40 delightful December events for Atlanta families

The holiday season is in full swing with light displays, the Pink Pig, caroling, and real live reindeer
The annual Children's Christmas Parade in Midtown

Photograph by Faith Swift Photography/Courtesy Children's Hospital of Atlanta

Through 12/4
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Where: Fox Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m. (Tuesday through Thursday); 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday); 2 p.m. (Saturday only); 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Sunday only)
Cost: $33.50 to $93.50
What: Relive all your favorite moments from the 1983 film—leg lamps, Red Ryder BB guns, and “don’t shoot your eye out!”—in this touring Broadway musical.

Through 12/11
Shakespeare’s First Folio 
Where: Carlos Museum
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tuesday through Friday); 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday); noon to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free (does not include admission to other galleries)
What: Is your high-schooler reading Romeo & Juliet? Give him a glimpse of one of the world’s rarest books—the first-ever collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays.

Through 12/24
A Christmas Carol
Where: Alliance Theatre
When: Various
Cost: $14 to $65
What: A little bit funny, a little bit spooky, and plenty heartwarming, nothing says Christmas like the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Bring the family for the annual Alliance Theatre production of the Charles Dickens holiday tale, now in its 27th year.

Through 12/29
Christmas at Callanwolde Light Show
Where: Callanwolde
When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: $20
What: For years, families have trekked to the historic Candler mansion to see it decorated for the holidays. Now, a new tradition begins with the addition of an evening Christmas-themed outdoor light display, which includes a singing forest and a kids-only area where snow will fall. Bring your letters to Santa (you can mail them here) and an appetite (treats will be available along the way).

Through 12/31
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Where: Center for Puppetry Arts
When: Various
Cost: $20.50 ($10.25 for members); free for kids under 2
What: This Center for Puppetry Arts holiday tradition features all your favorite characters from the classic Rankin/Bass television special. Attendees can also make their own Abominable Snow Monster puppets. For ages 4 and up.

Through 1/1/17
Macy’s Pink Pig
Where: Macy’s Lenox Square
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Monday through Friday); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Saturday); 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sunday); check website for special holiday hours
Cost: $3 for 1 ride; $5.50 for 2 rides; $7.50 for 3 rides
What: Priscilla makes her annual porcine debut under the big tent outside of Macy’s Lenox Square. Hop aboard the more than 50-year-old train, then head inside the mall for pics with Santa.

Through 1/2/17
The World’s Largest Dinosaurs 
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday through Saturday); noon to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $16 for kids 3 to 12; free for kids 2 and under). IMAX movies require additional ticket purchase.
What: Fifteen years ago, the permanent “Giants of the Mesozoic” exhibit opened at Fernbank, featuring fossil casts of the world’s largest meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs. Now, in a new temporary exhibition, you’ll have a chance to examine life-sized bones, muscles, and internal organs of the biggest dinos that ever lived. Marvel at the size of their teeth, how much they ate, and the force of their heartbeats, and hit the IMAX theater for a showing of Dinosaurs Alive!

Through 1/7/17
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden
When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: $17 to $41
What: See the Botanical Garden in a whole new way when it gets bedazzled with millions of twinkling holiday lights. New this year: The Walk of Flames, featuring 21 oversized candles.

Through 1/7/17
Fantasy in Lights
Where: Callaway Gardens
When: 6 p.m.
Cost: $19 to $28 for adults; $9.50 to $14 for kids ages 6 to 12; free for kids 5 and under
What: Eight million lights spread across 15 scenes make this one of the region’s top holiday displays. Hop out of your car and aboard the open-air Jolly Trolley for an extra-festive viewing.

Through 1/8/17
I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle
Where: High Museum of Art
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday through Thursday, Saturday); 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Friday); 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($14.50 ages 6 and up; free for kids 5 and under)
What: Even if your kid is too young to read, he or she would likely still recognize the distinctive hand-colored collages of children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle, best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. See 80 original artworks from 15 of Carle’s most popular books in this career retrospective.

Through 1/8/17
Winter Wonderland
Where: Fernbank Museum
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday through Saturday), noon to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $16 for kids 3 to 12; free for kids 2 and under)
What: The natural history museum gets decked out with more than 30 trees, each representing the holiday traditions of a different culture or country. While you’re there, check out the Holly Jolly Film Festival (11/19-12/17), featuring holiday classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas and other cultural performances.

