Through December 31
Zoo Lights at the Henry Vilas Zoo
Head to the zoo on Thursdays through Sundays for a warm beverage and a stroll through a winter wonderland of lights and sounds. Zoo Lights is open from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. and is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Learn more online at vilaszoo.org/zoolights.
December 2 through December 31
Olbrich's Holiday Express
What a show! From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily (with restricted hours on Christmas Eve and closed Christmas day) you can view large-scale model trains in a holiday scene. And members of the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society will be on hand, showing off their trains as well. See the website for details.
Through January 2
Holiday Fantasy in Lights
For the 29th year, Olin Park is getting all gussied up for the holidays. Every day through January 2 you can take a tour of the gorgeous Fantasy in Lights, from 4 p.m. Admission is free and you can get details online at fantasyinlights.com. Olin Park is located at 1156 Olin-Turville Ct. in downtown Madison.
Through January 13
The Wisconsin Historical Society presents a look at “The Enduring Love Affair with the Aluminum Christmas Tree.” You’ll be taken back to the 1960s and plunked down in a replica living room decorated with a Wisconsin-manufactured Evergleam Christmas tree. Visit the museum every day but Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Get more information online at wisconsinhistory.org.
December 1, 2, 3
A Madison Symphony Christmas
It’s a family-friendly evening of holiday music. Get there early to enjoy caroling from the Madison Symphony Chorus in the lobby of the Overture Center for the Arts. Get more information and buy tickets online, here.
Teas and Trains
Teas and Trains, a Madison Children’s Museum presentation, is an annual event that’s become a tradition for local families. Bring yours to enjoy the train collection, arts and craft stations, a silent auction and high tea and hot chocolate. Have the kids bring their favorite doll to have its hair styled and ears pierced. It happens at The Madison Club (5 E Wilson St. in Madison) from 10:30 a.m. unto 2 p.m. Get details and buy tickets online at madisonchildrensmuseum.org.
December 2 and 3
MOM Holiday Art Fair
Shop from among more than 60 local artists and, when you make a purchase the artist will donate 20 percent or more of his or her proceeds to help MOM prevent homelessness and fight hunger. Shop for pottery, jewelry, glass items, paintings and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. At MOM Food Pantry, 3502 Parmenter St. in Middleton.
Get Festive with Agora
Today may be the day to get out and get some holiday shopping done and Agora in Fitchburg is the place to do it. They’ll be offering free carriage rides, visits with Santa, carolers, laser tag and plenty of discounts throughout the event. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.
School Days Off
When school is out, enjoy family-friendly fun at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum. December 8 is Holiday Card-Making for our veterans from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission is free, so just show up at 30 W. Mifflin St. in Madison.
Warner Family Fun Night
Another family fun night is on tap at Warner Park Community Recreation Center. Enjoy the bounce house, games, family fitness classes, movies, pottery projects and more. Admission is $5 per family and you can register online or go here for more information.
Flannel & Fizz Holiday Party
The Madison Club is the site of the Flannel & Fizz Holiday Party and you’re invited. Don your fanciest flannel attire and get ready to dance to DJ music and enjoy appetizers and the cash bar. You’ll find details online, here.
Enjoy Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and, of course, the Nutcracker, all portrayed by 150 dancers, set to the iconic Tchaikovsky score brought to you by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Buy tickets to this Overture Hall event online at overture.org.
December 9 and 16
Holiday Dane County Farmer’s Market
Get your fresh produce and other goodies every Saturday at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. More than 50 vendors offer up all your holiday food needs. The market is open from 7:30 a.m. until noon.
December 9 through December 23
Children’s Theatre of Madison – A Christmas Carol
Dress up the kids for a trip back to Victorian England to witness the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge. Get tickets online at overture.org.
Children’s Holiday Party
The Fitchburg Community Center comes alive today for the annual Children’s Holiday Party. The kids will have a blast visiting with Santa, taking carriage rides, having their faces painted and making s’mores. It happens from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and admission is free. The Community Center is located at 5510 Lacy Rd in Fitchburg.
Madison Capitols Hockey Vs. Green Bay Gamblers
Cheer on our hometown heroes as they take on the Green Bay Gamblers at the Capitol Ice Arena (2616 N Pleasant View Rd. in Middleton). The puck drops at 6:05 p.m. It’s $1 beer night too! Navigate online to madcapshockey.com for details.
My Family New Year’s Eve
This year’s Family New Year’s Eve event takes place at KEVA Sports Center, Monona Terrace, Madison Ice Arena, and Hartmeyer Ice Arena. Enjoy magic, puppets, music and more. Get the details online at myfamilynye.com.
New Year’s Eve Family Dance Party
It’s like a grownup New Year’s Eve without the grownup beverages! There will be confetti, glow bracelets and sparkling juice to celebrate the countdown at 4 p.m. And it all happens at the Art Studio at Madison Children’s Museum. Visit them online for the details.