Weekly Happenings: December 29 – January 4


Below are a list of unique or seasonal reoccurring things to do this week in Hartford County. Be sure to check out our giveaway for Disney on Ice.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Hartford, CT | 44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light | Hartford Festival of Light has become a not-to-be-missed event for the thousands who turn out on Constitution Plaza each year to sing carols, enjoy musical entertainment and witness the spectacle that is the illumination of more than a quarter of a million tiny white lights.

Monday, December 29 from 8am-4pm | Hartford, CT | Vacation Exploration Camps: Grossed Out | The human body is amazing, but sometimes it can be downright GROSS! Investigate the smelly, icky, gooey workings of your body, both inside and out. Kids have FUN on school vacation at the Connecticut Science Center! Campers in grades 1-6 will experience hands-on science enrichment through fun and engaging activities. Camps include structured activities with our STEM Educators, as well as supervised free time to explore the Science Center’s galleries and exhibits.

Monday, December 29 – Wednesday, December 31 from 9am-12pm or 1pm-4pm | West Hartford, CT | Winter Wonderland Workshops | The museum offers a series of workshops for kids ages 7 -12 during December school vacation week. Schedule: Monday, December 29, 9 am to noon Let it Snow I Make a sparkling snowman treat box and fill with goodies. Bake delicious snowflake butter cookies. Monday, December 29, 1 pm to 4 pm Let it Snow II Create a sparkling snowflake wreath to hang on your wall. Enjoy a frosty snow cone as well. Tuesday, December 30, 9 am to noon Crochet 101 Learn basic crochet stitches for beginners, some experience working with yarn is required. All materials are provided. Tuesday, December 30, 1 pm to 4 pm Weaving Weave a place mat or trivet using yarn, rope, and a safety pin! Or try your hand at finger knitting! Wednesday, December 31, 9 am to noon Sock Puppets Children have been making sock puppets since the beginning of time! What’s especially fun about sock puppets is that each one can be unique. Put on a puppet show when done! Wednesday, December 31, 1 pm to 4 pm Happy New Year! Create a miniature New Year’s Ball to drop at midnight while wearing the New Year’s hat you that made and use the festive noisemaker to celebrate bringing in the New Year! The program fee is $25 per child, per workshop, and $20 for museum members. Registration is required. Please pack your child a snack or bring a bagged lunch when registering kids for both sessions!

Monday, December 29 – Sunday, January 4 from 10am-4pm | Farmington, CT | Christmas Memories: Tales & Traditions of an Early 20th Century Holiday | You’ll feel like an invited guest when you tour the country house, decorated for the holidays circa 1901. Museum interpreters portray members of the Pope-Riddle family, including Theodate herself, their household staff, and such illustrious visitors as novelest Grace Flandreau. Free to members or with museum admission. 

Monday, December 29 – Wednesday, December, 31 | Windsor Locks, CT | Holiday Break Activities | The Air Museum will hold activities during the December 26th-31st holiday break. Daily activities on these dates include demonstrations about the science of flight, and the Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 12pm and 4pm. Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators to virtually fly any aircraft using real cockpit controls. Activities are scheduled for the following days: Monday, Dec. 29: Aero Modeling Workshop. This program runs from 10am to 2pm and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. This activity takes about an hour and a half to complete. Children ages 8-14 can build and fly their own models. All children must be accompanied by an adult. There is a $5 cost for the kit. Tuesday, Dec. 30th:Open Cockpit. The Air Museum will host an Open Cockpit program with up to eight aircraft to be open including helicopters, jet fighters and WWII aircraft. All cockpits will close at 4pm. Wednesday, Dec 31: Recyclable glider family competition. Build a glider out of recyclable materials provided and fly an egg the longest distance possible. Daily activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit except where noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors.

