Weekend Events for Austin Families, December 20-22, 2013

Top 10 Weekend Events
  • Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides – Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21, from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Enjoy complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides at The Domain. There are pick-up locations near the north entrance to Dillard’s (across from Santa’s Workshop) and the north entrance to Macy’s (near the 40-foot tree). Friday may be less crowded than Saturday, but this is the final weekend, so you will likely have a long wait on either day. FREE, but tips are appreciated. Call The Domain at (512) 795-4230 (press “0”) to inquire about weather updates. The Domain, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin.
  • Cookies with Mrs. Claus – Friday, December 20, from 6 – 8 p.m. Due to all the engagements this year, Santa has asked Mrs. Claus to step in for him at this appearance. Children will make Santa Claus’ favorites: Mexican hot chocolate and cookies. They will have the opportunity to make a holiday gift and wrap it to take home. FREE! Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales St, Austin.
  • Holiday Events at The Arboretum – Friday, December 20 – Sunday, December 22. All events are FREE and will take place near Christmas Tree by Amy’s Ice Creams.  Photos with Santa are also FREE if you bring your own camera. Light Up the Night with Santa on Friday, December 20, from 4 – 7 p.m. Enjoy a Stocking Decorating Party on Saturday, December 21, from noon – 3 p.m. Try Ornament Decorating and story time with Santa on Sunday, December 22, from 1 – 4 p.m. The Arboretum, 10000 Research Blvd., Austin.
  • Austin Trail of Lights – Friday, December 20 – Sunday, December 22, from 7 – 10 p.m. The Trail of Lights winds through 1.25 miles of Zilker Park. More than 50 custom displays will light up the night, bringing Austinites together to celebrate the season. This is the final weekend! Admission is FREE. Parking in Zilker Park is $15 and must be purchased in advance online. Shuttles are available for $3 per person. View transportation options. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
  • The Grinch Live Theater Show – Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m. Come early for an opportunity for photos with the cast and enjoy hot chocolate and coffee. All seats are FREE; donations will be accepted at the door and a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa. Potter’s House Christian Church, 13461 Pond Springs Rd, Austin.
  • Alamo Kids’ Camp - Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22. FREE movies for children age 3 and up. Times vary by location. This weekend you can see Kung Fu Panda 2  (Slaughter Lane), Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Alamo Village), and The Adventures of Tintin (Alamo Lakeline).
  • What’s the Story Steve? – Saturday, December 21 at 10 a.m. This Holiday Season, Steve the improvising poodle and his friends welcome musical duo Nick and Amber! Holiday songs inspire original, improvised stories, performed by the What’s the Story Steve? cast with help from the audience! Lighthearted, high energy and hilarious, help Steve and his friends deck the halls! All ages welcome. Pay what you wish. ColdTowne Theater, 4803 Airport Blvd., Austin.
  • Snow Day at Hill Country Galleria – Saturday, December 21, from noon- 4 p.m. Toss a snowball, build a snow man, make a snow angel, and take fun family photos! Enjoy live holiday music, holiday carolers, and more. FREE. You can also take your own FREE photos with Santa, from noon – 8 p.m. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave.
  • Snacktime with Santa – Saturday, December 21, from noon – 2 p.m. Bring your own camera to take a photo with Orange Santa.  There will also be holiday refreshments, face painting, a balloon artist, and activities for kids at this FREE family-friendly event. FREE parking in the Co-Op garage, located at 2214 San Antonio Street.  University Co-Op, 2246 Guadalupe St, Austin.
  • Winter Solstice Parade of Light – Saturday, December 21 at 6 p.m. Minor Mishap Marching Band invites you to join in a parade of light under the dark Solstice sky. Make your own lanterns and gather at the spiral of the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge at 5:30 p.m. The parade is FREE and people of all ages are welcome to participate! The parade route is short. 
Bonus fun in the ‘burbs:
Buda Trail of Lights (Buda) – Friday, December 20 – Sunday, December 22, from 6 – 10 p.m. Christmas cheer radiates throughout the season! Food, fun, and holiday splendor await visitors. Enjoy a spectacular display of twinkling lights illuminating Historic Stagecoach Park with various Winter Wonderland themes. This is the final weekend. FREE and open to the public. Parking at Cabela’s with FREE shuttles to Historic Stagecoach Park. 
Model Train Show (Round Rock) – Saturday, December 21, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 22, from noon – 5 p.m. Tinplate Trackers have set up a model train show at ArtSpace, across the street from the Round Rock Public Library. Admission is FREE. See city scenes, snow village scenes, oil fields, a farm scene, and an animated carnival. Watch up to four trains running simultaneously. If you donate $5, your junior engineer can run one of the trains for 10 minutes. ArtSpace, 231 E. Main Street, Round Rock.


