The Weekenders: Events for Austin Families, December 7-9, 2012

Polar Express Storytime- Join us for a heartwarming holiday tradition, our Polar Express Storytime, on Friday, December 7 at 7:00 pm. The evening will include holiday treats and activities. FREE!! Barnes and Noble (4 locations), La Frontera Village, 2701 Parker Road Bldg A Suite 700, Round Rock;  Lakeline Crossing, 14010 US Hwy. 183; Sunset Valley Village 5601 Brodie Lane Suite 300; Hill Country Galleria, 12701 Hill Country Blvd Ste O-140, Bee Cave.

Christmas Family Night- The City of Round Rock rings in the season with the annual Christmas Family Night celebration on Friday, December 7, 2012. The event includes a welcome from Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw, followed by the illumination of the street and water tower with holiday lights. Then Santa makes his grand entrance in a horse-drawn sleigh. During Christmas Family Night downtown historic Round Rock is decorated with small wooden houses which “house” various free games and activities. This free event includes activities for the entire family including live music, dancers, candle making, carriage rides, game booths, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus and more FREE!! Event kicks off on Friday at 6:30pm. Downtown Round Rock.

Stargazing at the Roughs- Don’t miss this opportunity for the whole family to explore the galaxy together as our astronomer takes you on a tour of the Milky Way that’s truly out of this world! Behold the wonder of the cosmos through our Dobsonian telescopes and venture beyond the boundaries of our planet Earth. Learn about the constellations and marvel at the beauty and mystery of the universe in this spectacular free program for the whole family. Bring lawn chairs, refreshments and blankets for comfort and enjoy this family event. Program will be canceled in the event of inclement weather. FREE,all ages. No registration required. McKinney Roughs Nature Park.

Lights of Love 5K and Family Fun Run- Now in its fifth year, Lights of Love has grown from just over 400 people the first year to an anticipated 4000 this year. It is a night run/walk in the Mueller neighborhood and is very family and dog-friendly. You can register yourself, your kids and your dogs. Participants often create a team and invite friends and family to register to participate with them and/or to donate for their fundraising goal. There are some fun contests and incentives to encourage everyone’s hard work! At the event itself, there are things to do under the Mueller Hangar where the race starts: kids crafts,a few food vendors, Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald, a huge cake made on site. Friday, 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Mueller Hangar.

Georgetown First Friday- Bring the family out for some FUN on the Square with First Friday. All the shops on the Square will be open late and we’ll be serving light refreshments. The Sun City Dilcimers will be playing for your enjoyment! FREE!! Friday, 6:00- 8:00pm. Downtown Georgetown.

Horse Drawn Carriage Rides at The Domain I and II – Complimentary horse drawn carriage rides (tips accepted) on Fridays and Saturdays through the holiday season. Go to Macy’s or Dillard’s for pickup. FREE!! The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin.

Ebeneezer’s Journey: A Dickens’ Christmas Story- A special interactive program based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, will recreate various scenes of Dickens’ classic 1843 tale on four nights in December. As part of the “Ebenezer’s Journey” show, visitors will see scenes from the holiday story acted out at our historic sites. This is a live-theater presentation that you won’t want to miss! Like Scrooge, they’ll be able to journey back in time to see Christmasses past. In some cases, they’ll also be able to participate in the scenes, as well. Mark your calendars: Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15. The event will be held 7 to 10 p.m. nightly, rain or shine. Tickets are just $12 a person. Reservations are recommended through BrownPaperTickets.com. Space is limited. Tickets will also be sold at the gate. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive.

Whole Foods Ice Skating on the Plaza- Join us for ice skating on the Plaza from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm daily at the Lamar store location on the Plaza. The cost per person is $10. Listen to music, sip cocoa, or buy a cup of soup. Enjoy the season with us. Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd.

Central Market North LamarLive music and dancing, oh my!  This is a great spot for parents to enjoy music while letting their kids burn some energy on the playground.  There are also ducks to feed in the nearby pond.  Here is the lineup of FREE entertainment.

  • Friday,  6:30 – 9:00pm- Dale brings his annual honky tonk Christmas show to Central Market. This is one of the best Christmas show in town and an annual holiday concert event at CM.
  • Saturday, 6:30pm -9:00pm- Seu Jacinto plays Northeastern Brazilian music. Since 2005 this grassroots collective has been focused on the traditional regional music forms such as Forró, Coco, Ciranda, Banda de Pifanos, Maracatu, and other traditional rhythms.

Zilker Tree- December 3-31, 6 pm – 12 midnight, tree on display nightly.  REMINDER – December 15-23 the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights.   If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights! Zilker Park, Barton Springs Road.

