There’s nothing like the thrill of a live performance, or a special outing shared with family and friends. The excitement before a show or event is electric! The holidays are the perfect time to dress up in your fanciest duds to go to the theater, pull on boots or sneakers to walk through a winter wonderland, or pile in the car to check out a dazzling light show. However you celebrate the season, attending a special event will make it even more memorable!
Shamrock Farms wishes you and your family a dairy merry Christmas! Celebrate this holiday season with the moo-vers and shakers—namely the 10,000 cows that produce the milk for your shakes—at the “Joy to the Herd” event. The Welcome Center Barn will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with holiday crafts, face painting and more. Meet the herd on a guided tram tour through the farm. Then visit with Santa and Roxie the spokescow. The tram tour visits the milking barn, the feed zone, the cow lounge and the interactive play area. Learn how fresh milk gets from the farm to your table! “Joy to the Herd” happens Dec. 2 and 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations and prepayment are required. To join the herd for the holidays, visit www.shamrockfarms.net/events/joy-to-the-herd/
Take an enchanted Holiday Train Ride into a snowy Winter Wonderland this season! The Annual Winter Wonderland Express returns to Enchanted Island in December to transport you and your family to the snow filled amusement park. Where else in the Valley can you enjoy 25 tons of snow? Ride a sled, explore holiday-themed bounce structures, take family photos at the giant red inflatable chair and more. You can enjoy free candy canes and a cup of hot cocoa at the Santa area, and the Christmas decorations are sure to put you in a happy holiday mood. Keep your eyes peeled for Elves on the Shelves! If you locate all 10 elves in the amusement park, you will be entered to win an annual family pass to the park. The Winter Wonderland Express runs Dec. 9–10 and 16–17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find pricing and more details at www.enchantedisland.com/index.php/events/annual-winter-wonderland-express
A favorite Valley holiday tradition returns! ZooLights dazzles with almost 4 million lights, wildlife lanterns, a 200-foot-long light tunnel and more. See the tallest floating tree in North America and enjoy the synchronized light show with original music. Visit the s’mores station, the interactive Glow Garden, and, of course, Santa! A photo with Santa will top off your holiday excursion. ZooLights happens Nov. 22 through Jan. 14, 2024. Sensory friendly ZooLights happens on Dec. 4. For more information, visit www.phoenixzoo.org/events/zoolights/
Lights at the Farm boasts the state’s biggest and best walkthrough Christmas light show. Stroll through this dazzling, interactive display featuring over 5 million lights at Vertuccio Farms this holiday season. Then enjoy the many other holiday offerings and fun activities. There will be games, food, and more, and on weekends you can shop at the Candy Cane Lane Holiday Boutique. Lights at the Farm will brighten your night Dec. 1–30 (closed Dec. 4–5, 11–12 & 24–25). Things get glowing at 5:30 p.m. each night. Santa will be on hand from 6 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 15–23. So write up your wish list and head to the farm! For tickets or for more information, visit www.vertucciofarms.com/events/lights-at-the-farm/.
Buddy always felt that he was different than the other elves in Santa’s workshop. When he discovers that he is actually a human, Buddy leaves the North Pole and heads to New York on an amazing holiday adventure! Fountain Hills Youth Theater presents “Elf Jr: The Musical” on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from Dec. 8 through Dec. 17. This jolly musical is for audiences of all ages. It’s a fun show that is sure to get you in the Christmas mood! For tickets or for more information, visit https://fhtaz.org/events/elf-jr/
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is home to Arizona’s largest assortment of exotic animals. The zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the aquarium is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lions, tigers and bears are just a few of the animals on hand—there are monkeys, cheetahs, giraffes, penguins, gazelle and so much more! Enjoy the rides, the animal feeding stations and the petting zoo, too! For more information, visit www.wildlifeworld.com.
Bearizona Wildlife Park is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with the last car admitted at 4 p.m. Located in the cool Ponderosa Pine forest of Williams, the three-mile drive-through park offers views of animals in their natural habitats. More North American animals are exhibited in Fort Bearizona, a beautiful 20-acre walk-thru area. See bears, bison, bighorn sheep, wolves and more! For more information, visit www.bearizona.com.
West Valley Wonderland happens at State Farm Stadium on Dec. 9 and 10. This festive event has live performances, rides, games, food and beverages, and vendors with unique crafts and wares for those still working on their holiday gift list. This celebration of the season happens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. For more information and for tickets, visit www.statefarmstadium.com/events/detail/west-valley-wonderland
From the Nutcracker and the Snow Queen in December, to “Dog Man: The Musical” or the Mariachi and Folklórico Festival in March, the Herberger Theater Center has something for everyone! For information about upcoming shows, visit www.herbergertheater.org.