It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we want to be sure you and your family have an opportunity to spend time together and enjoy some of the amazing holiday activities in our area! So, once again, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite holiday destinations to share with you. And, of course, these are places we’ve visited with our own families and documented on the site. So not only are we sharing with you the holiday event, but also providing all the details you need to hopefully make it easy and enjoyable for you and your family.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Out and About Mom!
November 21, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (closed November 26 & 27)
Head right over the Connecticut border for one of our favorite holiday light displays. Visitors can enjoy the holiday spirit from the warmth and comfort of their car or get out for a quick visit with Santa Claus. Opening night is just $6 per car and other nights are either $18 or $21 per car. Purchase advance tickets for $14.50 at Big Y World Class Market. Check out our post from 2012 for more information.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from November 23 – December 23, 2018
Bundle up for a walk through the beautiful holiday light display at Lake Compounce. Then warm up inside with a visit with Santa. Not only is the park decorated with lights, but several park rides are open as well. This year you can also purchase tickets for Brunch with Santa! Check out our post from 2013 for more details.
November 20, 2018 – January 1, 2019
This FREE holiday light display is a fun family experience. Go before sunset and let the kids play on the nearby playground. Then bundle up for a walk or ride through the park! The lights are on nightly from 5 pm to midnight. Stop by on November 20th for the lighting ceremony taking place at 5:30 pm. See our post from 2012 for more information.
November 22, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Visit this light display at Goodwin Park and help support the Channel 3 Kids Camp! The two-mile show is open every night and includes over 1 million lights for you and your family to enjoy. Cost is $15 per car but you can get $2 off by using this coupon. Santa visits every Friday and Saturday from 5-8 pm. Also, be sure to look for Flurry on your adventure. Report back on his location and you will be entered for a chance to win an iPad. See our post from 2011 for more information.
Lighthouse Point Park
New Haven, Connecticut
November 16 – December 31, 2018
This is another great light display supporting a great cause, Goodwill of Southern New England. We like to combine a visit here with a trip to nearby Ikea beforehand for shopping and dinner. It is open nightly and the cost is $10 per car. See our post from 2013 for more information.
Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree
Opens for the season on December 1, 2018
A cut-your-own Christmas tree location that has been in business since 1973! Its name comes from the things raised on the farm: bees, goats (with fleas!), and trees. One interesting fact about this destination is that it is owned by the parents of the famous writer, Elizabeth Gilbert. Find a selection of her books for sale right inside their barn and be sure to grab a cup of hot cocoa while you are there. Bring cash too for your tree. Prices range from $19-$49. This destination will definitely get you into the holiday spirit! See our post from 2012 for more information.
Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree
Opens for the holiday season on November 23, 2018
Start your own family tradition by cutting down a Christmas tree at this picturesque destination located right over the Connecticut state line. They make it easy by providing all of the tools you need and trees are all just $50 plus tax. Pre-cut trees are also available for a variety of prices. They open for the season on November 23rd and are open daily. See our post from 2015 for more information.
Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree
South Windsor, Connecticut
Opens for the season on November 23, 2018
This destination can be a little difficult to find because there are similarly named tree farms in the area, but look for the “live reindeer” signs and you should find it easily. Trees are just $50 each (including tax) and supplies for cutting them down and securing them to your car are available there. This year they will open on November 23 and run through December 24, 2018. See our post from 2013 for more information.
December 1 – December 31, 2018
Special opening night event on November 30th
This fun event features multiple train displays, festive trees, and beautiful holiday decorations. It is a magical experience for any train-loving child (or adult!). Visit on opening night and also take part in the nearby tree lighting ceremony on the Town Hall Green. Check out our post from 2014 for more information.
November 16, 2018 – February 19, 2019
This fun family destination is located in the adorable town of Essex. The train display is FREE with museum admission and museum admission is FREE for children under 6 years of age. Visit this museum to learn more about the beautiful history of the Connecticut River and see this wonderful holiday train exhibit which is celebrating its 25th year! Check out our post from 2015 for more information.
East Windsor, Connecticut
Select nights, November 23 – December 30, 2018
If trolleys and trains are a hit in your house, then this would be a great family outing for you. Ride a trolley through the tunnel of lights then head inside to warm up, visit with Santa, and check out the large variety of train displays. So many things to keep the kids entertained! Check out our 2012 blog post for more information.
Amato’s Toy Store
November 23 – November 25, 2018*
Visit this old-fashioned toy store to let your kids create their holiday wish list. Then take them downstairs to visit the store’s amazing holiday train display. *The display will be up and running Thanksgiving weekend but the December schedule has not yet been released. As soon as it is we will let you know! See our post from 2013 for more information.
December 9-24, 2018
Visit Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and live reindeer at this holiday destination. Don’t let the long line out front make you turn around, it is worth the wait! Santa takes his time visiting with each child and even gives them a gift. A visit to the Christmas Village is FREE, but donations are accepted. Find out more details in our post from 2013!
West Hartford, Connecticut
November 10, 2018 – January 26, 2019
During your next visit to The Children’s Museum, be sure to check out their amazing display, Gingerbread Lane. According to their website, “This village takes up over 295 square feet and contains 340 houses, 2 cable cars, 2 trains, and over 3 dozen storefronts.” They also offer hands-on activities for children as part of the exhibit. See our post from 2017 for all of the details.
South Deerfield, Massachusetts
Get into the holiday spirit any time of year with a visit to the festive Yankee Candle Village. Make your own candles, see the train displays, and visit Santa when he is in town. See our post from 2018 for more details.
November 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Winterfest is back this year! Enjoy FREE ice skating and FREE skate rentals along with FREE learn-to-skate lessons. You can also visit with Santa Claus on Saturdays & Sundays at the carousel and receive a FREE picture. Carousel rides will also be available for $1. Check out our posts from 2011 and 2012 for more details.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
November 29 – December 9, 2018 (FREE on December 8th)
For the 45th year, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will be decked out for the holidays with unique trees and more. While the event runs for two weeks, a great time to visit is during Second Saturdays for Families, a FREE event held on December 8th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Families can enjoy the beautifully decorated trees and also learn about holiday traditions around the world through a variety of activities. Check out our post from 2012 for more information on the Second Saturdays program.
Wood Memorial Library
South Windsor, Connecticut
November 23 – December 15, 2018 (closed on Tuesday & Wednesday)
Stop by this sweet library to see their beautiful display of gingerbread houses. Enjoy musical performances, story times with special guests, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus during the festival. See the schedule for details on what is happening each day. This event is FREE (unless, of course, you decide to bid on one of the beautiful gingerbread houses!) Check out our post from 2013 and 2017 for more information.
December 12-23, 2018
Perched on the highest hill in beautiful Wickham Park sits a not-to-be-missed holiday destination. There you will find Santa’s Workshop filled with Christmas decor, model train sets, cookies, hot cocoa, and, of course, the big man himself — Santa Claus. If it is cold outside, be sure to bundle up as the line can take a while as Santa does not rush your visit. The event is FREE but visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item to donate to the local food pantry. Cash donations are also accepted for the cookies and hot cocoa provided. See our post from 2011 for more information.
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