Monday, December 29 – Tuesday, December 30 from 11am to 4pm | Bristol, CT | Winter Wonderland: 5 Days of Family Fun | School’s out! Spend your winter break at the Carousel Museum as we provide five straight days of family fun. Visitors will enjoy games, movies, snacks, and a unique craft activity each day. All admissions include a free ride on our working carousel and access to all of our museum’s exhibits, including our collection of over 130 carousel animals, the Museum of Fire History, the Museum of Greek Culture, and our Restoration Department, all of which have been decorated to celebrate everyone’s favorite time of the year. Craft Schedule: 12/29, 11am-4pm: Tote Bag Decorating! Paint and decorate your very own tote bag. 12/30, 11am-4pm: Super Duper Snowflakes! Use craft sticks to create a dazzling snowflake. Cost: $5 per child, $6 per adult. Free for members.

Monday, December 29 from 1-2:30pm (ages 2.5-6) & 3-4:30pm (ages 7-11) | Farmington, CT | Frozen Dance Party | Looking for something to keep your little ones busy during the holiday break?! Join us for our FREE Frozen Dance Party! Get those kiddos out of the house and burn off some of that energy! Free but must RSVP as space is limited.

Monday, December 29 from 1-3pm | New Britain, CT | Lend a Hand! Community Quilting with the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild | This December Vacation Week, fire up your whole family’s creativity for a great cause! In this drop-in workshop, children and an accompanying adult can make and decorate two fabric squares using applique, fabric markers, and a variety of 3D embellishments. Take home one as a miniature quilt keepsake, and sign and donate the other to our collaborative quilt project. Volunteers from the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild will be on hand to foster your creativity and assemble the donated squares into a community quilt for Covenant to Care for Children, a statewide, nonprofit 501(c)3 agency working with faith and community organizations to meet the needs of children ages birth to 17 who are abused, neglected, or impoverished. Bring new or gently used toys, school supplies, and children’s clothing to give to their Community Closet, which serves families in need throughout the state. Keep the spirit of giving alive, and get your quilt on!

Monday, December 29 – Tuesday, December 30 from 5-9pm | East Windsor, CT | Winterfest | That delightful and magical season of WinterFest is now upon us. The Connecticut Trolley Museum once again pushes the limits to treat you and yours to an evening of entertainment and seasonal exhilaration! Ride the antique traction through the “Tunnel of Lights” tripping on our open electrical chariot (The Montréaler) or another open car – 3 miles of cool breezes under the starlit heavens. Or cozy down in an enclosed trolley for the warmer, dashing through the snow, rail trip. Open your complimentary “Ride & Sing Along WinterFest Songbook” and belt out your favorite Christmas Carol with the Trolley Crew and fellow passengers! Stroll through the Teresalee Bertinuson Visitor Center where the functioning and enchanting model train layouts will take your mind on a flight of fancy. The “halls are decked” with the proverbial “boughs of holly” and there are enough decorations to satisfy any souls need for visual Holiday splendor. The youngsters can sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift – you may also if you desire.

Monday, December 29 – Wednesday, December, 31 (Reoccurs on Saturday-Sunday’s too) at 1:30pm | Hartford, CT | Family Tour | School’s Closed, But We’re Not! Introduce your kids to the new Family Tour at the 
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Just in time for school vacation, the Stowe Center offers a new Family Tour. The Family Tour is an interactive hands-on tour of Stowe’s home that uses storytelling, historic photographs and letters, and journaling to bring the 19th century’s most famous female author/activist to life for kids 5-12. Learn how Stowe’s words changed the world and how you can too!

Monday, December 29 – Thursday, January 1 from 5-9pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Light Fantasia is a much loved Greater Hartford tradition and this season’s destination. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights.​Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays. Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years and Three Kings Day. Click here for a $3 off coupon. Holiday Light Fantasia will say “thank you” to the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the U.S military by offering free admission to all veterans and active service personnel on Tuesday, December 30th. Please show one of the following proof of military service: Government-issued military identification card; a Veterans Administration Universal Access ID card; or a membership card in a veterans organization. Stay tuned for our upcoming review.

