As 2011 comes to an end, celebrate the approaching new year with these fun holiday happenings in Hampton Roads. If you’re looking for a few festive events to end the holiday season with a bang, here are a some events to keep you and your loved ones busy!
Take a two mile drive through Norfolk’s Botanical Gardens’ spectacular light adventure: a million twinkling lights and holiday decorations. The Dominion Garden of Lights is open starting today, Wednesday, December 14th from 5:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily until January 1st, 2012. Admission is $10 per car Sunday-Thursday and $15 per car Friday and Saturday, with a $2 discount for members of Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The Gardens show their Appreciation for the military with a half-off discount every Monday evening for their Monday Military Appreciation Nights: $5 per car. Military IDs must be shown to receive discount. A synchronized light display is a new, spectacular feature in the garden of lights this year.
Skate your way into 2012 at MacArthur Center’s outdoor skating rink. Located outside the mall in between Monticello Avenue and Freemason Street, the rink is open until January 16th. The ice rink’s hours of operation and special holiday events can be found here. Tickets are $6 per person + $5 for skate rentals. For a military discount of $2 off admission price, bring your military ID! Also available this year: a Kiddie Rink for the toddlers. Bring the whole family! Learn to skate Saturday, December 17th from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and Saturday, January 7th from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. with a ticket to the 10 a.m. skating session. For more information, including discounted group pricing and season skating passes call: (757) 314-4409. For other holiday events at MacArthur Center, visit their website.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s holiday happenings feature plenty of perfect events for families this Christmas season. Sailing with Santa on December 17th at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. includes a 45-minute cruise on Owls Creek with Santa and his crew. Enjoy refreshments, games, and activities and take photos with Santa. Cost: $14 for Aquarium members and $17 for non-members. Free with aquarium admission is Scuba Santa, an event happening at 11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday until December 24th. Watch as Santa descends into the depths of the Chesapeake Bay Aquarium and takes a swim with the ocean life. If you visit the Aquarium on a Sunday be sure to check out Sundays with Santa from 12-3 p.m. in the Marsh Pavilion, where children can join Santa and his elves for free activities through December 18th. Another free holiday event for the whole family to enjoy is the Countdown to 2012 on Saturday, December 31st from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Aquarium’s Promenade Room. This New Year celebration features games, activities, and sparkling non-alcoholic beverages for children and adults. Visit the Aquarium website for more information or call (757) 385-0300.
Another glorious light adventure can be found at Virginia Beach’s annual Holiday Lights at the Beach. Drive through Nautical and holiday themed lights all the way from 2nd Street to 34th Street on the boardwalk. The display is open from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 5:00-11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. McDonald’s Holiday Lights will be open until January 1st, 2012. Visit the event website for a discount coupon and detailed information about this winter wonderland. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (757) 425-3111. This “Fanta-Sea” themed light event has been named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 November Events” and the American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America for 2011”! A free CD of holiday music is provided for every vehicle entering the Holiday Lights at the Beach and this event will brighten your night as 2011 draws to a close.
For More Info:
Holiday Happenings – VA Aquarium
Holiday Lights at the Beach