Four Fun Christmas Festivals for the Family

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Christmas is my favorite holiday for three reasons: food, family, and beautiful, twinkling lights! Combining any of these makes for an amazing evening, which is why I love attending Christmas festivals. With my family spread across the Southwest, and in-laws on the east coast, I look forward to attending any of these festive events during the coming days.

The Phoenix Zoo is a beautiful place in itself, but is made even more striking with the addition of thousands of twinkle lights strewn about in its annual ZooLights in Phoenix, AZ. Not many animals can be seen during the event—most are sleeping, while other exhibits are closed—however, various lit “animals” can be seen on the designated trail. In addition to beautiful lights and snacks, you can also enjoy holiday music and some small activities for the kids! The event runs daily through January 9th, from 6PM to 10PM, with ticket prices ranging from $10 to $12.

Held yearly at the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque, NM, the River of Lights event features over 100 sparkling sculptures by local artists. They also have rotating events every couple weeks, such as Holiday Nature Crafts and Supper with Santa, activities that will certainly excite children and entertain the adults. For the rest of the month, the River of Lights event is open until December 30th, from 6Pm to 10PM. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 3 to 12, and children under 3 are free.

Located in the beautiful Longwood Gardens 30 miles outside Philadelphia, a Longwood Christmas features enormous, luminous trees and daily Christmas music performances through the beginning of January in Kennett Square, PA. Additionally, they host a Christmas music and light show with their fountains. These large fountains are colorful and are timed to move along with the holiday music. This festival runs through January 9th, with tickets averaging between $14 and $16 for adults. Children between 5 and 18 are $6, those under age 4 are free.

Maryland is chock full of Christmas-related historical tours. One of the most popular are the daytime and evening holiday tours of Mount Vernon, the old home of George Washington. Daytime events include home tours, vintage chocolate-making, and 18th century entertainment, such as dancing and storytelling. These events are held daily from 9AM to 4PM and cost $7 for children, and $15 for adults. Weekend evenings through December 19th feature candlelight home tours, caroling, and freshly made snacks. The prices range from $14 for children, to $20 for adults.

I absolutely love family-friendly events such as these because they provide children and adults with such unique and lasting memories, events that should be prominent in every person’s life. For those very reasons, I hope you will enjoy attending these events as much as I will.

Author Byline:Aaron Garcia is a family vacation enthusiast and frequents festivals and family type events all year round.

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