Tuesday, December 30 from 8am-4pm | Hartford, CT | Vacation Exploration Camps: Animation Station | Lights, camera, action! Design and direct your own stop motion animated video. Using a variety of props and a camera, take a series of pictures and watch them come to life! Kids have fun on school vacation at the  Connecticut Science Center! Campers in grades 1-6 will experience hands-on science enrichment through fun and engaging activities. Camps include structured activities with our STEM Educators, as well as supervised free time to explore the Science Center’s galleries and exhibits.

Tuesday, December 30 from 11-1pm | Hartford, CT | How about spending a cold winter day at a Luau? We will prepare Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Pineapple Salsa, Hawaiian Spam Sliders and Tropical Cupcakes. We won’t forget to leave time to learn to Hula Dance! Children are encouraged to wear a Hawaiian Shirt if they have one. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Tuesday, December 30 at 1pm | Rocky Hill, CT | A live raptor program sponsored by the Friends of Dinosaur Park and Arboretum. Meet these magnificent descendants of dinosaurs! Recommended for ages 5 and older.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 – 10am to 1:00pm | Bristol, CT | New Years Celebration! | Ring in the New Year celebrating cultures and traditions from around the globe! Join us on Wednesday, December 31st from 10am until 1pm as we create confetti, masks, and noisemakers! Help create a colorful flower float!  Await a visit from Father Time and dance with DJ Bob, then March in our very own New Year’s parade at 11:30am! Following the parade, we will gather in Times Square and count down for the ball drop at 12:00 noon! Imagine Nation Museum members and children under one free. Library Passes and ACM memberships are not accepted for this event. Admission is $7/person.

Wednesday December 31st from 10:15am – 12:15pm | Canton, CT | Countdown to Noon | We will play, dance and have some yummy snacks! We’ll count down to noon together and ring in 2015 with style! Come dressed crazy, fancy, or in your PJ’s. Best outfit wins a prize!! Come on ladies (and gentlemen) you know you have some sequin outfits in your closet that you are dying to wear! Caregiver participation required $20 per child. $15 for siblings. All ages welcome! 

Wednesday, December 31 from 6:30-8pm | West Hartford, CT |  Ring in 2015 on the ice with hats, horns and a countdown to an “early midnight”! DJ Ean will be taking your requests!

Wednesday, December 31 | Hartford, CT | First Night Hartford | The name “First Night” symbolizes this forward look, over the technically correct “Last Night”. First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol free, family-friendly, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity. The day is a multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free New Year’s experience with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. It’s also an affordable way for everyone to ring in the New Year. The day includes two spectacular fireworks shows at 6pm and midnight in Bushnell Park that can be seen throughout the city by thousands of residents and visitors.

Friday, January 2 from 7am-6pm | West Hartford, CT | Fitness Frenxy Friday | For one day only, we’re opening our doors to the entire community to share in the fitness and fun. And best of all, its free! Bring your swimsuit and splash around in our pool, try a group exercise class, encourage the kids in sports activities, engage the oops with our basketball court, enjoy complimentary coffee in our cafe. For a list of activities click here. Free

Friday, January 2 from 10am-4pm | Canton, CT | Blizzard Blast! | Drop by for a family day of outside and inside winter fun! Enjoy an “Animal Hiding Spot Hunt”, winter crafts and nature games. Then let your creativity shine with snow sculptures up in the field! Make sure to dress for the snow and cold! No need to pre-register. Activities are free with admission to the Nature Center.

Friday, January 2 – Sunday, January 4 | Friday 5 to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm, Sunday 1-4pm | Wethersfield, CT | Each year, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum’s “Three Centuries of Christmas” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years. This year, two evening candlelight tours, with costumed guides, have been added for viewing the three elegantly appointed historic houses that comprise the museum. Stay tuned for our review.

Friday, January 2 at 7pm | Hartford, CT | Hartford Wolfpack vs the St. John’s IceCaps | Winter Clothing Drive: Donate a winter hat, jacket or scarf and receive a complimentary ticket voucher for a 2014-15 Wolf Pack home game.

