It’s funny, I couldn’t tell you what I wore the Christmas of 1990 (I’m sure it was a gorgeous dressed that matched my siblings and we all looked adorable, mom), or what gifts I opened from under the tree, or even if we had snow that year. What I do remember is sipping hot chocolate as we walked through the zoo at night (that in itself is pretty cool to kids) in wonderment at the Lights before Christmas with close family friends, rushing ahead of my parents in awe of the Christmas magic at Children’s Wonderland, touring the over the top decorations at Holidays in the Manor House with my grandparents, seeing the classic, A Christmas Carol, & watching the joy on my father’s face as he recited lines as we watched the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s the thing about Christmas; it really isn’t about the perfect gift it’s about the time spent with loved ones. So this Christmas let’s focus less on the quantity of goods under the tree and more on the quality of time spent making childhood memories that our children will cherish for a lifetime.
Here are 10 Christmas Experiences for Kids in/near Toledo that will help build up that memory bank!
Maumee Holiday Light Parade
The Holiday Light Parade is an annual event that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Holiday Light Parade: Lighted floats and walking groups will line up along the six-block stretch of West William Street. The parade will then step off from the Maumee Indoor Theater and proceed southbound down Conant Street toward the river before turning right onto West Wayne Street to disperse.
The Streets will be alive with crowds of kids both young and old waiting to see the 60+ lighted floats and the man of the night SANTA!
When: November 28 @ 7pm
Location: Light parade will start at the Maumee Indoor Theater & proceed southbound on Conant St.
Holidays in the Manor House (FREE but Registration REQUIRED)
Ring in the holidays at one of Northwest Ohio’s most festive celebrations, Holidays in the Manor House! For over 40 years, community volunteers have transformed over 30 areas of the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve into a holiday wonderland. Tour the Manor House and see why over 25,000 people make Holidays in the Manor House an annual tradition. They always incorporate the kiddos into the tour by adding a small scavenger hunt for items, dress up & photo opportunities, s’mores outside, etc.!
When: December 4th- 12th 10am-8pm
Location: Wildwood Metropark 5100 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615
Cost: FREE but registration is required, click on link below to register your time slot
Disney on Ice
And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Children’s Wonderland!! Children’s Wonderland began as a Northwest Ohio holiday tradition over 50 years ago. For decades, families from all over the Northwest Ohio have been coming to find the holiday spirit at Children’s Wonderland. As always, dozens of classic exhibits will be on display, train rides will be available, and there will be plenty of opportunities to take pictures with Santa.
When: December 10th-Dec. 23rd 11am-8pm & Dec. 24th 11am-2pm
Location: 7060 W Sylvania Ave, Sylvania, OH 43560 (Tam-o-shanter)
Cost: Kids 2+ $6, Adults 18+ $8, & Seniors 65+ $6 (plus $ for train and crafts, if interested)
Holidays On Main Street
Enjoy a 1920s Christmas at Sauder Village. We will be “decking the halls” of our Main Street with holiday lights, 1920s window décor, and a 20 foot Christmas Tree!
Guests can take a stroll down Main Street to hear about holiday activities at the hardware store, bank, clothing store, jewelry store, and other shops. There will be free train and trolley rides (weather permitting), and carolers will share festive Christmas music as Santa arrives on a vintage fire truck. Enjoy watching a short holiday film, visiting animals in the livery, and experiencing a 1920s Christmas at the Grime Home and the District 16 School. The Soda Fountain will be open with hot cider and cocoa, doughnuts, and other tasty treats for sale.
When: November 27th-December 4th are SOLD OUT … December 11th (6pm-9pm) is still available
Location: Sauder Village22611 State Route 2, Archbold, Ohio 43502
Cost: Adults $12.00/ Children (3 and up) $8.00/ Seniors $8.00 (By Reservation Only, limited spaces Make reservations EARLY online or please call for availability 800-590-9755). Click HERE to register
It’s A Wonderful Life: Silver Screen Classic Film ($5 a person)
Enjoy Toledo’s New Old Fashioned Night Out! Cold Tall Drafts, Full Bar & Popcorn available! It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, and Henry Travers. (Tickets are general admission but reservations are strongly encouraged for this film).
When: Friday, December 17th 7:30pm & Sunday, December 19th @ 2pm
Location: 410 Adams St, Toledo, OH 43604
Cost: $5 per person for admission
Order tickets here: http://www.valentinetheatre.com/events.html
Christmas Carol Sing at Rosary Cathedral
If you still haven’t gotten in the Christmas spirit this afternoon will get you there! The beauty of the Toledo’s Diocese gorgeous Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral adds a layer to the experience like none other as you listen to (and participate) the glorious voices of the Cathedral Choir, Paul Monachino, conductor and the talented St. Aloysius Parish Handbell Choir, Neil Kraft, director. This is a great event for families with older kiddos (5 & up)
Location: Rosary Cathedral 2535 Collingwood Blvd. Toledo, OH 43610
When: Sunday, December 19, 2021 – 3:00 p.m.
Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
Voted best Zoo lights in the nation! The 2021 edition of the area’s brightest holiday tradition features over one million lights and more than 200 illuminated animal images! Stop by Santa’s workshop in the Arctic Encounter! 3-D holiday scene set to music and projected onto the side of the Carnivore Café. Take a moment to enjoy this new take on a holiday short story with your whole family! See the big man in his element, whisper your holiday wishes and pose for a fun family photo. (Paid photo opportunity) The fan-favorite Ice Slide returns with inner tubes built for two along with Bumper Cars on Ice!
When: Nov. 19th -Dec. 31st Daily: 3-8pm (time varies with the holidays, double check website if visiting on a holiday)
Location: Toledo Zoo 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609
Cost: Members, Unlimited Visits daily (MUST REGISTER!)
Non-members: Adults $23 and Children & Seniors $20
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, revised by David Jex and Debra Ross Calabrese & Directed by Amy Spaulding-Heuring is a 30-year Toledo Rep tradition! This timeless tale of redemption follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he is transformed by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future from a miserly old curmudgeon into a man who embodies the true meaning of Christmas. With lavish costumes, spectacular sets and a musical score rich with carols of the era, this production is one you will not want to miss!
When: December 2nd-12th Thursday, Friday, & Saturday @ 8pm, Sunday performances @ 2:30pm
Location: At Toledo Rep Theatre 16th Tenth St. Toledo, OH 43604
Cost: $19.75-$29 + handling (Group pricing available)
Website for tickets: https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/toledorep/1471
2021 North Pole Express
All aboard! The short ride on a quarter-scale train runs through a Christmas wonderland of outdoor displays. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there on various nights. After taking a ride through the winter wonderland, families can visit the NWORRP gift shop and museum. No indoor restrooms (portables only), train is open-air and unheated, so dress accordingly and bring a small blanket to cuddle up with, if desired.
When: November 26th-January 2nd 2022 Fridays, Saturdays, 5:30-9pm and Sundays 5:30-8pm Open Christmas Day
Location: Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation Inc. 12505 County Road 99, Findlay, Ohio 45840
Cost: $4 for Adults and $3 for Children