Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: December GoList

Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice. Our carefully curated December GoList is packed with the absolute best things to do with kids in NYC throughout the month. Our top picks include FREE holiday gatherings such as the 20th annual Central Park Holiday Lighting by the Harlem Meer and the quirky Unsilent Night musical procession in Greenwich Village; seasonal concerts by Laurie Berkner and Grammy-winning kindie rocker Dan Zanes; and cool cultural offerings such as the Whitney Museum's Dreamlands Family Day and the exuberant Mother Africa circus at the New Victory Theater.

It's also worth rereading our November GoList since many of those festive picks continue through December, including the Dyker Lights holiday displays, Macy's Santaland, and the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show—and various Nutcracker performances around the city.

As always, keep checking our Event Calendar and Holiday Guide for the most up-to-date celebrations, including tree lightingsSanta sightings, and totally FREE holiday events for NYC kids.

Christmas Tree Lightings on Long Island

The holiday season inspires many of us to take in a holiday show, shop for gifts and drink hot cocoa, and, of course, attend a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the season the right way. Rockefeller Center may only be a train ride away, but there are plenty of festive and spectacular tree lighting ceremonies right on Long Island. Here are 11 tree lighting events that are taking place across Nassau and Suffolk counties this season.

Find more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide for Long Island families.

Dinosaurs Come Alive in Jurassic World at The Franklin Institute

It's finally here. After months of teasers, press releases, and photos, the long awaited Jurassic World exhibit is open at the Franklin Institute. Whether you grew up watching the Jurassic Park movies, or you've got kids who have just recently gotten into the franchise, or maybe you have a dinosaur-loving toddler like I do, this exhibit is sure to spark some excitement. The excitement was definitely palpable as you waited in line and entered the "intro" room of the exhibit. Everyone was on their toes just waiting to see what was in store. If you're attending this exhibit with kids of any age, we've got plenty of tips and advice to share before you go.

Where to See Your Favorite Family Holiday Movies on the Big Screen in Boston

One of my family’s favorite traditions is watching all of the classic holiday movies. We start right after Thanksgiving to get us in the holiday spirit as we get our tree, bake cookies, and wrap gifts. Usually we watch these movies at home on our couch with popcorn and pajamas, but there’s something really special about seeing a film on the big screen. With that in mind, here's where you and your family can catch all of your favorite holiday flicks at movie theaters and libraries in or near Boston this season:

The Nutcracker on Long Island

One of the most beloved stories ever told would have to be The Nutcracker, which is typically your child's first introduction to classical ballet. This fairy-tale about the beauty and magic of Christmas and the ways that love and joy can transform dreams into reality is always satisfying. This Tchaikovsky work of art is a lovely way to familiarize children to the delights of great theater and there’s no need to travel far to experience this wonderful and much-loved Christmas story. Here is a list of upcoming The Nutcracker performances on Long Island in 2015.

And be sure to take a look at our Long Island Holiday Fun Guide, including non-Nutcracker holiday shows.

Weekday Picks: Zoo 50th Birthday, Battleship Grinch, & Singing Mayor, Nov. 28-Dec. 2

The Los Angeles Zoo turns 50 years old Monday, and a big party is planned. Guests can enjoy reduced admission and food prices, as well as a parade and a special birthday celebration event featuring cake and a giant card to sign. The animals get to join in on the celebration, too, with special treats and presentations. 

Elsewhere, holiday celebrations continue to dominate the calendar, including theater performances, community tree lighting events, and visits with Santa (starting Monday he'll be hitting a different street in Redondo every night). Check out our comprehensive Los Angeles Holiday Guide to find more festive activities and events. 

And for the most fun per square inch, check the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar daily, as well as our monthly picks in our November GoList. (The first week of the month means some free museum days, too.) Here are some of our favorites for this week...

December GoList: Top Things To Do with Kids in Boston for the Holidays

Holiday celebrations kick into high gear in December, and the month brings the return of many beloved seasonal traditions like tree lighting ceremonies, performances of The Nutcracker and outdoor ice skatingOur Event Calendar is packed with events for the holidays, family-friendly performances and vacation week activities for the kids. With so much going on it's not easy to choose, but here are our top 10 picks for holiday activities and special events this December.

Best Places to Take Pictures with Santa in NYC

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s not camera shy. New York City parents have a host of options for posing with Santa, from the popular Santaland at Macy's to more casual events, where you can take your own festive photos of the kids and jolly St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up more than a dozen of our favorites from across the five boroughs, including options for those who want to splurge, bring their pets, or just get it over with, as well as those with special needs. With so many alternatives, chances are, wherever you are, your kids won’t be far from Santa.

Find more seasonal fun, including a Santa brunch or tea, in our NYC Holiday Guide.

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