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55 family events in Denver this week

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It’s the final countdown to Christmas with the Nutcracker Circus, SnowDome Spectacular, Handel’s Messiah – Awakening and TubaChristmas. See our event calendar for full listings. 

Also, don’t miss Family Travel: 40+ Holiday Vacation Ideas in Colorado and Denver guide to the holidays: Santa Arrivals & Christmas events!

Free Day at Plains Conservation Center 
Dec 19, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
This Aurora-based center helps students and adults grow their knowledge and appreciation of the prairie ecosystem and the cultural history of Colorado through a variety of educational programs managed by Denver Botanic Gardens. In cooperation with the City of Aurora.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center 
Dec 19, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes live at the Pepsi Center!

The Nutcracker with Ballet Ariel at Lakewood Cultural Center 
Dec 20  – Dec 23
Ballet Ariel’s imaginative and winsome interpretation of The Nutcracker returns at the height of the holiday season to the Lakewood Cultural Center. Tickets are on sale now. Ballet Ariel’s professional company and 30 students from the Ballet Ariel School and Lakewood Dance Academy brilliantly perform this eternal classic. Directed by Ilena Norton and Oleg Dedogryuk, Ballet Ariel’s The Nutcracker once again defines the season.

Holiday Cheer at Central Presbyterian Church 
Dec 20  – 21 
Visions of sugar plums dance in your head — and down the aisles — at Holiday Cheer! Showcasing selections from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s popular wintertime ballet, The Nutcracker, Cherry Creek Dance transports you into a young girl’s Christmas dream of tin soldiers, dancing snowflakes and sugary sweets. Arvada Chorale joins in the festivities to sing more of your beloved carols at everyone’s favorite seasonal celebration.

Brewery Lights at Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center 
Dec 20  –  22
The holiday lights are lit, the cocoa is hot, and the 30-foot inflatable snowman is back – it’s beginning to look a lot like Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten and Tour Center in Fort Collins! The fifth annual Brewery Lights celebration begins Nov. 15, with guests of all ages invited to spread holiday cheer at a variety of festive activities during the wonderful holiday experience.

SnowDome Spectacular at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
Dec 20, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Celebrate the holidays at FCMoD! Stop by the museum for holiday crafts, cookies, cocoa, and a few surprises… Enjoy holiday tunes and stunning festive imagery with our special Holiday of LaserDome in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater. And don’t forget to wear your ugly sweaters.

The Nutcracker Circus at Newman Center for the Performing Arts – University of Denver 
Dec 20 – Dec 27 
Whisk away to the Land of Snow, and Land of the Sweets, and experience the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker doll. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker Circus features acrobatics, jugglers, aerialists, and characters bringing this holiday classic to life in a whole new way. Seven shows at various times!

Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timbervolves at Pepsi Center 
Dec 20, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves at Pepsi Center.

Longs Peak Chorus 2019 Christmas Concert at Heart of Longmont United Methodist Church 
Dec 20, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
The Longs Peak Chorus proudly presents our 2019 Christmas Concert, “Ring De Christmas Bells” on Dec 20 and 21. $2 of every ticket will go to “Hope for Longmont.” Hear your favorite holiday season songs sung in 4-part a cappella harmony.

The Christmas Revels: A Midwinter Night’s Revels at The Dairy Arts Center 
Dec 20  – 26
In songs both profound and profane, Rocky Mountain Revels will take the stage at the Gordon Gamm Theater to drive the dark away and celebrate the return of the light. Join Rocky Mountain Revels as we sing and dance in celebration of the rituals and traditions of the Winter Solstice and of Christmas. This year we will be joined by the Boulder Renaissance Consort and by members of Solis. Our look at the secular and the sacred music of the Elizabethan Era will feature madrigals, rounds, catches AND returning Revels favorites like The Lord of the Dance, Sussex Mummers Carol, and the Shortest Day.

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 
Dec 20  – 22 
For 28 years, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRD) has been blending dance, live music, spoken word and seasonal celebrations and customs from around the world into a memorable holiday tradition like none other. A Denver original, Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum is a family favorite that inspires audiences of all ages to discover, celebrate and honor the holiday traditions of cultures from around the world.

Handel’s Messiah – Awakening @ Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 20  – Dec 21
A storied holiday classic returns with a freshly enriched design to experience the beloved masterpiece, Messiah. This innovative production is newly organized to clearly present the narrative while still maintaining the great traditions of this noble work. The Colorado Symphony Chorus will be divided between a chamber chorus and a larger chorus, and a narrator is introduced to seamlessly present Handel and librettist Charles Jennens masterpiece in the dramatic context that this story-telling composer would have appreciated.

