THOSE LIGHTS! LANTERN LIGHT FESTIVAL
Celebration of Chinese culture features massive lanterns, inspiring performances and delicious cuisine. Kids young and old will marvel at these enormous, colorful lanterns, custom-built by Chinese artisans, that typically take four weeks to complete. The lanterns appear to be three-dimensional stained glass, and are handmade from hundreds of pieces of silky cloth. Some are more than 30 feet high, others up to 300 feet long, and all of them will take your breath away.
Details: 5-11 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, running through Jan. 8, at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo Center, 10901 SW 24th St., Miami; www.lanternlightfestival.com; $25 ($23 advance), $21 children 2-15 ($19 advance), under 2 free.
Never miss a local story.
OLD-FASHIONED FUN WINTERLAND AT THE FARM
Enjoy the Illuminated Forest, petting zoo, paddleboat and hay rides, bounce houses, snow, hot chocolate and treats, pony rides and face-painting, plus meet Santa Claus and his magical friends as they stop by every two hours.
Details: 4-9 p.m. Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 4-9 p.m. Monday, running through Jan. 8, at Pinto’s Farm, 14890 SW 216th St., Miami; www.pintofarm.com; $19, $12 presale online.
GOLD COAST RAILROAD MUSEUM THE POLAR EXPRESS
A magical holiday tradition is resurrected as this 45-minute train ride based on the classic children’s story ventures through the quiet wilderness for a special visit to the North Pole and a meeting with Santa Claus. Guests on board, who are encouraged to wear their PJs, will enjoy warm cocoa and other treats while listening to and reading along with the enchanting story. Plus, each child will receive a silver sleigh bell for the first gift of Christmas.
Details: 6:30 and 8 p.m. Friday; 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; running through Dec. 24; at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, 12450 SW 152nd St., Miami; www.gcrm.org; $35; VIP tables also available; children under 2 free (must sit on adult’s lap).
NO, NOT MICKEY MOUSE KING
Now in its fourth year, this family-friendly musical conceived by “Sesame Street” and Disney veteran Noel MacNeal tells the story of “The Nutcracker” from the point of view of the mice. It features original music by longtime South Florida alt-rock composer Jim Camacho.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Mandelstam Theater, 8530 SW 57th Ave., South Miami; 800-838-3006 or www.mousekingtickets.com; $25.
HOLIDAY CLASSIC THE NUTCRACKER
Travel to the Land of Sweets once again, as the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida presents its sparkling production filled with snowflakes, sugar plums, magical dolls, naughty little boys and a Christmas toy that comes to life, plus the enchanting score by Tchaikovsky.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th St., Aventura; 305-466-8002 or www.aventuracenter.org; $30.
FAMILY FUN DAY HOMETOWN HEROES
Whether you love the Dolphins, Marlins, Heat, Canes, Panthers or all of the above, celebrate your hometown sports heroes by wearing your favorite local team’s gear and learning about their rise to fame with the exhibition, “Beyond the Game: Sports and the Evolution of South Florida.” There also will be craft activities, storytelling and much more.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; www.historymiami.org; free.
MIAMI CHILDREN’S MUSEUM SEASON OF THE ARTS
This series will introduce children and their families to a different form of art every Saturday during the month of December. This week, explore the world of opera with Florida Grand Opera through hands-on activities, live performances, interactive experiences and the thrill of live theater. Learn about stage makeup, special effects, set design and, of course, singing (you can’t miss the roaming a capella singers). The day concludes with the hilarious, family-friendly opera, “Toy Shop,” with a special gift for all children at the end.
Details: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Cswy., Watson Island, Miami; www.miamichildrensmuseum.org; $20, $15 for Florida residents, free for kids under 12 months.
SECOND SATURDAYS AT PAMM SOUND WAVES
Kids - explore sound and language through the artwork of Susan Hiller. Record your voice and create your own unique artwork while you enjoy the distinct sounds of the artistic duo, Archival Feedback.