Winter Solstice Celebration (San Marcos) – Saturday, December 21, from 1 – 4 p.m. Special activities and cookies at the Nature Center. FREE and for all ages. San Marcos Nature Center, 430 Riverside Dr, San Marcos.
Trail of Lights (Lakeway) – Every night, through January 1, 2014, from 6:30 p.m. – midnight. Come see thousands of twinkling lights! See amusing tableaus, all accompanied by delightful seasonal music! FREE. The Trail of Lights display is located just behind Lakeway City Hall and may be accessed by parking either at City Hall, 1102 Lohmans Crossing Road, or at the Activity Center, 105 Cross Creek Road.
Trail of Lights (Wimberley) – Every night through December 31. Friday – Saturday, from 6 – 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, from 6 – 9 p.m. Stroll along a walking trail through eight acres of lighted displays decorated by more than 100 local businesses, community groups and families. Listen to live entertainment and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is by donation. Hot Chocolate, marshmallows and all entertainment is also by donation. Hot dogs, water, s’mores and train rides are $1. EmilyAnn Theater & Garden, 1101 FM 2325, Wimberley.
Bonus Budget-Friendly Events:
Breakfast with Santa- Saturday, December 21 from 9:00- 11:00 a.m. Come one, come all! Free pancakes for kids,  a visit from Santa Claus, Christmas crafts, face painting with Glitree and unlimited fun! Cost $10 for 2 years and above, $5 for ages 12-23 months.  Safari Champ, 1400 East Old Settlers Blvd, # 200, Round Rock.

Kitchen Lab Workshop: Soap Making- Saturday, December 21 from10:30 a.m. to Noon. Combine art and science by mixing ingredients to make fragrant soaps, then put them to the test with a hand washing challenge. For ages 5 & up. Cost: $20 per parent and child, NOT including admission, $18 per MEMBER parent and child, $12 for every extra child Register online (select “Family Workshops” for Event Type), or call (512) 469-6201. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
Pinballz Holiday Craft Extravaganza- Saturday, December 21 from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. At this event, children will be guided by friendly, creative, and helpful Pinballz employees to create some cool craft projects to celebrate the holidays! Possible projects will include the making of snowflakes, placemats, and tree ornaments! We ask that parents please stay present during the duration of the event (and feel free to participate!). Cost: $7 per child. Recommended for ages 6- 12 years old. Pinballz Arcade, 8940 Research Blvd.
North Door Holiday Kids Camp- Saturday, December 21 from Date: Saturday December 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Bring the kids, ages 5-12 years old, to make holiday arts and crafts while watching Christmas movies on the big screen!  Lunch will be provided which includes a pizza party, treats, hot cocoa, cookies, candy canes and a potential visit with Santa! Cost: $30 per child, 1/2 off for 2+ kids. Parent Lounge will be open and serving! The North Door, 502 Brushy Street.
Elf Employment- Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 at 6:00 p.m. This winter, the Puppet Improv Project (PIP) rings in the holiday season at The Institution Theater with a relaunch of it’s family friendly musical, “Elf Employment.” Each night, the colorful cast of mischievous imps and woodland creatures will brighten the stage with a musical and interactive situational comedy based on suggestions from the audience about the life of elves in Santa’s Workshop as they head on a magical adventure through a winter wonderland. The cast and crew of “Elf Employment” includes improvising puppeteers, singers – tried and true veteran of improvised musical theater – and our musical director and improvising musician, Ammon Taylor. These performers are joined each show by a new special guest star, playing the role of Santa Claus. The performers are all working together to spontaneously create a new kid oriented show each night, set in the landscape of Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Cost: $7 per person. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive.
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Picture-2.png[/author_image] [author_info]Heidi Gollub loves exploring Austin and beyond with her 5 kids. For more local adventures for families, visit FreeFuninAustin.com. [/author_info] [/author]

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded LiveMom.com out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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