Sometimes December feels more like the season to be busy, with the frantic pace of end-of-year work assignments, office parties, shopping, cooking, cleaning for house guests…well, you know the drill. Rather than simply reacting to every demand, consider taking a more proactive stance: What do I want my month to look like? What memories do I want to create? And then plan accordingly. Try subbing a few of these five memorable activities for other less-jolly obligations; several are in Parker, conveniently close to Stepping Stone.™
Here’s to a happy holiday season…on your terms.
Denver Zoo Lights-Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 2017, 5:30pm-9pm
Imagine all 70 acres of the Denver Zoo, bright with illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, and hide in bushes. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the holiday carolers, Santa meet-and-greets, and much more at this beloved Denver tradition. Zoo Lights is a memorable way to spend time with family, get a little exercise, and, of course, support the animals. Tip: Go on a “Value Night” for smaller crowds and reduced entry fee. Tickets range from $10-17. Learn more.
Holiday Carriage Rides at O’Brien Park and Douglas County Library-12/3, 12/10, and 12/17 from 4:30-8:30pm
This really is a magical holiday experience, riding in a horse-drawn carriage or wagon through historic Downtown Parker, now all gussied up for the holidays. Start at either of two ride stations, O’Brien Park or Douglas County Library in Parker. Both offer round-trip, nonstop rides through downtown before returning to the original destination. Rides are approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Free, but you’ll need to reserve your tickets on ride day beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets are limited. Reserve here.
9 News Parade of Lights-Dec. 2 at 8pm & Dec. 3 at 6pm
This 42-year-old tradition remains the perfect way to kick off Denver’s holiday season. On a two-mile route in downtown Denver, this parade features marching bands, ornate floats, and, of course, special appearances by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa. Dress warmly, take a thermos of hot cocoa, and stake out your spot along the route, or grab tickets ASAP for the limited grandstand seating in front of the beautifully lit City and County Building. Learn more.
Christmas Carriage Parade-Dec. 10, noon
Many people move to Parker for its small-town vibe and classic sense of community. Here’s just another example. The Parker Christmas Carriage Parade celebrates the holidays with an all-equestrian parade featuring dozens of horse-drawn carriages, wagons, surreys, and stagecoaches from across Colorado, all dressed up for the occasion. Boasting a different theme each year, the parade continues to grow in size and is a beloved community event. After the parade, event-goers can enjoy a holiday farmer’s market, petting zoo, pony rides, and ice sculpting in O’Brien Park. From 1-3pm, Santa and Mrs. Claus will sit for pictures with your kiddos at the new Douglas County Library. Learn more.
Denver Performing Arts Holiday Events-through December
Make attending at least one festive performance a holiday tradition in your family. The DCPA is offering something for everyone this month, from classics to new favorites in the making. Consider a musical performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The soaring majesty of Handel’s Messiah. David Sedaris’s hilariously snarky Santaland Diaries about his stint as a Macy’s elf. Or The Nutcracker, dazzlingly performed by the Colorado Ballet. Ticket prices vary. Learn more.