The Complete 2018 Holiday Happenings Guide

1Winter Wonderland, Southwick’s Zoo, Mendon

Nov 16th – Jan 6th, Weekends Only
Fri: 4-8 PM, Sat-Sun: 12-8 PM
Also open Dec 26-27

Train ride though the zoo to Santa’s house to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Limited exhibits open for the opportunity to see a few of the zoo’s animals. $20-$25 (Ages 2 and under free). Details here

2Festival of Lights: La Salette Shrine, 947 Park St, Attleboro

Daily Nov 22 through Jan 6
Illuminated 5-9 PM Daily

Walk through the amazing light display that is famous around New England. Free admission and parking, but donations are welcome. S’more supplies for sale, hot cocoa, hay rides and a mini-carnival with carousel for a fee. Can be extremely crowded at peak times; people have been stuck on the approaching road for an hour just to park. [CK recommendation: go on a weeknight and/or arrive early before the lights go on and make s’mores while waiting.] Details here

3Bass Pro Santa’s Wonderland:  Patriot Place, Foxboro

Nov 10 – Dec 2: M-F 5p-8p, Sat 10-8, Sun 12-5
Day Before Thanksgiving (Nov 21):
10-8
Thanksgiving Day (Nov 22): 
10-5
Black Friday (Nov 23): 
10-8
Dec 2 – Dec 23: 
M-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-5
Dec 24: 
10-5

Inside Bass Pro is a decorated “Santa’s Wonderland” with a spread of decorations for children to explore. There are also crafts, games, and a free picture with Santa. Can be very crowded, so go on weekdays or as early as possible, or get a ticket for a return time. All activities free and photo are free. Details here

Ongoing through winter. Open for the 2018 season.
M-W: 4 -9 PM, Th: 4-5:45 PM, Fri: 5 – 10 PM
Sat & School Holidays: 11 AM – 10 PM, Sun: 11 AM – 9 PM
Schedule may vary due to weather, holidays, or events.

Located at the base of the large staircase near Showcase Cinema. Refrigerated outdoor ice rink with on-site rentals, concessions, and bathrooms. $10 adult, $6 child/senior. Skate rentals $5. Details here

5Winterfest: Diamond Hill Park, Cumberland, RI

Dec 1-23 Weekends only
Sat-Sun: 5-8 PM

“City” of lights and Christmas Village with decorated houses to walk through as well as pictures with characters (Santa, Frosty, Grinch, Minions, and more) and a trackless train ride. $5/person admission. 2018 Theme is “The Great Christmas Scavenger Hunt”, with a different theme of meet/greet characters each week.
Dec 1-2: Disney Characters
Dec 8-9: The Incredibles
Dec 15-16: The Minions and Paw Patrol
Dec 22-23: Christmas Surprise Weekend
Details here

6Winter Reimagined: Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, Boylston

Nov 23 through Dec 30 (Closed Mondays and Dec 25)
Tu-Th: 4-9 PM, Fri-Sun: 4-10 PM

Marvelous indoor and outdoor holiday light decorations. Nature displays, decorated trees, and more. Pre-purchased, timed tickets are required: $16-$18 adult, $6-8 ages 6-18, age 5 and under free. Details here

7Enchanted Village: Jordan’s Furniture in Avon

Nov 17 through Jan 1 
Mon-Thurs: 11-8, Fri: 11-9, Sat: 10-9, Sun: 11-5
Black Friday: 10-9
Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve: 11-4
New Year’s Day: 12-5
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

Free admission for indoor holiday display with intricate figurines and decorations. Pictures with Santa at select hours daily through Christmas Eve. Additional activities at select hours:

  • LITE Laser show, $6 all ages.
  • Enchanted Ice indoor skating park, $6 includes rental
  • Polar Express 4D Experience ride, $7 (riders must be 40+ inches)

Details here

8Festival of Lights: Edaville, Carver

Nov 16 – Jan 1 (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Mon-Thurs: 4-8 (to 9 in Dec)
Fri-Sat: 2-9 (to 9:30 in Dec)
Sun: 2-8 (to 9 in Dec)

