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Family Events: Golden’s Candelight Walk, Blossoms of Light & Zoo Lights!

Warm to the Glow of Blossoms of Light. Nightly, Nov. 29, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014, 5:30-9:30 p.m. More than one million colorful lights are on display at Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield throughout the holiday season. At York Street, seasonal entertainment is presented on select evenings. A synchronized holiday light and music showcase illuminates the UMB Bank Amphitheater, and themed gardens enhance the experience. At Chatfield, twinkling lights illuminate a variety of paths throughout Colorado’s countryside; a shorter route takes visitors directly to the children’s play area, while an extended path allows visitors to explore the Green Farm barn and silo before continuing to the children’s area and homestead. Also featured: seasonal entertainment and hayrides are available on select evenings; synchronized music and light showcases; illuminated antique and model tractors and a warming hut and fire pit. Warm drinks, treats and HoloSpex 3-D glasses are available for purchase at both locations. $10-12, $8-10 member; $7-9 child, $5-7 member child (depending on date); children two and under free.

Olde Golden Christmas. November 30, 2013 – January 1, 2014. Experience small town, authentic holiday charm at Olde Golden Christmas in festive downtown Golden. A month long magical celebration featuring Victorian carolers, live reindeer, free horse drawn carriage rides, a dazzling lights display, barbershop quartets, free Newfoundland dog-pulled cart rides and plenty of free family fun. Don’t miss Golden’s awe-inspiring Candlelight Walk on December 6th and lively Olde Golden Christmas parades on Saturdays from November 30 – December 21. Where else can you find Santa driving a motorcycle, the Grinch in a corvette and real cowboys astride their horses. For more information, check out visitgolden.com or call 303-279-3113.

Denver Zoo Lights. Humans aren’t the only species that get to decorate their lawns this holiday season. From Dec. 6-Jan. 5, take a stroll through Denver Zoo’s Zoo Lights’ 38 brilliantly-illuminated acres of lights and more than 150 animated animal sculptures. And don’t miss their month-long Festival of Lanterns taking place in Toyota Elephant Passage. It’s the perfect way to light up your holiday spirit. 5:30-9 p.m. http://denverzoo.org

Experience a Holiday Classic at the Denver Center for Performing Arts – A Christmas Carol. November 29-December 29. Denver’s holiday tradition returns! Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, this joyous and opulent musical adaptation traces Ebenezer Scrooge’s triumphant journey to redemption. A Christmas Carol illuminates the meaning of the holiday season and is a beloved tradition for many families.

It’s a Wonderful Life. Do you love this Christmas classic as much as my husband does? I recently surprised him with a date night to see this  story brought to life as a 1940’s radio broadcast at Miner’s Alley Playhouse in Golden. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the movie but fell in love with the charming and hilarious cast who made us laugh ’til we cried and ignited an appreciation for idealistic George Bailey as he received divine intervention one Christmas Eve. This 130-seat theater was quaint, the acting superb and the audience interaction was fun (have you ever been playfully given Jelly Bellies by the actors prior to a show?) Go early and join the cast for holiday songs and Christmas stories.  Now through December 22 with performances every Friday and Saturday at 7:30.p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and Thursday performances on December 5, 12  and 19 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets $23, $20 Senior/Youth, $12 Children 12 and under. minersalley.com. Make an evening of it and be sure to go to dinner prior to the show. Downtown Golden has some of our favorite dining options and we tried the new Indulge Bistro & Wine Bar with outstanding service, food, spirits and ambiance  in Golden’s Gateway Station. I’m still salivating over my Filet Oaxaca, a Black Angus filet mignon served with manchego potato puree, grilled vegetables, blackened shrimp and mango mole sauce.

Denver Christkindle Market. This German Christmas market again brings the sights, sounds and flavors of the holiday season with its music, food, holiday lights and old-world vendors to Skyline Park, right across from the Daniels & Fisher Clock Tower on the 16th Street Mall. The even Nov. 22-Dec. 22 is open to the public and provides an authentic atmosphere of the German holiday season, reminiscent of the times families spend at the Christmas Markets throughout Europe. Free admission/ hours vary. 1825 Arapahoe Street, Denver. http://denverchristkindlmarket.com/

WinterSkate at Twenty Ninth Street. Want to glide into the holidays? Nov. 8-Jan. 31, 2014, skate in this festive atmosphere surrounded by restaurants and shopping on Twenty Ninth Street Mall in Boulder. Hours and prices vary so be sure to check their website. http://www.bceproductions.com/winterskate/

Living West at the History Colorado Center. Opening Nov. 23, Explore Colorado’s history in the new experiential exhibit, Living West at the History Colorado Center. The Living West exhibit tells three stories: about people in the Mesa Verde region 800 years ago, about farmers in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and about our relationship to our mountains and our environment today. This is an experiential exhibit with hands-on activities for children to help them understand Colorado’s history. It includes a theater that simulates a 1930s dust storm, a paint-a-pot and yucca weaving activity, as well as a station to measure how many inches of water we get from our alpine snowpack (more interactive activities available upon request). Zebulon Pika takes kids through the activities and shares fun, interesting facts about life in the West. From Nov. 23-Feb. 28, kids ages 6-12 gain a free admittance when they participate in this at-home craft and wear it to the Museum (children ages 5 and under get in free with an adult).

