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31 Things To Do Over Winter Break

Cool and festive happenings for out-of-school fun.

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Don’t get caught up in dark-by-dinner doldrums. Find exciting programs and community events throughout winter break to keep your kids’ spirits light. Of course, be sure to follow health and safety guidelines and double check details with organizers.


Camps

Winter Break at the DAM

Through Jan. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Walk your favorite gallery halls and get creative with games and activities set out for all ages to enjoy. There will be fewer onsite activities offered this year, however check out the Creative Resources online for projects and videos to explore at home, and the Museum Web Quest: Virtual Visit for educational materials. Admission: $10-$13 adults, $8-$10 seniors, military, and college students, free age 18 and under. Special ticketed exhibitions require an additional ticket purchase. Denver Art Museum, Denver. denverartmuseum.org

Winter Safari Camp

Dec. 21-22, 28-29, 30-31, Jan. 4; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pick from four, one- or two-day programs at the Denver Zoo where kindergarten through fifth-grade students will discover animal adaptations, personalities, and habitat characteristics. Buy out a camp session for a group of up to 10 kids in one grade-range. Campers must be five years old by the start of camp. $62 one day, $124 two days; $57 one day member, $114 two days member. Denver Zoo, Denver. denverzoo.org

Hands-On History: Winter WonderWORLD!

Dec. 21-23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kids, ages six to 12, will explore how other communities, past and present, from around the world celebrate this season. They will tour exhibits, make snow and candles, enjoy ice cream, and join in a special service project. Register online. $150 (tuition assistance available). History Colorado Center, Denver. historycolorado.org

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Hands-On History: Winter WonderYOU!

Dec. 28-30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Explore what empathy means and how to share in the practice this new year. Reflect on the past year, and set up goals for positive change during 2021. Tour museum exhibits, make mindfulness jars, build future cities, create an exhibit about yourself, and join a special service project. Ages six to 12. Register online. $150 (tuition assistance available). History Colorado Center, Denver. historycolorado.org

artSPARK School Break Camp

Dec. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30; Jan. 4, 5; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Problem-solve, use critical thinking skills, and experiment using different artistic materials and processes. Express yourself through 2-D and 3-D creation. Campers do cooperative and collaborative activities to broaden their perspectives. Grades 1-5. $95 per day. Max 10 campers. artSPARK Creative Studio, Littleton. artsparkcreative.com

Red Hen Createry Winter Break Camp

Dec. 16-18, 21-23, 28-31; Jan. 4-6; 9 a.m. to noon.

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Make a unique project focused on all things winter, from snowboarding to reindeer. Each day will include a combination of arts, crafts, and special guests. Grades K-5. $38 per day. Red Hen Createry, Littleton. redhencreatery.com


Special Events

Kwanzaa Celebration

Dec. 21, 5:30 to 6 p.m.

Learn about Kwanzaa through songs and stories performed by award-winning author, educator and entertainer Jessica Hebron, AKA Culture Queen. She captivates young audiences and inspires cultural confidence in children with her innovative performances. Free. Online. arapahoelibraries.org 

Granny Dances To A Holiday Drum

Streaming through Jan. 2.

Celebrate festivities of this season from cultures around the world. The Cleo Parker Robinson Dance team presents its 29th season of Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum, featuring the story of Granny who remembers her time dancing in winter festivals for Christmas, the West African Harvest, Native American Winter Solstice, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and more. Join the fun with a kids edition including dance-alongs, and an adult version with a couple of cocktail hours on Zoom. $30-$80 packages. Online. cleoparkerdance.org

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Cherry Creek Holiday Market

Through Dec. 23; Sun-Wed, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thu-Sat, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Shop local at this outdoor market featuring artisan pop-ups set in shipping containers decorated chalet-style. Find winter outerwear, travel posters, craft honey, and more. Health precautions are in place and basic information will be recorded for contact tracing. Free entry; reservations encouraged. Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Denver. cherrycreekholidaymarket.com 

