The holidays are looking different this year for everyone, but we found plenty of family fun to be had (safely) across the St. Louis area for all ages. Here are our must-do holiday events for your family in 2020.
U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo
Escape to a one-of-a-kind holiday experience perfect for a night out with family, friends or a date night with that special someone. Experience the magic of a nighttime, walk-through wonderland featuring more than 1 million lights. Say hello to the animals at Penguin & Puffin Coast, and warm up with some holiday greats. Celebrate the holidays with us and make lasting memories at the Zoo tradition that gets bigger and brighter every year. Select nights November 27 through January 2, 5-8:30 p.m. Advance tickets required at stlzoo.org.
The magical sights of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation's Winterfest return to downtown St. Louis this holiday season! Kiener Plaza will transform into a dazzling wonderland featuring more than 70,000 lights in the park's trees, complementing the breathtaking backdrop of the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse. Drive around Kiener Plaza to take in the festive scenes through January 3. Winterfest is free to enjoy and will be available every night of the week from 5 to 9 p.m. Winterfest is presented by Bank of America and World Wide Technology, and will feature virtual activities throughout the holidays to help bring the cheer of Winterfest home. Visit archpark.org/winterfest for upcoming details, online story times, activities, holiday recipes and more.
Holiday Magic at The Magic House
Celebrate the magic of the holidays the entire month of December at Holiday Magic! Holiday Magic at The Magic House features expanded hours, festive decorations and lots of outdoor attractions, including the opportunity to visit Santa safely in his outdoor, socially distanced sleigh! Brand new outdoor attractions include a life-size Gingerbread Village and Snowball Carnival, and photos with Santa in the Jingle Bell pavilion. Plus, Magical Nights gives families the opportunity to see twinkling light displays, take part in an after-dark story time with Mrs. Claus and lots more. Reservations are required for these limited-capacity events. Learn more and make reservations at magichouse.org.
COCA Presents Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol
Experience a holiday classic like never before in Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol! Through hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, silhouettes, and a live original score, Chicago-based performance collective Manual Cinema takes on the Charles Dickens classic with an imaginative and visually stunning twist specifically created for the 2020 holiday season. Join this livestream right from your home and see how Manual Cinema makes the movie right in front of your eyes! Presented by COCA. Learn more and get tickets.
Cold-Nosed Candids at Purina Farms
This unique photo opportunity is especially for your dog and cat, but of course you and the rest of your family need to drive them to the event! Purina Farms has made it easy to take part in Cold-Nosed Candids. Pre-register for $5, show up within your designated reservation time window, and then drive up to the photo area where you'll find your car in the midst of a virtual snowball fight with Santa and his reindeer. This magical moment will be captured in 10 printed holiday cards for you, and you will also have access to an electronic version of the photo for downloading and sharing. Also, receive a holiday gift pack filled with treats! Register at purinafarms.com.
Celebrate with Santa in the safe way! Book your virtual visit with Santa and enjoy the holidays from the comfort of your own home. Have a hectic schedule this year? You can also order a personalized message from Santa to share with your children. Kringle Mingle makes the best holiday gift around! Add on a commemorative 2020 holiday ornament to deck your tree or surprise your loved one with our Christmas Eve Prep Pack that includes a cookie plate, milk jug and note pad to be ready for Santa's big visit, plus an ornament and Christmas paint-by-sticker activity book. Avoid the malls, masks and lines this year and book Kringle Mingle today! Learn more at kringleminglefun.com.
Seasons Greetings Planatarium Show
Celebrate the season with the new Planetarium show Seasons Greetings at the McDonnell Planetarium. Viewers will discover the nature of our seasons and why the winter solstice has long been a time of celebration. This live star show lets you gaze up to the winter sky but also look back at how the cultures are united in celebration during the winter season, and how these celestial sights still influence our holidays today. Seasons Greetings debuts November 27 at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. Get tickets are slsc.org.
A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Virtual Reading
Metro Theater Company presents a special virtual event for families featuring local and nationally known celebrities, athletes, first responders, media personalities, artists and civic leaders! A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Holiday Reading brings the beloved holiday story of redemption, transformation, and goodwill to life. This special event for families is designed to help keep the community connected during a holiday season that has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The line up of readers includes Emmy-nominated television star Ellie Kemper, award-winning actors/producers Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathe, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and many more! Tickets are free, but donations are appreciated and will help support Metro Theater Company's programs that connect young people to the power and impact of theater. Learn more and register for tickets at metroplays.org.
Gingerbread Paint and Play
Join Play Street Museum for Gingerbread House Paint and Play on December 12. In addition to playtime, kiddos can enjoy painting and decorating their very own wood gingerbread house to take home. They will be using paint and some fun embellishments to create their very own works of art that are sure to sweeten up any mantle for years to come! Learn more and reserve your child's spot at playstreetmuseum.com
Visit the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in Forest Park and see a star show to experience the largest artificial sky in the Western Hemisphere. Star shows are lead LIVE by one of the Planetarium's educators, creating a new and tailored experience for every audience.
Grab a spot for Weekend Play Time by Reservation at Play Street Museum in St. Charles. Kids and families can explore the museum during these special weekend hours. Playtime will be by reservation only to limit the number of occupants in the building at one time. Play is offered in 90 minute sessions and occupancy will be limited during each session.
The Magic House is offering the opportunity to enjoy private playtime in a special exhibit area of The Magic House or MADE for Kids before opening to the public! You choose the location and up to 10 family members or friends to enjoy your private morning. Stay and play after in the rest of the museum. Reservations must be made in advance.