Over 17 million lights illuminate the park, and the long train ride passes through vast fields of lights. Thomas Land & Edaville Proper with 90 rides/attractions are included in the $35-$37 admission.  Or purchase along with special “Where’s Santa” train ride for $40+/rider. Details here

9Fatima Shrine: 101 Summer St. (Rt 126) Holliston

Daily in December, check back for 2018 dates: 5-9 PM

A 50+ year tradition by the Xaverian missionaries. Several acres of the property are lit and decorated for visitors to explore. Hot chocolate and pastries for sale in Xavier Hall. Free parking and admission. Details here

10Festival of Trees: Elm Bank, Wellesley

Nov 23 to Dec 9
Fri-Sun: 10a-8p (10a-6p on Dec 9)
Santa visits from 1-4
Horse-Drawn Carriage rides from 1-5 on Sat/Sun

Wed-Th: 4-8p (No Santa or wagon rides)

Beautifully decorated trees and Snow Village with trains winding throughout. Santa visits and horse-drawn wagon rides on certain dates/times (additional charge). Admission $15/adult (kids 12 and under free). Details here

11Festival of Lights: KOA, Middleboro

Dec 8-9 and 15-16
4-9 PM

“For $5 a car load, drive through acres decorated with over 200,000 lights then stop at Christmas Village where you can purchase cocoa and cookies for a dollar each or buy hand made authentic Middleborough ornaments. Have a professional picture taken with Santa or the Grinch for $5 while strolling through the village to seasonal music. Visit model trains presented by the Oak Point model Train Club or stop by the alpacas.” Details here

12Zoo Lights: Stone Zoo, Stoneham

Nov 23 through Dec 31
Daily 5-9 PM
Closed Christmas Day

The zoo is lit up with holiday lights and festive decorations. Visit with Santa (photo for an additional fee). $12/adult, $10/child admission, with online discounts for weeknights and Sundays. Under 2 free. Rides are open to all for additional cost. Details here

13Christmas by Candlelight: Old Sturbridge Village

Nov 30 through Dec 23, Weekends Only
Fri-Sun: 3 PM – 8 PM

History is recreated with a special Christmastime at Old Sturbridge Village. North Pole Village beautifully decorated, sleigh rides, gingerbread house contest, strolling Victorian carolers, roasting chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, period demonstrations and more. $28/adult, $14 ages 4-17, children 3 and under free. Details here

14Bright Nights: Forest Park, Springfield

Nov 21 – Jan 1 
5 PM – 9 PM (select nights until 11 PM)
Closed Nov 26-27

3-mile drive-through amazing light display with additional attractions. $18-$21 per car. $3-off coupon on website. Details here

15Pawtucket Winter Wonderland: Slater Park, Pawtucket, RI

Dec 1-2 and 8-9
4 – 8 PM

The park is filled with hundreds of decorated trees and many displays including 18-foot Frosty the Snowman, Santa and Mrs. Claus, hay rides, face painting, crafts, hot chocolate, and hot dogs. Live entertainment, miniature train, and historic Looff Carousel. Free admission with fees for some activities. Details here

16Map of Light Displays: The Best Neighborhoods Near You

We here at Community Kangaroo have gathered a treasure trove of recommendations for jaw-dropping light displays in just about every town west and southwest of Boston. We put them all on one big map! See the map

17 Our List of Santa Pictures: Local Malls, Pancake Breakfasts, etc

We’ve posted a solid handful of the best ongoing Santa stops, plus dozens of one-time events like pancake breakfasts, holiday strolls, and other places to get that perfect picture! See what we have so far

18Hanukkah Celebrations: See the Events Near You

Local menorah lightings and other Hanukkah celebrations from our calendar are gathered together in one place! See which local Hanukkah events are coming up

No need to trek into Boston for the Nutcracker or up to North Conway for a holiday train ride (although we’ve mentioned those, too). We found plenty of smaller local shows and outings, but you’ll want to plan ahead, as tickets go fast! Details here

20Keep Track of What’s Coming Up Near You!

Community Kangaroo is a team effort by 18 parents scattered across the suburbs between Boston and Worcester. Each of us writes a weekly newsletter of the best upcoming events, which lands in your inbox just in time to plan each weekend! Sign up to hear from the editor who about things worth driving to from your town:

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