The Weekenders: Events for Austin Families, December 14-16, 2012

The Elf on the Shelf Storytime- Join us for a special Elf on the Shelf Storytime this evening. FREE!! Friday, 7:00pm. Barnes and Noble, La Frontera Village, 2701 Parker Road Bldg A Suite 700, 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.

Holidays at Heritage Park (Pflugerville)- Start a new family tradition! Revisit Christmas Days from the past. Holidays at Heritage Park offers choirs, hot chocolate and cookies, children’s arts and crafts, a hay ride and free pictures with Santa. Bring the family and start a new holiday tradition! FREE!! Friday, 6:00- 9:00pm. Heritage Park, 901 Old Austin Hutto Road, Pflugerville.

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. 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.

Rock ‘N Lights Holiday Light Tour- Rock’N Lights is a brand new drive-thru light show that features thousands of sparkling lights through Old Settlers Park from Dec. 3 to Dec. 31. The 2 million lights, 1 ½ mile path is a must see event of the season! Rock’N Lights Village is a full-scale carnival with rides and refreshment at the end of the display in the Dell Diamond parking lot. Rock’N Lights Village will be open to the public during regular operating evenings (weather permitting). Open nightly: Sunday- Thursday, 6:00- 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday, 6:00- 10:00pm. Admission: $15 per family car.  Old Settlers Park, Round Rock.

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- The Flying Balalalika Brothers- This trio from Russia play beautiful Russian melodies on the Balalaika instruments while weaving in American bluegrass. Thus creating an original innovative music style that is truly unique and wonderful. They draw upon years of touring and their virtuoso command of the alto, tenor, and bass Balalaikas instruments.
  • Saturday, 6:30pm -9:00pm- Blackbird 3 will perform a special jazzy, bluey, New Orleans Christmas show with special guest singers Liz Morphis & Billy Murphy from the Copa Kings.

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.

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 Pleasant Hill  Branch Library, 211 E. William Cannon Drive.

French Legation’s Festival of Carols- The Festival of Carols is a great way for families to celebrate the holidays.  The festival will showcase the talents of local elementary choirs singing holiday songs.  Come listen to the yuletide music, while enjoying refreshments,  kids’ crafts and activities and the opportunity to take a holiday family portrait in the historic house. Saturday, 3:00- 5:00pm. The French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos Street.

Snow Day at Hill Country Galleria- Real snow in Texas? No way! But yes, it’s true. Head out to Bee Cave and let the kids play in the snow. FREE!! Saturday, Noon- 4:00pm. Bee Cave Library, 4000 Galleria Pkwy., Bee Cave.

Noel with Nada Stearns and Guests- Noel is a magical Christmas adventure down Candy Cane Lane with spectacular dance numbers, vibrant costumes and familiar holiday melodies. This original musical follows the journey of a girl who must learn, through situations both naughty and nice, that if she can believe in herself, she just might save Christmas. Tickets: $12 adult, $9 child. Saturday, Noon. One World Theater, 7701 Bee Caves Road.

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.

Craft Time for Kids: Polar Bear Pencil Holder- Kids make their own cuddly polar bear caddy that’s perfect for storing pens and pencils.  FREE!! Saturday, 11:00am- 3:00pm. Lakeshore Learning Center, 9828 Great Hills Trail.

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.

Family Craft Event at the Library- Come to a craft event at the Library! We’ll have the supplies to make lots of different projects – just bring your creativity and imagination!  FREE!! Saturday, 3:00pm. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Drive.

Alamo Kids Club: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas Christmas is approaching in Frogtown Hollow, and Emmet Otter and his Ma hope to buy gifts for each other. Unfortunately, Emmet doesn’t make enough from the odd jobs he does, and Ma doesn’t make enough as a laundress. They decide to compete in the Frog Town Hollow Talent Contest in order to win money, but Ma will have to hock Emmet’s tool chest to buy a costume, and Emmet will have to put a hole in Ma’s washtub for his band! Kermit the Frog hosts this classic Muppet musical Christmas tale, based on the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, with original songs from master tunesmith Paul Williams. FREE!!   Saturday,  11:00a.m. It’s a Kids Club Christmas tradition! Ages 3 and up. No infants and families with loud children will be asked to leave. Alamo Drafthouse,  South Lamar.

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 the season of giving with BookPeople and Women’s Storybook Project of Texas. Today we will be reading stories with volunteers from Women’s Storybook Project of Texas, 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.

Domain Holiday Movie Series- The Domain invites families to watch their favorite holiday movies on the plaza! Saturday,  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).

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.

Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells- Follow sassy first- grader Junie B. Jones and her classmates as they embark on a hilarious adventure this holiday season! This heart-warming, family-friendly story is a sure reminder of what the holidays are all about–the joy of giving! Director Susan Gayle Todd returns with a slew of talented actors to bring this story to life, based on the wildly popular book series by Barbara Park. Enjoyed by ages 5 and up. Tickets: $10 for all ages over 12, $8 ages 3-12. Saturday, 11:00am and 1:00pm and Sunday at 12:30pm. Scottish Rite Theater, 18th and Lavaca.

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.

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

Staci Gray at Baby Earth- Bring the kids to BabyEarth Round Rock for some toe-tappin’ music and super-silly stories! Staci Gray is an Austin-based children’s performer who has mesmerized children all over Texas. In Austin, she performs weekly story times at some of Austin’s coolest kiddy hangouts, like the Austin Children’s Museum, Bookpeople, Ruta Maya and more.  FREE!! Sunday, 10:30- 11:30am. Baby Earth, 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock.

Trail of Lights Opening Night- Grand Opening Night with “Light It Up!” Special Opening Ceremony activities at the trail head starting on Sunday at 6:00 p.m., doors open at 6:30 p.m. until 10:00pm. Admission is FREE but parking is $10.  Zilker Park.

The Invincible Czars’ Dance-It-Yourself Nutcracker- Austin’s Invincible Czars pack all the fun, hilarity and musicality they can into this year’s Dance-It-Yourself Nutcracker.  With props, dancers and lights in tow, the band leads kids young and old through their whimsical version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suitedancing all the way.  The Invincible Czars have turned the music from America’s favorite ballet on its head jumping all over the musical map.  Two step to a countrified “Miniature Overture”, and swing to saccharin jazzy “Waltz of the Flowers” and spin to the psychedelic “Sugar Plum Faerie.” As always, audience members are encouraged to dress for success with prizes going to the best holiday outfit/costume/props (boy, girl and adult). Tickets: $20 family four pack; $10 adults, $5 children. Sunday at 2:00 PM. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 w 18th St.