Between the shopping, the food prepping, and the planning, the holiday season can get a little overwhelming, so it’s important to stop and take a break every once in a while, and enjoy what the holidays are really about—spending time with loved ones. We’ve rounded up eight local holiday activities—from plays and winter fairs to dazzling light displays at the zoo and a children’s party at The Crane Estate—for you to enjoy. So, grab the kids and check out one (or more) of these fun, family-friendly activities!
ZooLights at the Stone Zoo
Friday, November 24 through Sunday, December 31, 5-9 p.m. (Closed Monday, December 25)
When visitors stroll through the Stone Zoo as the sun goes down this wintery season, thousands of twinkling lights will light up along the tree-lined pathways. Guests can visit two black bears, Smoky and Bubba, in festively decorated areas around their exhibits. Bald eagles, Canada lynx, arctic foxes, and reindeer will also dazzle visitors along the beautifully lit Yukon Creek. And you won’t want to miss out on getting your photo taken with Old St. Nick in Santa’s Castle or with one of his trusty reindeer!
A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre
Friday, December 8 through Saturday, December 23
Don’t miss your chance to see A Christmas Carol with your family this holiday season! This production is an original adaptation written specifically for North Shore Music Theatre by former artistic director, Jon Kimbell, and has been a tradition at this theater since 1989. Over a million people have seen this production of Charles Dickens’ classic tale since its debut 27 years ago and it is time your family join them!
Holiday Brews and Buys at Breakaway
Tuesday, December 19, 6-9 p.m.
Breakaway Restaurant, 221 Newbury Street Route 1, Danvers
Got some last-minute shopping to get done? Visit Breakaway in Danvers and check out the booths of over 16 venders and crafters, all while enjoying a nice cold beer. The restaurant will also be hosting a buy one, get one free deal when you order one of their pizzas!
The Polar Express in 4D at the Museum of Science
Open now through Monday, January 1
The Polar Express 4-D Experience takes a beloved Christmas classic and turns it into an immersive experience the entire family will love! This 15-minute film experience, which is based on the Caldecott Medal children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, will transport you all the way to the North Pole and help any sceptic discover the true magic of Christmas. You can purchase your tickets online or at the Museum of Science ticket office.
Holiday Children’s Party at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate
Tuesday, December 12, 4-5:30 p.m.
To celebrate this Christmas season, The Trustees of The Crane Estate are hosting a children’s Christmas party with Santa, who will have a small gift for every child! Children’s entertainer, Jeannie Mack, will be performing interactive songs and music while families enjoy yummy edible craft and holiday refreshments. Space for this event is limited and reservations are required through The Trustees’ website.
Merry Main Streets
Friday nights from November 24 through December 24
Cabot and Rantoul Streets in Downtown Beverley
During this festive month, be on the lookout for participating businesses displaying the “Merry Main Streets” candy cane flyer! Stores will be open until 9 p.m. as you shop late and shop local. This event, co-sponsored by Beverly Main Streets and the City of Beverly, provides shoppers with lively outdoor performances and holiday raffles.
Saturday, December 16, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Hastings House, 14 Oak Street, Beverly
This year’s Winter Fair will showcase over 25 artisans and vendors with their beautiful holiday gift ideas. Traditional Christmas carols, free candy canes, and other sweet treats will all be available while you shop from these local craftsmen. Santa even found some time in his busy schedule to make a special appearance for photos from 12:30-1:30 p.m.!
Four Centuries of Christmas Tours at the Gables
Now through December 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
(Closed Monday, December 25)
During the holiday season, experience the history of four centuries of Christmas in New England. A professional guide will lead you through the mansion, adorned with the holidays, and share the history of four centuries of Christmas in New England. Walk the halls of a house that has stood the test of time to witness the changing nature of the holidays over the years.