Weekend Fun: Butterflies Return, Lego Fun, Circus, Winter Fairs

Fa la la la la la, and 'tis the season! Holiday-themed events this weekend in NYC include the New York Theatre Ballet's performance of Keith Michael's The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol: Scrooge in the Village, Tot Chanukah, the Winter Family Fair, and more.

Plus, it's finally here! This Saturday, December 10, is Mommy Poppins Night for Mother Africa: My Home at the New Victory Theater. Not only can our readers score discounted tickets to this high-flying circus spectacle featuring some of Africa's greatest acrobats and contortionists, guests also get to participate in a pre-show, Mother Africa-themed workshop. Hurry though—tickets are going fast.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the holiday festivities? Take a break at the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History, which opens this weekend with blue morphos and large owl butterflies ready to land on your nose. Or try your hand at glassblowing and printmaking—how's that for hands-on? There are also two cool Lego-related happenings this weekend: a brand-new Lego Holiday Experience put on by the folks at Brick Fest Live, plus the kickoff of the building of possibly the world's largest Lego menorah.

All of our top weekend picks are below. While you're out and about, make time to check out some of the most spectacular holiday light displays around the Big Apple while considering ways to volunteer or donate with your family. Find more holiday events in our Holiday and Christmas Guide for Families.

As always, take advantage of our December GoList featuring highlights for the month, as well as our 25 Free Holiday Events for NYC Kids, and daily Event Calendar.

The Best Museums for Kids in Northern New Jersey

When bad weather hits, a trip to a museum can be a great cure for cabin fever. With winter upon us, it's time to check out a few local gems that offer kids hands-on art and science exploration. At these northern New Jersey museums, kids can study the stars at a planetarium, learn about dinosaurs that once roamed modern-day New Jersey, create their own works of art, meet animals, make music, and much more. They're guaranteed to learn something—and get nice and tired in the process. Read on for five of our favorite spots in northern New Jersey, and be sure to check out our roundup of museums in central and southern New Jersey, too. 

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Lantern-Making, Ice-Skating, and Sing-Alongs, Dec 10-11

As Buddy the Elf said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” There’s just something about this time of year, and the strong need to listen to wonderful music. This weekend the Boston Children’s Chorus is having a holiday sing-along for families at Old South Church. The Holiday Pops performances continue with sing-alongs and photos with Santa after the show. The Fuller Craft Museum is also having a holiday event with a special candlelight concert, storytelling, crafts, hot cider, and a gingerbread house workshop.

Day Trip Christmas Fun That's Worth the Drive from Philadelphia

Are you looking for a fun day trip with your family to get in the Christmas spirit? Sometimes we need a break from all of the hustle and bustle of the month of December to just step back and enjoy the beauty of the season. Take a ride to PA Dutch Country or the Lehigh Valley to experience vintage Christmas celebrations, amazing light displays, nativity scenes, or amusement parks decked out in their holiday finest.  

Here is our list of some great holiday attractions outside Philadelphia to visit with children of any age. Many are within an hour's drive from the city, so pack the kids in the car and get ready to hit the road! In case you are up for the longer drive, our nearby Mommy Poppins sites in New Jersey and New York City also have fun-filled guides to the holidays.  

Christmas Trains: All Aboard the Polar Express for Kids in LA, Ventura, & Orange County

Trains in Los Angeles are more or less novelties all year round, which means they hold onto that wonderful Thomas-the-Tank-Engine, Polar-Express mystique far longer for LA kids than for urban kids who take the A train regularly. And for anyone who loves trains, Christmas trains offer the ultimate "old world charm" rail experience. Add an appearance by Santa Claus and a few Christmas trees, and you have a recipe for a memorable holiday experience. All aboard the Santa Express!

Holiday Gift-Making Workshops and Classes

Every year as I'm doing some last-minute gift shopping I tell myself that next Christmas I'm definitely going to make amazing gifts for my family and friends. Well, I haven't made anything yet, but fortunately for me and those of you who have similar intentions, there is still time to flex our creative muscles. There are plenty of fun classes and workshops where you can make one-of-a-kind gifts and learn techniques to create original works of art, delicious treats, and a variety of other crafty items.

For those of you who are not interested in DIY gift-giving but want to give unique presents to your loved ones, you might consider supporting local artists and artisans who sell their goods and wares at a holiday market or getting the children in your life special gifts from one of Houston's independent toy stores. And while you're shopping, don't forget to pick up a gift for a Christmas toy drive. And don't forget to check out our holiday guide filled with things to do and see in Houston this season.

Inexpensive Birthday Party Room Rentals for NYC Kids

Few suburban comforts make me jealous, but the ability to host a home birthday party is one. Fear not: There are inexpensive party rooms available to rent in NYC; you just have to know where to look.

Keep in mind, buying an all-inclusive package can get pricey, especially if you want to invite your child's entire class. These spots all require DIY inventiveness, but you'll be rewarded with a special day that won't (totally) break the budget. Read on for inspiration and where to find a party spot near you, or check out our party directory for more local venues and entertainers.

Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Frosty, Kids' Concerts, Bizarre Bazaar

The holiday season is in full swing, and this weekend proves it! There's something for every whim: you can have cookies and cocoa with Santa, go ice skating at the brand-new Bergen County Winter Wonderland, see A Christmas Carol at Raritan Valley Community College, or rock out at the Laurie Berkner Band Holiday Concert at Bergen PAC. And if you haven’t gotten your tree yet, don’t panic—check out our list of places to cut your own Christmas tree. For even more things to do this month, check out our Holiday Guide and December GoList!

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