The Heritage Square Music Hall Children’s Theatre presents “Santa Needs A Holiday.” Santa Claus is bummed out! It’s Christmas and Santa is not his jolly old self.  He thinks that nobody needs him anymore, and decides to cancel the holiday festivities. So Mrs. Claus, with the help of the elves and the children in the audience, show Santa how very much we all need him to make it a very merry Christmas after all. After 25 years, The Music Hall is well into its final season; their inal performance will be December 31, 2013.  “Santa Needs A Holiday” runs November 16 through December 28, 2013 with performances every Saturday at 1:30 PM (3:00 PM shows added November 30th). Tickets: $8 for children and adults, $7 for seniors (62 and up). www.hsmusichall.com

Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s MythBusters. The Discovery Channel’s Emmy-nominated series comes to life to uncover truths behind popular myths by mixing scientific method with gleeful curiosity and old-fashioned ingenuity in MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  The exhibition creates hands-on, interactive experiences for guests of all ages by combining popular scientific facts with innovative, family-friendly displays. On the TV show MythBusters, co-hosts Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara take scientific investigation to exciting new levels by proving or exploding myths using their highly experimental approach and extensive backgrounds in special effects. Tickets are available at www.dmns.org/mythbusters. General visitors pay $22 adult, $16 junior/student (ages 3–18 or with a student ID), and $18 senior (age 65+). Ticket includes admission to both the exhibition and the museum. Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations are strongly encouraged; the exhibit ends on January 5, 2014 so don’t delay!

Take a Spin on the Ice – for FREE – at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park. November 30, 2013-February 17, 2014. Skyline Park is the place to be this holiday season! Southwest Airlines and the Downtown Denver Partnership invite you to grab your family and friends and head to 16th and Arapahoe in Downtown Denver to the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park! Skating is free with your own skates, or rentals are available for $2.

Boulder Opera’s The Magic Flute. This family-friendly one-hour version of Mozart’s famous German singspiel, or opera-play, is back this holiday season. There are six opportunities to see this exciting production: Broomfield Auditorium on December 8th at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. or the Nomad Theatre in Boulder on Friday, December 13th at 1030 a.m. and 4 p.m. or Sunday, December 15th at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” tells a charming, fantastic story that includes a bird seller, a dragon, a captured princess, a prince who wants to rescue her, an evil Queen of the Night, a priest and, of course, a magic flute. There will be a Q&A following the play The Magic Flute is the perfect introductory opera for children who love stories, singing, and acting. Professional singers and a live chamber orchestra bring an authentic and exciting opera experience to children and parents alike. Tickets range from $8-18. www.boulderoperacompany.com

Take a Trip to the Art World of Paris. Through February 9, 2014. Take a trip to Paris, without leaving The Mile High City. This holiday season, the Denver Art Museum (DAM) presents Passport to Paris, a suite of three French-themed exhibitions, featuring masterpieces by Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and will feature more Monet in Denver than ever before! Skip the lines and take advantage of great hotel packages with VIP tickets at parisindenver.com.

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Nature Programs

Also, don’t miss these events from Jeffco parks. LMNC programs are FREE and registration is required unless otherwise noted. Register online or by calling 720-497-7600. Looking for a program for your class, scout troop, or other group? Visit their website or call to learn about group programs.

Nature’s Gifts
Thursday, December 19
10 AM – 12 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Hey all you young naturalists. Have fun making nature-related holiday crafts for your loved ones. No registration required. Suggested donation: $3 per child. This special program takes the place of our normally scheduled Nature Nuts.
Activities are designed for children ages 2-8 with an adult.

Winter Solstice Campfire Celebration
Saturday, December 21
4:00 – 6:00 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Join naturalists and celebrate the first day of winter while we welcome the new solar year. Enjoy hot chocolate and a cracklin’ fire, sing carols and hear stories of Winter Solstice celebrations.
All ages.

Winter Stories
Sunday, December 22
12:00-1:30 PM Lookout Mountain Nature Center
Take a walk through wintry ponderosa pine woods, then deepen your sense of place by listening to a story.
Ages 6 yrs – adults.

Preschool Nature Nuts: Antlers and Horns
10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Thursday, January 2 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)
10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Saturday, January 2 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)
10:15 or 11:15 a.m. Thursday, January 16 (Lookout Mountain Nature Center)
Many animals in Colorado grow antlers and horns to help them survive. Bighorn rams battle each other like ancient warriors bearing huge clubs, while bull elk defend their herd using their antlers like fencing swords. Learn more about the lives of these magnificent animals, as well as how to stay safe when viewing them in the wild. (Ages 3-5, with an adult.)

Full Moon Night Hike. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 15 (Alderfer/Three Sisters Park). Explore the trails by the light of the moon. We’ll look for signs of wildlife, gaze at the night sky and experience the magic and tranquility of a winter’s evening. (Ages 8+.)

 Jr. Astronomers: Just Jupiter. Saturday, January 18 at 6-7:30 p.m. (Lookout Mountain Nature Center). Jr. Astronomers are invited to join astronomy team members for a special program all about Jupiter. Learn the latest on observations, missions, peer through a telescope and more. This program will be indoors & outdoors. (Ages 6-10, with an adult.)