5 holiday experiences for the family


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The Christmas season is so much fun! There are parades, visits with Santa, festivals, Christmas lights and parties to enjoy with family and friends. If you’re looking for something special to do this year, here are five holiday experiences that are lots of fun for the entire family.

Christmas Town USA



Where: McAdenville, NC

When: Nightly December 1-26. Hours are Monday through Friday 5:30-9:30 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday 5:30-11 p.m.

What: Drive or walk through McAdenville, otherwise known as Christmas Town USA, to view more than 500,000 spectacular Christmas lights. The route through Christmas Town is approximately 1.3 miles long. The official lighting of the town will take place on December 1. The ceremony will start at 5 p.m. and the switch will be pulled at 6 p.m. to light the town for the season. The town’s Christmas lighting tradition is in its 62nd year.

Cost: Free

For more information, visit www.mcadenville-christmastown.com.

Holiday on Ice

Where: NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, Charlotte, NC

When: Opens November 17, Wednesdays through Sundays. Starting December 17, the rink will be open 7 days per week. Hours vary.

What: Holiday on Ice is Charlotte’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Rent skates or bring your own. Tickets are good for an entire day so that you can leave and return as needed within operating hours.

Cost: Bring your own skates for $10 or admission plus skate rental is $14 per day. Season passes can be purchased for $50, or $40 if you bring your own skates.

For a schedule and ticket information, visit holidayonicecharlotte.com.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Where: N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC

When: Select dates November 18 through December 22

What: The Polar Express Train Ride is a live theater performance and train ride experience the whole family will enjoy. During the train ride, passengers will enjoy hot chocolate, desserts, songs, dance and the reading of The Polar Express. Once the train arrives at the North Pole, passengers will watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Santa will then board the train and give each passenger a silver sleigh bell before exiting the train at Candy Cane Lane. The journey takes place on the grounds of the N.C. Transportation Museum.

Cost: Standard Coach tickets are $30 for children (2-12) and $36 for adults.

For more info or to purchase tickets, visit nctrans.org.

Tanglewood Festival of Lights

Where: Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, NC

When: November 17 through January 1 from 6-11 p.m.

What: Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights is one of the largest light shows in the Southeast with over a million individual lights. Halfway through the lights show route is the Holiday Gift Village with holiday crafts and gifts made by local artisans. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be available for pictures.

Cost: $15 per car

For more information, visit www.forsyth.cc/Parks/Tanglewood/fol.

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge

Where: Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC

When: November 25 through January 1

What: The Great Wolf Lodge resort will transform into a winter wonderland for the holiday season. In addition to an amazing indoor waterpark, guests will enjoy visits with Santa each weekend, a life-size Gingerbread House, Snowland story time, holiday caroling and indoor snow flurries in the resort lobby.

Cost: Water park passes and Snowland activities are included with a resort stay. Rates vary per night.

For more information, visit www.greatwolf.com.

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