3rd Annual Holiday Lights and Ice- Get in the spirit with skating, s’mores, games, twinkling lights and more! This year, Austin’s largest outdoor ice rink is getting even better. Our new 4,100 square foot ice rink will be located next to our lighted tennis courts, and will be accompanied by a display of 200,000 lights! The ice rink will be open from Wednesday, November 21 through Sunday, January 6*, offering local residents, club members and resort guests the opportunity to lace up their skates and enjoy festive holiday cheer and seasonal treats. A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central & South Texas, benefiting local children in need. Find out how much it will cost here. And the hours of operation here. Barton Creek Resort and Spa, 8212 Baton Club Drive.

Hands on History- Join us on Saturday from 10:00 – 2:00 for a FREE family-friendly activity here at the Museum! This month, visitors will create a paper light garland to decorate for Christmas. The Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown.

Pflugerville’s Downtown Holiday Stroll and Sidewalk Sale- Multiple street vendors including arts and crafts and foods. Downtown shops will be open for business as well. Come Home to Shop! (R) and do your holiday shopping in downtown Pflugerville. Saturday, 10:00am- 6:00pm.

Pflugerville’s Knights of Columbus Parade and Tree Lighting- Featuring marching bands and lit floats from Railroad and Pfennig through downtown Pflugerville which concludes with the tree lighting at the corner of 3rd and Main Street. FREE!! Saturday, 5:30pm. Downtown Pflugerville

Food-Free Family Storytime-The Round Rock Public Library presents Food-Free Family Storytime, a reading activity that welcomes families with children of all ages to a fun environment that’s safe for individuals affected by food allergies.This interactive program includes a variety of activities such as books, fingerplays, music, movies, and puppets. FREE!! Saturday, 10:30. The Round Rock Public Library, 216 E. Main Street, Round Rock.

Cedar Park’s Holiday Tree Lighting & Santa’s Workshop- On this magical night, join us in the tradition of lighting the tree. Over 60,000 lights illuminate the largest Live Oak Tree in Cedar Park. Santa’s Workshop will kickoff immediately following the tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy live music, carriage rides, games & prizes, inflatable, photos with Santa, and arts & crafts projects. Bring the whole family for what promises to be a festive evening. FREE!! Saturday, 6:30- 9:00pm. Heritage Oak Park,  875 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park.

Children in History: Kaya at the Springs- Meet American Girl Kaya, Native American girl living close to the land. Hear her story and learn about two friends, Tonkawa girl Kingfisher and Comanche boy Quiver and Bow. Hunt for flint to put in the Parfleche you make for your doll. Try your hand at making rope, to use with Kirsten’s cornhusk doll. FREE!! Saturday, 1:00- 4:00pm.  Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center, Barton Springs bathhouse, Zilker Park.

Domain Holiday Movie Series- The Domain invites families to watch their favorite holiday movies on the plaza! Saturday, 12/8 Home Alone; 12/15 Elf, 12/22 Polar Express. FREE!! Saturdays, 6:00 p.m. The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace. (Plaza in Domain II, Near The Range Golf Club & Sports Bar).

Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic- Bring your child to Lowe’s and they can build a cool Gingerbread House! FREE!! Saturday, 10:00am. All participating Lowe’s locations.

Walk on the Wild Side- Enjoy an interpretive hike as a park naturalist brings together a unique blend of human and natural history to tell the story of the Colorado River. Discover how the river influences animal, plant and human life along its banks. After your hike, visit McKinney Roughs Visitors Center gift shop with live native animals and interactive exhibits. Bring a picnic lunch and make it a nature day! Hike is limited to the first 20 participants. Clubs or groups of more than five people should call ahead to schedule a private hike. No registration required. Saturday, 10 a.m.-noon, $4/adult, free children 12 and under, adults and children ages 8 and up. McKinney Roughs Nature Park.
Children in History: Kirsten at the Cabin- Meet American Girl Kirsten, just arriving from Sweden to live on the American frontier. Her story will be read in the Garden, where you can tour the Swedish Cabin and learn about the Texas frontier girl born there. Try your hand at frontier chores, and make a corn husk doll for your doll. Receive a bead to use for trade with Kaya at the Springs. Free program but a $2/ adults and $1 per child ages 3-12 entry fee to the park. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road.

Ho Ho Holiday Giving Storyime- Giving makes us feel great, especially at this time of year. And we can’t think of a better way to spread the holiday cheer than by sharing the gift of books. So come celebrate the season of giving with BookPeople and Foundation Communities. Today we will be reading stories with volunteers from Foundation Communities, one of the non-profit groups partnering with us for this year’s holiday Giving Tree Program. FREE! Saturday, 11:30am. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Family Saturday:Gingerbread Houses- Be the ART-chitect of your very own candy home! We’re whipping up edible houses like you’ve never seen before, inspired by the architecture of the gorgeous Driscoll Villa at Laguna Gloria. Bring the whole family along to make a work of art, and then get your toes tapping with a special performance by the Clickety Cloggers at 2pm. Saturday, Noon- 3:00pm. Cost: $5 member families // $10 non-member families. The Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th Street west of Mopac.