Through 1/16/17
Magic Tree House
Where: Children’s Museum of Atlanta
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)
Cost: Free with admission ($14.95; free for babies under 1 year)
What: Learn about three periods of American history—the first Thanksgiving, the Civil War, and life on the 19th century prairie—in the 2,000-square-foot interactive exhibition, based on (and created by the minds behind) the Magic Tree House children’s book series. Among the hands-on experiences: climb inside a horse-drawn Civil War-era ambulance; crawl into a storm cellar and imagine what it was like to survive a tornado in the 1800s; or set the Thanksgiving table for the first feast.

Through 2/26/17
Snow Mountain
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: Various
Cost: $28; free for kids ages 2 and under
What: Make it a white Christmas at Stone Mountain’s annual winter wonderland, with tons of trucked-in snow for sledding, tubing, and snowman making. Work up an appetite for warm drinks and roasted marshmallows.

Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Where: Philips Arena
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 to $90
What: Acrobats and aerialists perform eye-popping stunts as a live orchestra plays holiday tunes in this touring circus-themed event.

Rhythmic Circus presents Red and Green
Where: Cobb Energy Centre
When: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $27 to $47
What: What do you get when you combine tap dancers, a seven-piece band, beatboxers, and beloved holiday characters like the Grinch or the kids from Peanuts? This show, brought to you by the percussive dance and musical troupe Rhythmic Circus, who also created the musical Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!

The Snow Queen
Where: Serenbe Playhouse
When: Various
Cost: $15 to $20
What: Bring your Frozen-phile (and your earmuffs) to this open-air staging of the Hans Christian Anderson tale that inspired the Disney film.

Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert
Where: Cathedral of St. Philip
When: 8 p.m., 2 p.m. (Saturday only)
Cost: $30 for adults; $15 for kids ages 3 to 12
What: This year’s annual concert, “Comfort and Joy,” will feature a mix of traditional and contemporary holiday music, and (if tradition holds) an ice cream social afterward.

Children’s Christmas Parade
Where: Midtown
When: 10:30 a.m.
Cost: Free
What: Watch as festive floats, helium-filled balloons, and marching bands make their way down Peachtree Street at the Southeast’s largest holiday parade. Arrive early to nab a prime viewing spot, or purchase bleacher seats for $20 a pop.

Reindog Parade
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($21.95 for adults; $15.95 for kids ages 3 to 12; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Today is the one day of the year that pups can set paw inside the Botanical Garden, so dress Buddy in his holiday finery and get ready to compete in the costume contest—or just pose for pics with Santa.

A Victorian Holiday
Where: Oakland Cemetery
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $16 for adults, $10 for students, $6 for members
What: The centerpiece of this annual holiday tradition is the guided tour of some of Oakland’s most beautiful mausoleums. But there will also be caroling, an artist’s market, hot cocoa, live music, a reading of The Night Before Christmas, and a visit from St. Nick.

Celebrations in Light
Where: Children’s Museum of Atlanta
When: Various
Cost: Free with admission ($14.95; free for babies under 1 year)
What: This month-long series at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta celebrates four different holiday traditions—Las Posadas (12/3-9), Hannukah (12/10-16), Christmas (12/17-24), and Kwanzaa (12/26-30)—with storytelling, special performances, crafts, and more.

Madeleine’s Christmas
Where: Horizon Theatre
When: Various
Cost: $15 for adults; $12 for kids under 12
What: Enjoy the holiday adventures of “twelve little girls in two straight lines” at this 1-hour play, for kids ages 3 and up.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Tower of Talent
Where: Cobb Energy Centre
When: 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $35 to $100
What: See talented metro area kids, ages 6 to 18, perform on stage in this show benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

12/4, 12/11
Teddy Bear Tea
When: 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Callanwolde
Cost: $25
What: Pinkies up! Sip tea and hot cocoa, nibble on dainty sandwiches and desserts, and snuggle your favorite bear at this annual event. Santa will make a special appearance, and admission to tour the decorated mansion is included in the price.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Where: Rialto Center for the Arts
When: 7 p.m. (Friday), 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. (Saturday)
Cost: $31 to $178
What: Since 1993, the Moscow Ballet has performed the Great Russian Nutcracker, set to the classic Tchaikovsky score, in cities across the U.S.