The Nutcracker Circus at Newman Center for the Performing Arts 
Dec 20  – Dec 22
Whisk away to the Land of the Snow, and Land of the Sweets, and experience the story of Clara and her beloved Nutcracker doll. Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker Circus features acrobats, jugglers, aerialists, and characters bringing this holiday classic to life in a whole new way.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Aquarium
Dec 21  – 24 @
Santa is stopping by the Aquarium this holiday season! Dine with him and our mascot, Sharkey, and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, exhibit discounts and more!

Inside the Orchestra’s Christmas Tiny Tots Concert at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues 
Dec 21, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
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 program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process.

Museum Takeover: Snow Day at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
Dec 21, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Do you want to build a snowman? Come chill with us at the museum! Discover all about the science of snow, and how important ice is to our world’s climate. There will be hands-on activities and experiments for all ages. It will be snow much fun! Museum Takeover is a monthly series where we deep dive into a particular subject with fun and educational activity stations in the exhibits gallery. Activities are open to all ages, but recommended for children 5 and older.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center 
Dec 21, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks live at the Pepsi Center!

3rd Annual Improv for a Claus at The Studio at Mainstreet 
Dec 21, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
This is an original sketch comedy show & charity fundraiser, written by Colorado talent with holiday & Colorado themes and presented in the style of a Second City Revue. Directed by a former member of The Second City – Chicago.

Menorah Making at JCC Denver 
Dec 22, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Menorah Making, Sunday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m.-Noon: Get ready for the first night of Hanukkah by making your own Menorah. We will have a scavenger hunt around the JCC to collect different materials to create your masterpiece. You can also get in a few rounds of Dreidel and win some gelt! $18 per person for members, $25 per person for guests. All ages.

Ugly Sweater Brew Run at Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery 
Dec 22, 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wear your most festive, ugliest holiday gear and get ready for some magical winter fun! Join the social fun run/walk along the beautiful Platte river trail and then enjoy seasonal brews or hot chocolate and a big ugly sweater contest.

TubaChristmas at DPAC/Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 22, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tired of the same old holiday soundtrack? Revive your holiday spirit at the Annual TubaChristmas Concert at the Denver Performing Arts Complex! Tap your toes to your favorite holiday tunes being played by 300 tuba players from all over the region.

Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High 
Dec 22, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions at Broncos Stadium at Mile High!

Holiday Brass at Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex 
Dec 22, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Brian Buerkle, conductor
Colorado Symphony Brass & Percussion. Holiday Brass is our festive tradition featuring the best of brass! Witness the brilliance and power of the Colorado Symphony brass in a resounding program of seasonal ballads, carols, and more. Whether it comes from the vitality of the Renaissance, the glory of the Baroque, or the nostalgic jubilation in the music of Hollywood’s most popular Christmas movies, Holiday Brass will end your 2019 on a high note.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 22, 2:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Everyone’s favorite holiday classic comes to life in the all-new touring production A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage!

Scotty Wiese Mile High Magic at Bovine Metropolis Theater 
Dec 22, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Mile High Magic is an unforgettable theater experience presented by world-renowned magician Scotty Wiese. What makes Mile High Magic so unique is the tremendous way Scotty blends magic and his life experiences to tell stories, form a community, and motivate others to chase their own dreams.

Sensory-friendly Home for the Holidays 2019 at Lone Tree Arts Center 
Dec 22, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Holidays are about traditions, so continue yours with hometown favorite Home for the Holidays. There’s something for everyone in this family-friendly holiday spectacular: dancers, singers, drummers, holiday songs, and of course, a celebrity appearance by you know who! With a revised storyline for 2019, Home for the Holidays is sure to delight and put you in the holiday spirit.

Twas the Night Before Christmas at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 24, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Start a brand new holiday tradition with your family at this not-to-be-missed show! When Santa’s Naughty and Nice list goes missing, a few dancing mice, a little girl and a wacky elf need to save the day before Santa boards his sleigh!

Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center 
Dec 25, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans at Pepsi Center.

Jim Brickman – A Christmas Celebration at Paramount Theatre 
Dec 27, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Jim Brickman returns to Denver this Christmas to wow the crowd with his uplifting, family-friendly, holiday concert tradition. “Jim Brickman A Christmas Celebration” LIVE, at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, December 27, 2019.