Details: 1-4 p.m. Saturday at Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-375-3000 or www.pamm.org; free with museum admission ($16 adults, $12 kids 7-18, free 6 and under).
MUSICAL THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES A CHRISTMAS CAROL — THE MUSICAL
The Charles Dickens classic takes a musical turn in this festive holiday favorite written especially for family audiences that will warm your heart as it reveals the true meaning of the holidays. Watch as Tiny Tim and the entire Cratchit family join three unearthly “Spirits” in trying to convince Ebenezer Scrooge to change his "Bah-Humbug" ways.
Details: 2 p.m. Saturday, running through Dec. 24, at Actor’s Playhouse, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-444-9293 or www.actorsplayhouse.org; $13-$20.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL KURIOS – CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
The latest acrobatic spectacle of beauty and power from Cirque du Soleil presents a tale in which time comes to a complete stop, transporting the audience inside a fantasy world where everything is possible. In this realm set in the latter half of the 19th century, our perception of reality is utterly transformed. See why the Chicago Tribune calls Kurios a “fantastic show that reveals this extraordinary artistic company’s singular capacity for exploration and metamorphosis.”
Details: 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday, running through Jan. 29, next to the Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens; www.cirquedusoleil.com/kurios; $39-$160.
SNOW IN MIAMI? SNOW FEST PARADE
The entire family will enjoy festive floats, marching bands, holiday characters and photo opps with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman and the Grinch. Plus, there’ll be a snow mountain, ice skating rink, rock climbing wall, giant slide, bounce houses, carnival games, edible arts and crafts, and for those who have been nice, a chance to write a letter with your list of wishes to Dear Ole St. Nick.
Details: 6-11 p.m. Saturday along Northeast 19th Avenue between 164th and 171st streets, North Miami Beach; 305-948-2957 or www.citynmb.com; free, $5 Snow Pass gets you unlimited rides.
PINECREST GARDENS FAMILY HOLIDAY CONCERT
The Greater Miami Symphonic Band presents its annual Holiday Concert, with the 75-minute program including music for Christmas, Hanukkah, and more.
Details: 3 p.m. Sunday at Pinecrest Gardens, Banyan Bowl, 11000 SW 57th Ave., Pinecrest; www.pinecrestgardens.org; $15, $5 kids.
VOICES OF ANGELS MIAMI CHILDREN’S CHORUS
Ring in the season with all of the ensembles of the Miami Children’s Chorus singing traditional (“Silent Night,” “Do You Hear What I Hear?”) and contemporary (a song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra) holiday fare during their annual concert.
Details: 4 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables, 536 Coral Way, Coral Gables; www.miamichildrenschorus.org; $25, $10 seniors and kids 5-18.
FEEL THE SPIRIT OVERTOWN HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR
The Community Arts Program (CAP) presents local youth performing a spirited holiday program of contemporary, jazz and holiday favorites in the home of one of Miami’s oldest African-American congregations. The event is hosted by CBS4 News journalist Tiani Jones.
Details: 4 p.m. at The Historic St. Agnes’ Episcopal Church, 1750 NW 3rd Ave., Miami; www.communityartsprogram.org; free.
FREE GOSPEL SUNDAYS MIAMI MASS CHOIR
South Florida’s beloved gospel group – whose members joined Kanye West onstage at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards for a stirring performance of his hit “Jesus Walks” – celebrates its new album, “Miami Mass Choir Live: At the Adrienne Arsht Center,” set to drop on Friday.
Details: 5 p.m. Sunday at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722 or www.arshtcenter.org; free, check online for First-Access Passes.
Free For All
FAMILY DAY ON ARAGON HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
Get ready for the holiday season with a special performance by Miami Royal Ballet, build a gingerbread house with graham crackers and candy, enjoy seasonal arts & crafts, and chill out with a super-cool snow machine.
Details: 2-5 p.m. Saturday at Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305-603-8067 or www.coralgablesmuseum.org; free.
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