Peter Pan
Where: Cobb Energy Centre
When: 2 p.m. (Saturday only), 8 p.m.
Cost: $25 to $61.50
What: Watch Peter and the Darling children fly to Neverland as Atlanta Lyric Theatre stages the Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Christmas with the ASO
Where: Symphony Hall
When: 8 p.m., 2 p.m. (Saturday only)
Cost: $21.60 to $135
What: This family-friendly holiday staple will feature traditional holiday music performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the ASO Chorus, the Gwinnett Young Singers, and the Morehouse Glee Club.

Spivey Hall Children’s Choir and Tour Choir
Where: Spivey Hall
When: 7 p.m. (Friday), 3 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)
Cost: $25
What: See the combined choirs perform a program that includes an audience sing-along of traditional holiday carols, accompanied by the Hall’s pipe organ.

12/9, 12/16
Candlelight Nights

Where: Atlanta History Center
When: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 for adults ($10 for members), $8 for kids
What: Stroll through the candlelit gardens and grounds of the History Center, which will host a Christmas craft market, and special crafts and programs to show you what the holidays were like way back when. The Smith Family Farm takes you back to 1864, while the Swan Coach House plays home to a jazz-age Christmas, and the Wood Family Cabin hosts a pioneer Christmas circa 1821.

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker
Where: Fox Theatre
When: Various
Cost: $16.50 to $124.50
What: Atlanta Ballet dancers pirouette across the stage in this annual tradition, choreographed by longtime artistic director John McFall, who retired last year.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Where: Synchronicity Theatre
When: 7 p.m. (Friday); 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (Saturday); 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $21 for adults; $16 for kids
What: Kids ages 3 and up can enjoy this play based on the 1938 children’s book about a house painter who befriends a family of penguins. Bonus: You can wear your jammies and enjoy milk and cookies during Friday evening performances.

Chinese Lantern Festival
Where: Centennial Olympic Park
When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday through Thursday), 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)
Cost: $16 for adults and $12 for kids (in advance); $18 for adults and $14 for kids (at the door)
What: See the south portion of Centennial Park, including the Southern Company Amphitheatre, decked out with 25 colorful lanterns, an enormous pagoda, and a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon—all handmade by artisans in China. Each night will also feature acrobats, dancers, artisan demonstrations, and more.

Reindeer Day
Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center
When: Noon
Cost: Free with admission ($10 for adults; $7 for students ages 13 to 18; $6 for kids ages 3 to 12; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Pet real live reindeer, get your face painted, roast marshmallows, and hike the trails at this sixth annual holiday event.

A Very Merry Holiday Pops!
Where: Symphony Hall
When: 8 p.m., 2 p.m. (Saturday only)
Cost: $16.20 to $135
What: The full Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the All-City High School Chorus, and special guest vocalists will be on hand for this annual holiday concert. Audiences may even receive a visit from Santa and his reindeer.

Breakfast With Santa
Where: Georgia Aquarium
When: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Cost: $25 per person ($20 for members). Advance registration required.
What: Part of the aquarium’s annual Festival of the SEAson, this event includes a full breakfast, plus kids can participate in holiday crafts and spend quality time with St. Nick.

Disney Live! Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic
Where: Cobb Energy Centre
When: 2 p.m., 6 p.m. (Saturday only), 11 a.m. (Sunday only)
Cost: $20 to $80
What: This live touring show reenacts magical moments—like when Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother her rags into a beautiful gown—from Disney films.

Mighty Mo and More!
Where: Fox Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (tickets must be reserved in advance)
What: The theater organ at the Fox—dubbed “The Mighty Mo”—is the second largest in the world, and this annual free concert shows off its full wall-shuddering power. In addition to the music and holiday sing-along, there will also be a screening of The Santa Clause.

The Cirque de la Symphonie Holiday Spectacular
Where: Symphony Hall
When: 8 p.m., 2 p.m. (Wednesday only)
Cost: $16.20 to $135
What: What is it with circus-themed holiday concerts? The hot trend continues with this returning show, featuring acrobats, aerialists, contortionists, jugglers, and strongmen, who will each do their thing as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Miss America Betty Cantrell perform holiday favorites.

New Year’s Even Bubble Bash
Where: Children’s Museum of Atlanta
When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $8 to $23 (tickets must be purchased in advance)
What: Ring in 2017 with a dance party, bubble-wrap “fireworks,” and two countdowns at noon and 4 p.m.

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission  ($18 for adults; $17 for students; $16 for kids 3 to 16; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Celebrate the New Year with a live DJ, bubbles on the terrace, games, and a balloon drop at noon.