most memorable catches. See the uniform Joe DiMaggio wore in his final World Series and a receipt for roses he sent to Marilyn Monroe. And much, much more—these are just a few of the one-of-a-kind items on view in Play Ball!

TreeHouses: Look Who’s Living in the Trees! Hands-on exhibit
Jun 2, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Explore the forest canopy – indoors! In the Longmont Museum’s newest hands-on exhibition, visitors roam from tree to tree as they discover the many habitats that trees provide for animals large and small, and people too. Climb through large treehouses, become an animal tracker, get face-to-face with wildlife of all sizes, move your feet on the forest-sound dance floor, and more. This exhibition makes learning fun, as visitors explore responsible forestation, wildlife ecology, and local epidemics such as the ash borer beetle.

Mindbender Mansion
July 20 – January 6, 2019
Love brainteasers? Enter “Mindbender Mansion,” a quirky place full of puzzles, brainteasers and interactive challenges that put minds of all ages to the test. This unique, high-energy experience opened at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on July 20.

Denver Art Museum
There are several family-friendly exhibits at the DAM including Stampede: Animals in Art on view at the museum through May 19, 2019.  A Walk in the Woods is still on view, which coincides with Stampede, and includes animal-themed artmaking activities and after their summer break, Foxy & Shmoxy: Art Detectives, are back.  Children have been really loving the gallery games and book in the exhibition Ganesha: The Playful Protector. Their Learning & Engagment department created a children’s book specially to be used while visiting this exhibition with children, and don’t miss the fun new interactive installation by local artist Nicole Banowetz, The Incubation Effect. Go to for more information.

Amber Johnson
Author: Amber Johnson

Amber is the founder and editor of Mile High Mamas, travel writer and former columnist for The Denver Post. She is a passionate community builder and loves the outdoors. She has two awesome teens and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

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