Sensory Friendly Film:Rise of the Guardians- AMC Theatres (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program. In order to provide a more accepting and comfortable setting for this unique audience, the movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie. Additionally, audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced unless the safety of the audience is questioned. Tickets: $4-6. Saturday, 10:00am. AMC Barton Creek 14, 2901 Cap. Tx. Hwy.

What’s the Story Steve?– Move Your Tale and ColdTowne Theater collaborate to present this fully improvised theatrical journey through a story of the audience’s making. Featuring Steve the improvising poodle, a portion of the show follows Steve through an original tale. Pay what you wish. Appropriate for audiences of all ages. A return to MYT’s classic event structure, kids will join us on the stage for the entire event, providing sound effects, characters and settings for for every story. This is a chance to create original tales, and to perform them right away! Saturday at 10 a.m. ColdTowne Theater, 4803 Airport Blvd.

Staci Gray Holiday Concert- A FREE, fun holiday concert the whole family will enjoy! No registration required. Seating is limited. Saturday, 11:00am. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Drive.

Craft Time for Kids: Snowy Days Sled- Get ready for wild wintertime fun with a wild wintertime sled that children build and decorate themselves. FREE!! Saturday, 11:00am- 3:00pm. Lakeshore Learning Center, 9828 Great Hills Trail.

Literature Live! Presents The Elves and the Shoemaker- A cold, lonely winter seems the fate of a poor shoemaker and his wife until the magic of the season intervenes.  Join the Austin Public Library’s Literature LIVE! for happy surprises and fun in this traditional puppet show. Recommended for ages 4 and up. FREE!! Saturday, 1:00pm at Yarborough Branch Library, 2200 Hancock Drive and Sunday at 1:00pm and Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe Street.

Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker- This December, revel in pure fantasy and tradition as Ballet Austin commemorates the Golden Anniversary production of Austin’s holiday tradition. As the longest-running production of The Nutcracker in the state of Texas, Austin’s holiday tradition delights and enthralls fans of all ages. Follow Clara into a dream world of dancing snowflakes and see which legendary Austin personalities are chosen to appear as part of the Golden Anniversary Mother Ginger cast, all while enjoying Tchaikovsky’s cherished score as brought to life by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Tickets: Saturday, 7:30pm and Sunday, 2:00pm.  The Long Center, 701 West Riverside Drive.

10th Annual Cherrywood Art Fair- This event showcases over 100 local artists with live music and great food, as well as activities for children in a FREE, family-friendly environment!Cherrywood Art Fair is the annual production of Chula League, an East Austin 501(c)3 non-profit. Proceeds benefit the Little Artist Big Artist Program among other projects in East Austin. Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am- 5:00pm. The fair is held at Maplewood Elementary School, 3808 Maplewood Avenue.

Luminations- Enjoy the gardens lit up with more than 3,000 luminarias and 5,000 twinkle lights and to listen to music of the season. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. In addition to the beautiful holiday lighting, we will have numerous music acts throughout both evenings from local performers and area schools. There will be crafts for children in the Gallery, photo opportunities with Frosty the Snowman, food and beverages from our Café and treats from UT Student Organizations. The gift store will have special deals and book-signings and small vendors will have items for sale in the McDermott Learning Center. Saturday and Sunday from 6:00- 9:00pm. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Chanukah in the Hood- Join us for the Jewish Community Assocaition of Austin’s annual Chanukah in the Hood Celebration. Live Music, arts & Crafts, face painting, and dreidle games. Latkes with all fixings & Sufganiot will be available for purchase. Sunday, Noon- 3:30pm. FREE!! Cenrtal Market North Lamar.

Monster Families-Sundays at the Hideout, Flying Theater Machine presents kid-oriented improv right here in Austin. The audience will help us with suggestions and sound effects, and a few lucky kids will even get to join us on stage. Watch the Baby monster and its monster family learn that humans can be fun.  Tickets: $8. Sunday, 2:00pm. The Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

Whole Foods Kids’ Club - Hey kids, stop by and check out what’s going on at Kid’s Club. Each week we have an exciting activity that will let you play with your food plus learn a couple things along the way. FREE!! Sunday, 1:00pm. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar.

Ornament Making Workshop- Join us again for the Homemade Holiday Ornament workshop that lets families and friends get together for an afternoon of creating those one-of-a-kind ornaments that you’ll hang again and again. Start your holiday memories. You may even decorate a gift box for an ornament. The workshop is open to kids of all ages from 0-100. There are two sessions on Sunday from 1:30-3 pm and 3-4:30 pm and will be limited to 35 participants in the room at any one time. There is no charge for this program but donations will be accepted. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Drive.

Kid’s Show- Bring the kids out to see a FREE show by Groundwork Music! Sunday, 10:30am. Cherrywood Coffeehouse, 1400 E. 381/2 Street.