ONGOING EVENTS

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens
Nov. 29, 2019 – Jan. 3, 2020
IThe Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display is brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families. botanicgardens.org

Santa’s Village at Chatfield Farms
Nov. 29 – Dec. 15
Santa and his friends transform Chatfield Farms into a magical village! Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s Cinema or walk under the magical light displays. Stop at Elf Boulevard to drop off your letters to Santa. Let the kids play in a real elf house and see the elves hard at work. Enter a life-size snow globe.www.botanicgardens.org

Fetch Holiday Markets at Denver Sports Castle
Nov. 30 – Dec. 15
For three weekends this winter, that gigantic, historic building on Broadway will be your home for all things holly-jolly. This is so much more than shopping, though. We’re filling it with festive drinks, activities, and gifts for everyone on your list! It’s going to be the kind of Christmas party you wish your company could throw — with hundreds of makers, artists, creators and YOU. thisisfetch.com/holiday-markets

A Christmas Carol at Simpich Showcase
Nov. 8 – Dec. 4
A CHRISTMAS CAROL’s timeless narrative is brought to life with sparkling vitality on the Simpich stage with over twenty handmade marionette actors animated by Dickens himself. In this original adaptation by puppeteer David Simpich, Ebenezer Scrooge is launched into and transformed by a night of delightful and poignant Christmas remembrances and foreboding forecasts. The outcome is both a continuing inspiration and celebration of the Promise of the Season. tickets.vendini.com

Camp Christmas at the Hangar at Stanley Marketplace
Nov. 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. denvercenter.org

A Christmas Carol – The Musical  at Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Nov. 22, 2019 – Dec 22, 2019
Bring the whole family to enjoy this holiday classic,  Charles Dickens’ classic tale takes us on a journey to the past, present and future this holiday season! With music by Alan Menken ( Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid ) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical ), this musical version of curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge’s life and ultimate redemption is the perfect holiday tradition for the entire family. christkindlmarketdenver.com

A Hudson Christmas
Nov. 29 – Dec. 31
A Hudson Christmas has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families and friends from across the Denver area! Walk arm-in-arm with loved ones at this winter wonderland decorated with thousands of outdoor lights. Explore the trails where bursts of light and color wrap around trees, shimmer on bodies of water, illuminate happy faces, and bring a twinkle to your eye. Share your holiday wish list with Santa Claus, watch Christmas trees dance to holiday music, sip a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and stop for photo opportunities along the way. www.altitudetickets.com

The Nutcracker at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Nov. 30 -Dec. 29
Audiences simply can’t get enough of Colorado Ballet’s acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Returning for its 59th season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year. Experience this whimsical trip to the sugar plum kingdom where magical dances come alive. Secure your seats early for this holiday tradition as most performances fill up prior to opening night. tickets.coloradoballet.org

Christkindl Market at Skyline Park
Nov 22, 2019 – Dec 23, 2019
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!

Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center
October 11-December 29, 2019
Join Ella as we journey to the fairytale land of Frell on a path to self-discovery! The stage musical of Ella Enchanted has recently been adapted from the beloved Newbery Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Ella must navigate her world with the “gift” of complete obedience given by her misguided fairy godmother. Adventures will ensue with ogres, giants, elves, wicked stepsisters, and true friends that help Ella find her voice! These whimsical characters make this a captivating tale for children and adults of all ages. arvadacenter.org/ella-enchanted

Christmas in Color at Water World
Nov. 22 – Jan. 4
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. www.showclix.com

Night Light Denver at the Daniels & Fisher Tower
Nov. 7 – Jan. 31, 2020
The Denver Theatre District’s ongoing, year-round projection mapping installation will be projected on the Arapahoe Street side of the Daniels & Fisher Tower every Thursday through Saturday evening. Night Lights Denver will include rotating content, designed by artists and the community, featuring a wide range of art. nightlightsdenver.com

Mile High Tree
Nov. 30 – Jan. 31
Denver’s holiday season just got bigger and brighter with the spectacular new Mile High Tree! Experience the Mile High Tree by stepping inside this brilliantly lit, 110-foot tall immersive holiday tree, opening November 30 in Sculpture Park at Denver Performing Arts Complex – free every evening for the whole family! Amazing lights and music shows take place every 30 minutes along with holiday treats, drinks and photo ops. www.denver.org/milehighholidays/tree

Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park
Nov. 26, 2019 – Feb 16, 2020
The Downtown Denver Partnership proudly invites you and your family to join us at the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park – Downtown’s destination for fun this winter. Winter of 2019 celebrates one decade of the Downtown Denver Rink which offers free ice skating seven days a week from November to February.  Entry is free! Skate rentals are $7 for kids 12 & under and $9 for adults 13 & older. Purchase your season pass at the Rink for $35 for kids 12 and under and $50 for adults. Skaters are welcome to bring their own skates.