Friday, January from 7-8:30pm | Canton, CT | Full ‘Wolf Moon’ Hike | Dress warmly as we’ll head to the open field for some moon gazing, astronomy and listening for great horned owls, to be followed by hot cider and cookies in the Nature Center auditorium. This program is not geared for young children and participants should dress for cold evening temperatures! Cost: $5 members, $7 non-members. Pre-registration is required.

{Parents Night Out} Friday, January 2 from 7-10pm (Reoccurs on Friday, February 6) | Farmington, CT | Evening Ski Tours for Adults | Skiing under the stars! Does this atmosphere sound good to you? If you answered yes, then you’ll want to join us for this unique program. Weather permitting, fellow skiers will gather the 1st Friday of the month for a special guided ski tour of our trail system. The warmth of a roaring fire, light fare and conversation will follow this nocturnal trek. This program is not for beginner skiers. Registration is required by noon, Thursday prior to the event. (Weather permitting)

Saturday, January 3 from 10am-1pm | Hartford, CT | Free Family Program: Let’s Build a City | Calling all builders! Join other families at the CHS as we build our own community on our giant floor map. We’ll provide the boxes (and other supplies), while kids will use their creativity to turn boxes into buildings and help our city come to life. Free.

Saturday, January 3 – Sunday, January 4 from 11am to 5pm | Hartford, CT | The 30th Annual Connecticut Bridal Show | The Connecticut Bridal Show Expo is the largest bridal show on the East Coast and quite possibly in the country. With a proven format of combining fashion shows with a huge vendor presence, our bridal shows offer couples the unique opportunity to shop for every facet of their wedding needs in one location. What a time saver for busy working people, to find everything they need in one weekend and at one bridal show! And not just one, but several of each bridal product or service, providing a wide variety of styles and prices to suit every taste and budget. One lucky Bride each day will be chosen at the show for a chance to win a brand new Dodge Dart courtesy of Mitchell Chrysler Group. Meet Randy Fenoli from “Say Yes to the Dress” 11:30am-2:30pm. $12 admission.

Sunday, January 4 at 10am | West Hartford, CT | The Mitten String Storytime and Craft | Bring your family for a reading of The Mitten String with author Jennifer Rosner. Have fun with an interactive mitten craft and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Free. Stay tuned for our upcoming book review and giveaway.

Sunday, January 4 at 3pm and 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Trans-Siberian Orchestra debut their Rock Opera The Christmas Attic live across North America.

Plan Ahead:

Monday, January 5 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Hartford, CT | Learn to Solder at MakeHartford | Back by popular demand! Participants will learn to solder electronic components to a printed circuit board while assembling and testing a small electronic project kit. The finished project is useful for the further study of electronics and is the participant’s to keep. Instruction will include workbench safety. All tools and materials will be provided. Eye protection is required. Safety glasses are available for an additional $4. Ages: Teens/Adults. Cost: $35/class.

Save the Date:

Wednesday, January 14 – Sunday, January 18th | Hartford, CT | Disney on Ice comes to the XL Center. Stay tuned for our upcoming review and enter our giveaway.

Saturday, January 31 from 10am-5pm- Sunday, February 1 from 10am-4pm, 2015 | 11th Annual Big Y Kid’s Fair | Fun, entertainment, exhibits, prizes and more are what you’ll get this day at the Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford. Here’s one-stop-shopping for the latest products and services for growing families, including national, state and local companies offering product samples and valuable information. Plus, we’ll present entertainment, celebrity appearances and loads of activities for families with busy babies and toddlers. There will be Pony Rides and a Petting Zoo, magicians, a stage area featuring events like a kids fashion show, a kids play area, amusement rides and much, much more! $10 Adults, $5 Kids {Adults get $2 off with Big Y Express Savings Club or Silver Savings Club Card, limited to one per party}.


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