Denver Christkindl Market

Through Dec. 23, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sip warm Glühwein (mulled spiced wine) or hot chocolate, shop artisan gifts, and savor holiday treats this season with the German American Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Chapter’s market. They’re setting up in Civic Center Park this year to allow for more social distance. View complete health and safety measures online. Free entry. Civic Center Park, Denver. christkindlmarketdenver.com 

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Listen on-demand through Dec. 27

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Tune in to a radio play of the classic, cozy tale told through the eyes of a young boy at Christmastime. Envision snowy hillsides, warm fires, and heartening holiday memories. Pay what you want scale starting at $10. Online. arvadacenter.org 

35th Annual Homes for the Holidays Tour: Deck the Lawns

Dec. 12, 13; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Gather round historic homes in Mapleton Hill in Boulder, where holiday reverie awaits. Enjoy historical information about the homes on the tour and finish with food trucks, shopping, exhibits, and more at the Museum of Boulder. All ages welcome. Participants should be prepared to walk for several blocks, or the mobility-impaired may choose to drive between sites. Reserve tickets online. $20 preorder Historic Boulder/Museum of Boulder members, $25 preorder general admission and day-of members, $35 day-of general admission. Museum of Boulder, Boulder. museumofboulder.org

Holiday House Decorating

Dec. 11-26

Take your holiday decor to the next level and show community pride by participating in the Highlands Ranch Community Association’s house decorating event. To participate, apply by December 10. Beginning December 11, find a map to tour the homes twinkling with holiday cheer. As a courtesy to Highlands Ranch neighbors, please plan your visit before 8 p.m. Free. Locations across Highlands Ranch. hrcaonline.org

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Garden of Lights

Through Dec. 27, 5 to 9 p.m.

Take in the twinkling lights covering nearly half a mile of garden landscape. Flower beds, butterflies, a holiday village, and garden creatures are all constructed entirely from LED lights. $10 adults, $5 youth ages five to 11; $8 adult members, $4 youth members ages five to 11, free ages four and under. Reserve timed tickets online. The Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins. fcgov.com

Holidays at Dairy Block

Through Dec. 31

Head to Dairy Block for a generous dose of yuletide cheer this holiday season as the LoDo micro-district transforms into a European village with an après ski vibe and a schedule of festivities. Don’t miss caroling by The Jingle Belles each Saturday, chalk art installations, and a Parade of Lights float. Free. Dairy Block Alley, Denver. dairyblock.com 

Zoo Lights 30th Anniversary

Through Dec. 31, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; closed Dec. 25

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Don’t miss this year’s historic celebration with more than a million lights sparkling over 80 acres, plus special measures to keep your family safe and healthy. $15-$25. Reserve tickets online. Denver Zoo, Denver. denverzoo.org

Blossoms of Light

Through Jan. 3, 4:30 to 9:45 p.m.

Start your holiday celebration with this extravaganza featuring twinkling light displays around the gardens, treats, warm drinks, and photo opportunities. $18-$21, $16-$19 members, (purchase tickets in advance online); free children two and under (no ticket required). Denver Botanic Gardens York Street, Denver. botanicgardens.org

Winter Wonderlights

Through Jan. 1, 5 to 9 p.m.

Cozy up to your family, walk through the park, and enjoy 80,000+ lights blinking back at you. Winter Wonderlights employs string lights, twinkling bulbs, LED mappable snowflakes, and illuminated sculptures, and a 30-minute music and light show each night. Visitors are encouraged to donate canned food to benefit the Food Bank for Larimer County or unwrapped toys to benefit Santa Cops of Larimer County. Health and safety measures will be in place to keep families physically distanced. Free, donation suggested. Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, Loveland. visitlovelandco.org/winterwonderlights 

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Electric Safari

Dec. 23, 25, Jan. 1; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Celebrate under the glow of 85 light sculptures across 50 acres at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Find warming fires, indoor animal exhibits, a sky ride, carousel, and hot cocoa stations. $14 adults, $12 seniors, $11 military, $10 youth, free members and age 2 and under; additional cost for some activities. Purchase tickets online. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs. cmzoo.org

Holiday on the Plaza at Denver Union Station

Through Jan. 3; see website for individual event dates and times.

