Family-Friendly Events Being Held Across the State to Celebrate the Holidays

A Mother and child (7 years old) are waiting to see Santa at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
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The holidays are just around the corner and there are dozens of events celebrating them across the state. Here's a look at some.


-North Pole Express


-Holiday Express Train

  • Fairfield Museum and History Center on Beach Street
  • Children and adults can come enjoy a display of model trains that wind around beautiful holiday scenery.
  • The display will run through January 5, 2020.
  • Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children and children under 5 are free.


-Holidays at Hill-Stead

  • Hill-Stead Museum on Mountain Road
  • Visit the 1901 Colonial Revival house decorated for the holidays.
  • Guided tours are offered on the half hour with the last tour at 3 p.m.
  • Tickets are free with regular museum admission.
  • The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The event runs until January 5, 2020.


-11th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa's Village

  • Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses on North Street
  • Santa and some of his reindeer are returning to the "North Pole on North Street."
  • Visitors can have their photos taken with Santa, meet the reindeer and enjoy the new Santa's Village "North Pole on North Street" minutes from downtown Greenwich.
  • Santa and his reindeer will be available Monday through Friday from noon until 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
  • Parking and admission are free.


-Open House and Holiday Market

  • The Dudley Farm Museum on Durham Road
  • Enjoy cookies, carols and merriment in the historic farmhouse museum.
  • More than 30 vendors offer different products in the Munger Barn at the Holiday Market.
  • The event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 7, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 8 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 14.
  • Admission is free.


-Holiday Open House at the Governor's Residence

  • Governor's Residence on Prospect Avenue
  • Residents are invited to tour the Governor's Residence for the 29th annual open house from December 6 through December 8.
  • Tours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday.
  • There is no admission fee, however, donations will be accepted on behalf of Operation E.L.F.


-Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus

  • The Lyman Homestead on Lyman Road
  • Santa and Mrs. Claus invite children and their families to visit them at the decorated Lyman Homestead.
  • There, you'll enjoy a buffet-style brunch and have a private meeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the homestead's library.
  • A professional photographer will take complimentary family photos.
  • Pre-paid reservations are required.
  • Brunch seats are 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. on December 8, 15, 21 and 22.
  • It costs $39.95 for adults, $19.95 for youth ages 7-12, $6.95 for children ages 3-6 and children under 2 are free.

-Gingerbread Houses for Children

  • Lyman Orchards Apple Barrel on Reeds Gap Road
  • The Apple Barrel Bakery team is leading a gingerbread decorating event for kids.
  • Children can have fun with royal icing, sprinkles, decorations and glittery sugars and place candies, cookies and more on their gingerbread houses.
  • The events are December 7, December 8, December 15, December 16, December 21 and December 22  at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Admission is $19.99.


-Festival of Silver Lights

  • Hubbard Park and Castle Craig on West Main Street
  • Hundreds of thousands of twinkling, white lights illuminate hundreds of figures and buildings in Hubbard Park.
  • The park is open from 5 p.m. until midnight. and the event runs through January 1, 2020.
  • Admission is free

New Haven:

-25th Annual Fantasy of Lights

  • Lighthouse Point Park on Lighthouse Road
  • Bright, colorful light displays illuminate Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven for the holidays. 
  • The display runs from Friday, November 15 through Tuesday, December 31.
  • Sunday through Thursday they are open from 5 p.m. through 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday they are open 5 p.m. through 10 p.m.
  • Admission costs $10 per car or family van, $25 for a mini bus and $50 for a full size bus. 

-Hot Cocoa Contest

  • The Shops at Yale at Broadway Island on Broadway
  • Top restaurants in New Haven will compete in a hot cocoa contest on Saturday, December 7.
  • Stops will be located inside retailers on Broadway and winners will be chosen by a people's choice voting system.
  • The contest is free to participate in.

New London:

-Cupcakes & Cocoa Family Parties

  • Lyman Allyn Art Museum on Williams Street
  • The afternoon starts with a hot chocolate bar and treats in the Hendel Library.
  • Then visitors can find animals in an i-Spy activity before creating their own animal out of clay in the studio.
  • Space is limited and reservations are recommended.
  • The parties run on Sundays only until December 15 from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
  • It costs $15 for adults and $12 for children. Kids under 3 are free.


-34th Annual Holiday Festival

  • Main Street in Newtown
  • Main Street will transform into a Frozen Winter Wonderland with activities for all ages on December 8.
  • Some of the activities include cookie decorating, edible creations display and competition, ice cream with Olaf, letters for Santa and historic trolley tours.
  • The event runs from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
  • Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and a 4-pack is $30. Prices are a little more expensive day of.
  • You can book tickets here.


-"The Polar Express" at the Maritime Aquarium

  • The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on North Water Street
  • Secure your tickets for a magical ride to the North Pole. 
  • Watch the movie on Saturdays and Sundays only through December 22. Times vary.
  • Admission is $11.50 for general admission, $10.50 for seniors and $9.50 for children ages 3 to 12.

South Windsor:

-9th Annual Gingerbread House Festival

  • Wood Memorial Library & Museum on Main Street
  • This year's theme is "Winter Birds and Holiday Traditions." 
  • Come look at rows of gingerbread houses made by bakers, students and community members.
  • The gingerbread houses will be on display through December 21, 2019.
  • You can see them from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Monday or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. 
  • Admission is free.

West Hartford:

-"The Santaland Diaries"

  • Playhouse on Park on Park Road
  • The holiday comedy stars Crumpet, who recounts his true-life tale of being an out-of-work writer doing a stint as an elf at a department store, according to the show's website.
  • The show runs through December 21, 2019.
  • Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday through Saturday at 8 p.m.
  • Admission is $25. 

-Blue Back Mitten Run

  • Blue Back Square on Memorial Road
  • Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to celebrate the season on December 8 at 10:30 a.m.
  • The 5k winds through neighborhoods with homes decorated for the holidays.
  • All participants receive a warm knit beanie and cookies and hot chocolate awaits finishers post-race.
  • You can get tickets here.


-Holiday Wreath Making

  • Woodcock Nature Center on Deer Run Road
  • Enjoy a night of wreath decorating and festivities.
  • There are two sessions (6:30 p.m-8:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.-10:15 p.m.) each night from December 2-6 and December 9-13.
  • Admission is $75 per wreath, which includes all decorating materials, plus a $2.49 service fee.
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