Though we may not be sledding down hills or building snowmen in our yards, there is no shortage of holiday cheer in Orange County. Time that might otherwise be spent shoveling paths to our front doors or defrosting our fingers and toes can be spent doing much more exciting things! These six events are bound to bring the winter magic to the surf and sand:
Newport Beach Boat Parade
Truly an Orange County tradition, running over 100 years, nearly one million people watch the parade each year. Over 250 ships, yachts, boats and even a few canoes and kayaks will sail by completely and often extravagantly decorated for the holidays. There are themes and prizes, and boats have been spotted with full animation and music. You can view the short parade from the shore all around Balboa Island or opt for taking a table in the restaurant. However, you may miss out on the other aspect of the harbor which is all the house decorations. To take full advantage, splurge and book a reservation (as far in advance as possible) on a ship that is actually in the parade. Cheer to all the spectators as you sip hot chocolate and take in the incredible views on these two-hour tours.
Christmas Train, Irvine Park Railroad
All aboard! The Christmas Train will take you on a twelve-minute ride through the lights and decorations to Santa's village where the kids can show Santa their Christmas list and have their picture taken by a professional or, for an even better price, by you. Kids can stop by story time with Mrs. Claus, the Christmas coloring corner, or they can pose in some of the picture stands. Also available for a fee are carnival games, Santa's bounce house and cookie decorating. There is a cost to park in Irvine Regional Park, but if you wait until 5:00 p.m., parking is free. Make sure to bundle up for the train ride and bring your wish list to show Santa!
Nutcracker for Kids, Segerstrom Center for the Arts
The Nutracker Ballet is certainly a Christmas classic but perhaps you just can't muster the energy to keep your little ones captivated and quiet for duration of the whole performance. The Nutcracker for Kids has been condensed into a fun-filled 45-minute version designed with five- to eleven-year-olds in mind. The shows run in the early afternoon with a musical carnival either before or after each concert. Be sure to check their site for details as they'll have free activities like meeting the musicians, playing musical instruments, singing, and dancing!
Ice Skating at Irvine Spectrum
It's that time of year for outdoor ice skating! Despite the fact that we've had some 80 degree days, Irvine Spectrum manages to keep a fantastic rink in the middle of the court next to the giant ferris wheel. This is the only outdoor ice skating rink in Orange County, and it's bound to leave a lasting impression on your little one. Make it an extra special day by stopping by SweetSpot Bakers Workshop where you can pick out your favorite cupcake and icing before decorating it yourself with toppings from the "Wall of Sweets"!
The detail and decor at Disneyland reaches all new heights during the holidays. From the 60' tall Christmas tree, it's 70,000 lights and 2,000 ornaments to the gorgeous snow-capped Castle adorned with sparkling icicles and all the garland and twinkling in between, this is definitely the season for dreams to come true. There are a few changes made during this time that fans look forward to all year. The Haunted Mansion is transformed to The Nightmare Before Christmas scenes, as It's a Small World shows Christmas traditions around the world with a sweet change of music for the season. In Frontierland you can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and his real live reindeer. The Christmas Fantasy parade is beyond festive and the Believe...in Holiday Magic fireworks display brings the winter magic to its highest peak. Don't tell the kids, but be sure to position yourselves on Main Street in front of the castle, in New Orleans Square by riverbank, or in front of It's a Small World for the fireworks. When the show comes to the end watch their faces light up as it actually snows during the finale!
Holiday Toy Express
The Holiday Toy Express helps firefighters collect toys for the ABC7/ Spark of Love Toy Drive. This Metrolink 450-ton train will be making the rounds through 32 cities in Southern CA and stopping in six Orange County cities over the course of two days. Families can expect to see this incredible train decorated in over 50,000 twinkling lights amongst all the holiday decor! There will be musical performances and the big man himself will be there to spread holiday cheer. Families are encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys to help generate what usually turns out to be about 100,000 toys for those families who cannot afford them. It's guaranteed to be great fun for the whole family with the satisfaction of knowing you've embraced what this season is really all about.
School is back in session, and your children are less than excited about their new math class. What if they could take classes that revolved around their favorite hobbies and passions? Here are five fun and unique classes that your kids are sure ... read more
Theater is storytelling at its finest and most exciting. As schools focus more on the fundamentals we see less and less of the artistic adventures we as children had. Did you know that studies show children who are exposed to, and participate in... read more