Visit Denver Union Station this holiday season where they’ll host an extensive schedule of activities on the Plaza, including carolers and two Parade of Lights floats. Find family photo opportunities with Santa’s Elves (reservation required) and more events listed online. Free. Union Station, Denver. unionstationindenver.com

Comfort and Joy

Through Jan. 1, stream anytime

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Settle in with a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy a holiday concert with the Colorado Children’s Chorale. Through the gift of song, explore snowy mountain tops and twinkling lights of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will pop in to say hello. All ages. $25. Online. childrenschorale.org 

I Love Christmas Movies

Through Jan. 3

Walk through 13 immersive scenes from favorite holiday movies, with replicas of film props and audio clips. Then stroll the Gaylord resort for twinkling light displays, festive decorations, and other exciting holiday activities like snow tubing and ice skating. $25 adults, $14 youth ages four to 11. Bundles with other holiday activities and overnight stays available. Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Aurora. christmasatgaylordrockies.marriott.com 

Happy Noon Year

Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ring in the new year early with a virtual dance party and countdown at noon. Dressing up is encouraged. All ages. Free. Online. arapahoelibraries.org 

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Activities

Drop-In Writing Online

Dec. 22, 1 to 3 p.m.

Explore your word mastery through this informal writing session with Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Open to all levels. Free. Online. denverartmuseum.org 

Santa’s Face Cake Class

Dec. 22, 6-7:30 p.m.

Transform a simple block of cake into a confectionary art piece that smiles back at you. All ages. $55. Reservation required. My Make Studio, Edgewater. mymakestudio.com

Holiday Workshop

Dec. 21, 22; 8:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4 p.m. sessions

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Kids choose from several different gifts to make for family members using laser cutters and 3D printers. Complete the project with crafting cards and wrapping. Ages 8-13. $60 per session. MindCraft Makerspace, Aurora. mindcraftmakerspace.com

Winter Reading Challenge: A Winter Tale

Through Feb. 7

Get ready for the first ever Poudre Libraries Winter Reading Challenge. Cozy up to some great literature, read and record five books, and earn a prize. All ages. Pick up a reading log at any Poudre Library location or print at home. Free. Online. read.poudrelibraries.org

Everything Dinosaur Talks: Mammals

Dec. 23, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Learn about the prehistoric mammals that roamed the earth alongside the dinosaurs. Join this fun and educational discussion by Dinosaur Ridge. $2 per person. Online. dinoridge.org

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Fun in Spanish: Animals in Winter

Dec. 29, 3:30 to 4 p.m.

Join a ranger to learn about three strategies Colorado animals use to survive the winter: hibernate, tolerate, and migrate. Bring a stuffed animal to share and be ready to move like animals. Appropriate for ages up to five. Program entirely in Spanish. Free. Online. denverlibrary.org

Acompañe a un guardabosque para aprender de tres estrategias que utilizan animales de Colorado para sobrevivir durante el invierno: hibernar, tolerar y migrar. Lleva un peluche animal para compartir y esté listo para moverse como animales. Para niños 0-5.

Zoologist for a Day

Dec. 22 and 30, grades 5 to 8; Dec. 23 and 29, grades 9 to 12; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn how to handle and train creatures that live outside of the ocean. Help prepare food, participate in positive reinforcement training, and learn how animals are cared for at the aquarium. $65. Registration is required 2 weeks in advance. Downtown Aquarium, Denver. aquariumrestaurants.com

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Marine Biologist for a Day

Dec. 22 and 30, grades 9 to 12; Dec. 23 and 29, grades 5 to 8; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Help prepare food, feed some exhibits, and learn how marine biologists take care of animals. $65. Registration is required 2 weeks in advance. Downtown Aquarium, Denver. aquariumrestaurants.com

Things To Do

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