With holiday season approaching, you're probably trying to come up with activities for the whole family. You can find outdoor and indoor things to do, including train rides and ballets right here in Connecticut.
TRAINS: Let’s start our holiday journey in Essex, where you can ride the Essex Steam Train, adorned with vintage decorations. Your child will even be able to tell Santa what’s on his or her holiday list. There are weekend departures and it costs $17.
Sticking with trains, the Santa Express runs Dec. 5 to 20 in Thomaston. You’ll travel the scenic Naugatuck River in vintage coaches and the jolly man in the red suit will join you on your trip. The train departs the Railroad Museum of New England. It costs $14 for adults and children 3 to 12. Tickets cost $10.
BRUNCH: So you want to see Saint Nick but really don’t feeling like hearing “all aboard?” How about brunch with Santa in West Hartford from Nov. 27 to 29 at the Pond House Café. Admission is free, but brunch costs $19.98 for adults and children under 12. It's $6.98.
PRETTY LIGHTS: Are you thinking you just want to check out the lights of the season? How about heading to Mystic for the Festival of Lights on Dec. 11. The evening includes carolers, holiday music, costumed characters, face painters and a visit from Santa among the exhibits at the Mystic Aquarium. The festival runs from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and it's $5 for adults and $2 for kids.
The Fantasy of Lights in New Haven runs from Nov. 19 through Dec. 31. You can do this on even the coldest of nights, that’s because you drive through the enchanted land of holiday light displays. Fantasy of Lights is held at Lighthouse Point Park and the lights go on at 5 p.m.
NUTCRACKER: Then there’s the holiday tradition of the Nutcracker. Mystic Ballet’s dancers will perform a fast-paced, unexpected and modern version of the holiday standard on Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. The cost is a donation of your choice.
POPS: The Boston Pops are taking a trip down the Mass Pike to I-84 and making a stop in Storrs. On Dec. 5, Keith Lockhart will lead the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra with its holiday classics and timeless carols.