Christkindl Market (credit: CBS)
The holiday season is already upon us so it’s time to start planning all of the fun holiday-themed family events for the next several weeks. There are so many great things to do as a family this time of year from seeing traditional shows like “The Nutcracker” to performances by the Denver Brass and so many lighting displays that you could easily visit a different one every weekend until Christmas. The holidays are a time for tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something new. As you are planning your holiday events, consider some of these more unusual ways to celebrate the holidays with your family this year.
The Santa Claus Special
Colorado Railroad Museum
17155 W. 44th Ave.
Golden, CO 80403
Dates: Dec. 7-21, 2013
If you are looking for a more unique introduction to the famous father of Christmas, head down to the Colorado Railroad Museum. On four very special days, Santa Claus himself will be replacing his sleigh and reindeer with a steam locomotive and passenger car, all decorated for the holidays. Your kids can share their wish lists with both Santa and Mrs. Claus, ride the train and get lost in a sea of train-themed toys and gifts to purchase. If you bring in your letters to Santa during the event, you’ll also get a special Railway RailCard unique to the event, making it a fun collectible.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
950 13th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Dates: Dec. 10-22, 2013
If you are looking for a little something different when it comes to holiday theater, then consider “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” for some magical holiday amazement. Your children will be awestruck as more than 30 artists perform all sorts of amazing stunts. You’ll see toy soldiers marching on thin wires, gingerbread men flipping in mid air, snowmen balancing and so much more. It is all set to a fantastic holiday-themed backdrop with original music as well as some seasonal favorites. It is the perfect way to enjoy a whole new world of magic and wonder at the theater during the holidays.
Trail of Lights
Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128
Dates: Nov. 29, 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014
There are always many light displays to check out every year, each one has its own fun and whimsy but the Trail of Lights at the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is truly stunning and worth the trip. You’ll find more than a million little twinkling lights all lighting up a few different trails along the countryside. There is a shorter path that is perfect for those with younger kids, it ends right at the children’s play area. However, if your kids are up for a longer walk, then take the second trail that will take you to explore the Green Farm barn and silo and then on to a replicated 1880s homestead. Of course, there are plenty of places to warm up and grab a cup of hot cocoa.
A Brown Family Christmas Tour
1340 Pennsylvania St.
Denver, CO 80203
Dates: Dec. 13 and 14, 2013
Enjoy a little bit of Colorado history with your holiday celebrations and visit one of the most historic homes in the state. The Molly Brown House Museum is always a great place to visit year-round, but during the holidays, it is a true showcase to the famous Brown’s love of the holidays. You can tour the home at night during these special events, enjoy all of the beautiful decorations and learn about Molly Brown’s holiday traditions. Bring the whole family for this fun trip back in time as you all get to explore this legendary home. Keep in mind that this is an actual historic house and it does require going up four flights of stairs.
Denver Christkindl Market
1601 Arapahoe St.
Denver, CO 80202
Dates: Nov. 22 through Dec. 21, 2013
Teach your children how other cultures celebrate Christmas at this annual German Christmas market. The centuries-old traditions come alive as the market brings the sights and sounds (and flavors) of the holiday season in Germany. You’ll all love the music and food plus lots of twinkling holiday lights and vendors as you explore Skyline Park as you’ve never seen it before. It is also truly magical to enjoy downtown Denver during the holidays, as all of the major buildings are lit up and the air is crisp and cool. This is a wonderful way to celebrate as a family.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.