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. NEW THIS YEAR: At the suggestion of the Maumee Police Division, the route for the parade has been changed. 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 Broadway 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 30 @ 7pm
Location: Light parade will start at the Maumee Indoor Theater & proceed southbound on Conant St.
Holidays in the Manor House
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, & NEW this year, ice skating!!!
When: December 7th- 15th 10am-8pm
Location: Wildwood Metropark 5100 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615
Holidays on A Carriage Ride: Take a leisurely ride through scenic Wildwood Preserve aboard a carriage pulled by Molly and Sally, the mule team from Providence. This experience is being offered December 7th, 8th, 14th, & 15th to make your visit to Holidays in the Manor House even more memorable. Cost is $6 per rider, children under 5yrs. free, if they sit on an adult’s lap. All tickets will be sold online only. Ticket sales begin November 1, 2019 Click HERE to register
Santa Express & Lunch with Santa
Children will enjoy a 1 and 1/2 hour train ride, a visit with Santa, coloring activities, & cookies and juice.
When: Santa Express is on December 7th, 14th, & 21st. There will be two departures each day – 10:00AM and 12:30PM.
Location: 301 E Adrian St, Blissfield, MI 49228
Cost: $22 adults, $20 seniors, $17 children ages 2-12 and children under 2 are free
Lunch with Santa on the Santa Express
Lunch with Santa includes a 2 hour train ride, pizza, salad, bread sticks, dessert and soft drink. Children will also enjoy a visit with Santa and coloring activities.
When: December 8th, 15th, & 22nd at 2:00PM respectively.
Location: 301 E Adrian St, Blissfield, MI 49228
Cost: $34 adults, $22 children ages 2-12 and children under 2 are free.
https://www.murdermysterydinnertrain.com/ (BOOK YOUR TRIP HERE)
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 6th-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)
Holiday Lantern Tours at Sauder Village
They’ve added a new twist to the Holiday Lantern Tours at Sauder Village! Make reservations now for a “1920s Christmas”! Experience American Christmas traditions of the 1920s as you visit the Grime Home, make a Christmas novelty at our Tin Shop, learn about Christmas shopping in the Elmira Depot, act out The Night Before Christmas in the District 16 Schoolhouse, and sing 1920s Christmas songs in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.
Holiday shopping available at the Sauder Village Gift Shop, Lauber’s General Store, Herb Shop, Glass Shop and Pottery Shop. Make it an overnight stay at the Sauder Heritage Inn with the Holiday Lantern Tour Package.
When: December 6th & 7th (tours last 1 hour 45 min & are on the 1/2 hour 4-8:30PM)
Location: Sauder Village22611 State Route 2, Archbold, Ohio 43502
Cost: Adults $13.00/ Children (3 and up) $7.00 (By Reservation Only, limited spaces Make reservations 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 20th & Sunday, December 22nd @ 7:30pm
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 15, 2019 – 3:00 p.m.
Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
The beloved tunnel entrance will make its renovated debut during this event, voted best Zoo lights in the nation! The 2018 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! New this year is a 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) Also, don’t miss all the frozen fun in the Winter Village sponsored by Kroger. The fan-favorite Ice Slide returns with inner tubes built for two along with Bumper Cars on Ice in the Zoo’s historic Amphitheatre!
When: Nov. 22nd -Dec. 31st Sun – Thurs: 3-8pm Fri – Sat: 3 – 9 p.m. (holiday times will differ, check website)
Location: Toledo Zoo 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH 43609
Cost: Members, Mon-Thurs: Unlimited Visits & Weekend: One Visit
Non-members: Adults $20 and Children $17 (Members receive one free Weekend visit)
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 6th @ 8pm, December 7th @ 8pm, & December 8th @ 2:30pm
Location: The Valentine Theatre 410 Adams St
Cost: $29 + handling (Group pricing available)
Website for tickets: http://www.valentinetheatre.com/events.html
The Polar Express Storytime
All aboard! Come in your PJs and join other kiddos for a magical evening as they host their annual Storytime of the beloved classic The Polar Express. Free hot chocolate and cookie…and activities to follow!!
When: Friday December 6th, 2018 7:00 PM
Location: Barnes & Noble Fallen Timbers 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537