Goodnight Moon at the DPAC/The Randy Weeks Conservatory Theatre
October 4, 2019 – February 16, 2020
A musical twist on the beloved bedtime story. For the past 72 years, families around the world have made Goodnight Moon a part of their bedtime ritual. Now, the beloved children’s book comes to life on stage for a musical adventure! As the clock strikes seven o’clock, it’s time for Bunny to go to sleep. Say goodnight with magical moments filled with songs, kittens and mittens, bears and chairs, a red balloon, a quiet old lady, and – of course – the moon in this delightful tale. denvercenter.org

Zoo Lights: Illuminated with Life
Nov. 29 – Dec 30
Zoo Lights celebrates its 29th year as one of Denver’s most beloved and popular holiday traditions. To protect the magic of the season tickets are limited by date and issued for a one-hour entry time window. Most evenings sell out in advance and tickets will not be available at the door for evenings that sell out. www.denverzoo.org/events/zoolights/

Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel at 16th Street Mall and Glenarm Place
Dec. 20 – Jan. 2
The Denver Pavilions’ Holiday Carousel returns to Downtown Denver. This year the Blue Knights Brass Ensemble will kick off the season with a free performance in front of the carousel at 2 pm on Sat. December 21. Rides will be offered for a nominal fee of $3 or free with a voucher from any Denver Pavilions’ merchant or community partner. Food Bank of the Rockies has once again been chosen as Denver Pavilions’ designated charity partner for the attraction. Partial proceeds from rides will be donated to this vital charity within the community that helps fight food insecurity in the area. denverpavilions.com

Olde Golden Christmas
Nov. 30 – Dec. 31
Each year during the holiday season, Golden takes a step back in time. Back to a simpler time of strong family traditions and small-town holiday celebrations. The authentic and historic main street of Golden will be the central festive location for Olde Golden Christmas, a city-wide, month-long celebration from November 30th to December 31st including a candlelight walk, holiday art market, live theater, a dazzling light display along Clear Creek, Santa encounters, shopping, dining, and so much more. visitgolden.com/olde-golden-christmas/

A Very Vintage Holiday Show at The Galleria at the Arts Complex
Dec. 5-21
This delightful show is a tribute to Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, during the nostalgic White Christmas era. A Very Vintage Holiday blends upbeat vocal harmonies and engaging showmanship with a little bit of comedy and plenty of nostalgic holiday tunes to provide festive entertainment for all ages. Featuring The Denver Dolls and s12pecial guests, this show will warm any Colorado heart on even the coldest winter day!  These are FREE events presented by The Next Stage NOW. www.artscomplex.com

  Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits at Denver Museum of Nature and Science
September 13, 2019 – April 12, 2020
“Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits” takes guests inside the minds and bodies of extreme athletes to explore the psychology, physiology and physicality of some of the most extreme activities in the world. In this high-energy exhibition, guests experience the thrill of extreme sports in exciting, interactive exhibits and immersive environments. Meet passionate athletes, hear their incredible stories and take in the artistry, motivation and thoughtfulness that goes into everything they do. dmns.org
 
Tiger Encounter at the Denver Zoo
Nov. 8 – Dec. 31, 2019
Experience The EDGE through the eyes of a tiger! This tour will take you behind the scenes at The Edge, Denver Zoo’s Amur tiger exhibit. You will get an up close view of a training session with one of The Edge’s resident tigers and learn from animal care experts about what they do every day to ensure that these cats receive the best care. You’ll be in awe of the amazing relationship animal care staff have with these 400-pound furry felines! Please note that because of safety regulations, guests will not receive direct contact with the tigers, but rather will get a closer look than public perspective allows with exclusive access and interactions. denverzoo.org
 
Christmas at Gaylord Rockies
Nov 22, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The season-long experience will include ICE! featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a larger-than-life ice sculpture adventure; exclusive Cirque Dreams Holidaze theatrical performances; ice skating, tubing and bumper cars; a Naughty or Nice Escape Room; character breakfast; family-friendly activities; and themed décor with an impressive holiday light display. marriott.com
 
Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

First Light Family Space at the Denver Art Museum
June 1-Dec. 31, 2019
Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition, The Light Show. Trace a shadow, make a mirror, play with patterns and create a colorful city. The museum of free for kids under 18 for kids. Have fun learning about artwork with gallery games similar to I spy, bingo, and memory matching with Gallery Games. Create Playdate’s artmaking with little ones is on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. DenverArtMuseum.org.

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