Holiday Activities for All: 2019 Edition

It’s officially the holiday season! There are so many wonderful things to do in St. Louis during this time of year – we rounded up just a few of our favorites perfect for the entire family.

Each of the activities and attractions listed below are accessible, and some have special events or accommodations for those with different abilities, so that everyone in your family can enjoy them together!

Light Displays

US Bank Wild Lights at the St. Louis Zoo – Select nights through December 30, 2019 – Open 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This year, more than one million twinkling lights and animal-themed displays will adorn the Zoo grounds, making this trip to our beloved Zoo extra magical.  Admission includes entrance to Wild Lights, the Conservation Carousel and the 4D Theater, which will be showing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 4D”. The Penguin & Puffin Coast and the Bayer Insectarium will be open for those looking for animals! Parking is also free during the event.

If someone in your family has sensory needs, the Zoo will also host a Sensory Night on Monday, December 9. It will be exactly like Wild Lights, but with added quiet areas and specially trained staff available to assist families.

Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden – Almost every night through January 4, 2020 – Closed December 9, December 24 and December 25

See the Garden transform into a magical, twinkling light display at Garden Glow. Like the Zoo, this is a walk-through event, but all paths are accessible single-seat wheelchairs, scooters, and power chairs up to 35" wide (the tram will not run during the event). Plus, admission includes entrance to the indoor Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show, featuring G-scale trains of various eras traveling along 900 feet of track through a holiday landscape.

Santa’s Magical Kingdom – Every night through January 5, 2020 – Open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Located next to Six Flags in Eureka, MO, this drive-through holiday light display features animated scenes, dazzling special effects and millions of lights. That’s right – you don’t even need to get out of your vehicle to enjoy the fun! You’ll see a Tunnel of Dancing Lights, the St. Louis Arch, Elfland, Toy Land, dancing dolphins, giant candy and so much more.

For added holiday magic, visit Six Flags St. Louis for their Holiday in the Park event on select evenings through January 1, 2020.

Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park – Almost every night through January 2, 2020 (closed December 24 and 31) – Open 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (with the exception of Walk Nights)

At Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park, you can choose the way you see the beautiful light displays! Open to vehicle traffic on all days except Saturdays and some Mondays, you can also choose to ride a carriage or even walk (or roll!) through the park during Walk Nights on December 9 and 16. Walk times are available on these nights at 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Way of Lights at the Shrine – Outdoor display open nightly through December 31. Indoor activities closed December 24 and 25.

The Way of Lights in Belleville, IL is not only beautiful; it is one of the few free light displays in our area AND they are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year! Plus, you can drive through the entire route if you’d rather not unload from the vehicle.

If you do want to step out, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities (some free) for families, including camel, donkey and pony rides, a petting zoo, a free craft, a Lego Bricks Display and more.  We recommend visiting on Tuesday Family Nights, when there are discounts on many of the paid activities.

Christmas Wonderland in Alton – Every night through December 26, 2018

Drive through more than four million lights for just $7 a car! Each year, Rock Spring Park in Alton, IL is transformed with cascading waterfalls, lighted trees and hundreds of light displays sure to thrill kids and kids at heart. Plus, Santa will be in the Enchanted Forest through Christmas Eve!

For even more fun, you can visit the free Bethalto Christmas Village in Bethalto, IL’s Central Park, featuring festive lights, themed cottages, live entertainment, craft and food vendors and more – open December 7 – 8, 14 – 15 and 21 – 22.

Holiday Celebrations

Sleigh Bells Ring, Voices Sing Holiday Concert – December 12, 2019 – Doors open at 7 p.m., concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Join Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis and get into the holiday spirit! This concert will feature festive tunes and other favorite songs performed by the inclusive Variety Children’s Chorus, along with performances from Variety Theatre alumni Ben Nordstrom and Debby Lennon with Carolbeth True. Tickets are just $10 in advance for this event held at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Winter Celebrations at the St. Louis Art Museum – December 14 – 15, 2019 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Winter Celebrations is a family-friendly extravaganza featuring performances, art activities and more inspired by traditions from around the world. Make sure you check out the schedule online for a list of all crafts and performance times, performances from Dances of India, Afriky Lolo, St. Louis Christmas Carols Association, Hispanic Festival, Inc., St. Louis Osuwa Taiko and more.

Supper with Santa at the Butterfly House – Select dates December 14 – 22, 2019

This is more than just a fun meal with Santa! Guests can also take a stroll through the accessible conservatory to see the beautiful butterflies, make fun crafts and enjoy a photo booth. Plus, cookies and hot cocoa will be available in Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Kitchen! Reservations are required – two dates are already sold out.

Chanukah: Festival of Lights at the Missouri Botanical Garden – December 22, 2019 – 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

This traditional Jewish holiday celebration will include a festive Israeli music and dance and a menorah-lighting ceremony. Chanukah merchandise will also be available, provided by local vendors and the Garden Gate Shop. Included with Garden admission!

Kwanzaa: Festival of the First Fruits at the Missouri Botanical Garden – December 30, 2019 – 12 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Whether your family celebrates Kwanzaa or you are simply looking for a fun way to learn more about the holiday and the beautiful culture surrounding it, this is a great event! The day will include Kwanzaa ceremony, storytelling, craft and jewelry displays and African musical performances. Included with Garden admission!

New Year’s Eve

Want to celebrate the New Year without staying up late? There are many New Years at Noon events throughout the St. Louis area! Noontime New Year’s Eve (December 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Magic House features noise maker and wish wand crafts, a photo booth and a dance floor. Many of the branches of the St. Louis County Library also have their own noon New Year’s events with crafts, activities and countdowns to noon.

We hope you all have a safe and magical holiday season! Let us know if we missed any amazing events or attractions!