Away for the Holidays with Museum Adventures, Zoo Nights, and Magical Moments to Share.


Families may create magical moments amid miles of twinkling lights.

Thinking of going away for the holidays? Time is running out. I know from experience when kids are involved getting away during the holiday season takes extra planning and often means finding fun in small doses. Less may actually be more during this often hectic season. For weeks we have been adding unique ideas and clever options to our newest vacation activity folder aptly named “Away for the Holidays”.

The new folder offers hundreds of suggestions for holiday experiences and mini adventures including awesome museums, miles of holiday lights, and plenty of yuletide traditions ideal for families. The menu of ideas in the folder provides a complement to our popular “Santa Trains & Holiday Lights” and the Snow Places folders found on our homepage and featured throughout the site.

The articles highlight unique, as well as traditional ways to share good times and create memories with children.  The collection of festive holiday vacation activities includes the best places to find miles twinkling lights, and great shopping spots but also King Tut and Buddy the Elf in Seattle, awesome dinosaurs in Toronto and Atlanta, SCUBA Santa in Grapevine, Texas, snow tubing in North Carolina and Southern West Virginia, the magic of Dollywood and Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, LEGO Land snowy days, zoo nights in Orange County, oodles of lively events in Washington DC, and holiday traditions along Boston’s Freedom Trail. The complete list of holiday ideas may be viewed by selecting the Away for the Holidays folder located on the homepage.

I wish you happy holidays!

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Editor for

Santa Trains & Holiday Lights – Celebrating the Season

This week I am making my plans to enjoy a holiday rail adventure from Grapevine to Fort Worth, and share holiday lights in as many places as I can schedule on the calendar. For our family the holiday season is about sharing time together, enjoying old family recipes, and reviving traditions which may have been couched because of geographic separations.

Santa awaits passengers for this year’s New Hope North Pole Express.

Across the country the possibilities are endless to share short breaks with sleigh rides, twinkling lights, Santa trains, and even the magical Polar Express. Walk through a fantasy land of twinkling lights; meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus; sip hot chocolate with Christmas elves; sing carols together; ride a special “Yule Train”. From miles of lights along the Boardwalk at Virginia Beach to the magic of Winterfest in Pigeon Forge celebrating is in the air. This year’s lists of reveal a plethora of ways to share the magic with kids including unique lists for Florida and Britain.

My favorites include Winterfest in Pigeon Forge because it offers not just dancing bears, trolley rides, and twinkling snowflakes but great family-style entertainment in the area. For pure fun, I also like the efforts of LEGOLAND in Carlsbad where from mid November to January the “Holly Jolly Holidays” include thousands of twinkling lights, jolly holiday entertainment, nightly fireworks, and  “Let it Snow’ the musical.

In New Hampshire the Hobo Railway will be running a Ho-Ho-Hobo Express which includes the jolly elf himself, and on select dates the magical Polar Express. The family adventure begins with a wonderful evening train ride accompanied by storytelling elves, and of course, Santa himself. The New Hope & Ivy and Railroad in Bucks County, PA will be running the annual North Pole Express- a train themed to match the Polar Express story. Passengers ride the rails with Santa and Mrs. Claus; sip hot cocoa and enjoy cookies; listen to local musicians play & sing Christmas carols.

You will find many more Christmas train excursions on file as well as holiday adventures showcased in our new Away for the Holidays folder.