Attractions: What to Do This Weekend / 18 Reasons to Get Out of the House Friday–Sunday
This weekend is packed to the max with yuletide festivities and town square lighting festivals around Dallas-Fort Worth. Take a look through our favorites for families, including holiday musicals, ice rink openings and Winter Olympics fun with Team USA, plus the longest toy train set ever.
Dallas Zoo Lights
Friday–Sunday, Nov. 17–19, 5–9pm
The Dallas Zoo begins a new holiday lights tradition in a big way, covering 25 acres of ZooNorth with light-wrapped trees and 3-D light sculptures. Come on weekends and select weeknights through Jan 2. (except Christmas Eve and Day) for kids’ activities and holiday performances. Free with regular admission.
Two Holiday Shows Debut at Dallas Children’s Theater
Friday–Sunday, Nov. 17–19, multiple showtimes
Dallas Children’s Theater doubles the holiday cheer with two new offerings. Watch as Charlie Brown and friends rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, and Frosty (in puppet form) learns to live in the moment.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dallas
Friday–Sunday, Nov. 17–19, multiple showtimes
Treat your musical-loving kids to a trip downtown and seek sanctuary inside the historic Majestic Theatre for this live-action adaptation of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Performed this weekend only by the actors of Lyric Stage.
Glass-Blown Ornament Making, Grapevine
Friday, Nov. 17, 2–6pm
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2–6pm
Make a holiday keepsake you’ll want to display every year: a glass-blown Christmas ornament crafted by Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery. Kids safely assist the pros by applying their choice of color to hot molten glass. (Saturday is open to all ages and is first come, first served. Friday is more hands-on and open to age 14 and up, but reservations are required.)
Panther Island Ice Rink, Fort Worth
Friday–Sunday, Nov. 17–19, times vary
Start off your holiday season by skating on real ice at Panther Island Ice, Fort Worth’s only outdoor ice skating rink, located at the Coyote Drive-In complex. Admission includes access to the movie theater’s concession stand; free for spectators.
A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol, Hurst
Friday, Nov. 17, 5pm
Saturday, November 18, 10am and noon
Charles Dickens’ enduring holiday tale gets a major update in Artisan Center Theater’s latest children’s musical. The Big Bad Wolf (as Scrooge) gets a visit from his old business partner Jacob Midas and warns of coming hauntings by the Fairy Godmother, Old King Cole and the Queen of Hearts.
PAW Patrol Live! Grand Prairie
Friday, Nov. 17, 6pm
Saturday–Sunday, Nov. 18–19, 10am, 2 and 6pm
Ryder summons his team of rescue dogs, including the newest pup, Everest, in PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue, a live version of the animated preschool series. Watch the team save the mayor in this new musical at Verizon Theatre. VIP packages include a post-show photo op.
Skate the Square, Frisco
Saturday–Sunday, Nov. 18–19, noon–10pm
Frisco Square kicks off its holiday festivities on Saturday with a real outdoor ice skating rink. Rent skates (sizes from child 8 to adult 13), and don’t miss the grand opening performance at 11:30am on Saturday featuring U.S. champion ice skaters Kristen Nardozzi and Nick Traxler.
The Trains at NorthPark, Dallas
Saturday, Nov. 18, 10am–9pm
Sunday, Nov. 19, 11am–7pm
This 30th annual exhibit benefiting Ronald McDonald House of Dallas harkens back to the glory days of toy trains. Beginning this Saturday, get an up-close look at more than 750 railcars chugging along 1,600 feet of track past mini landmarks you’ll recognize from around town.
Old Town Holiday Stroll, Lewisville
Saturday, Nov. 18, 8am–9pm
Lewisville’s all-day Christmas festivities begin with Pancakes with Santa and continue with a Christmas parade and winter carnival attractions. Stick around after dark for even more family fun: a performance by the Lightwire Theater and a movie screening of The Polar Express.
Dinosaur George Traveling Museum, Coppell
Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 and 11am
The traveling exhibition, named for creator George Blasing from the History Channel’s Jurassic Fight Club, makes a one-day stop at Coppell Nature Park’s Biodiversity Education Center. For only $5, sign up online for one of two morning programs with rare dinosaur replicas, books and kid-friendly videos.
Candy Canes for Kids, Fairview
Saturday, Nov. 18, 10am–6pm
Help build Christmas trees made entirely of peppermint sticks and bring your toy donations to Fairview Town Center. This annual holiday fest has everything from Santa’s arrival and Elsa meet and greets to pony rides and fireworks.
Olympic Winter Games, Dallas
Saturday, Nov. 18, 11am–5pm
Meet Team USA Winter Olympics athletes at Klyde Warren Park to experience a mini version of their sports. Try the Bobsled Boomerang and Curling Challenge, send good luck messages to the athletes via the social media truck, and snag some treats from the Hershey’s S’moresmobile.
Light the Night, Allen
Saturday, Nov. 18, 4:30–6:30pm
Santa flips the light switch on Watters Creek’s 30-foot-tall Christmas tree and a synchronized light show that plays nightly through New Year’s Day. Snag cookies from Mrs. Claus, hop on free carriage rides or take a stroll around the shopping center for fun with costumed ballet dancers, children’s crafts and a fireworks display.
Home for the Holidays, Southlake
Saturday, Nov. 18, 4:30–8:30pm
The tidings continue at Southlake Town Square. Take your little thrill-seekers over to the four-lane snow hill, join forces to build a snowman, and mail your Christmas wish lists and hop onto Santa’s sleigh at Santa’s Village.
Our Village Glows, Highland Village
Saturday, Nov. 18, 5pm
The Christmas season in Highland Village unofficially begins with the 60-foot-tall tree lighting at the city’s premier outdoor shopping center, the Shops at Highland Village. Welcome Santa to the holiday festival and spend the evening decorating cookies, making ornaments and riding in horse-drawn carriages.
Lights at Legacy Tree Lighting, Plano
Sunday, Nov. 19, 2–7pm
For The Shops at Legacy’s day of holiday fun, stop first into Angelika Film Center for a screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and starting at 4pm, enjoy more festivities, including a magic show with another famous curmudgeon, Mr. Scrooge.
XTO Energy Parade of Lights, Fort Worth
Sunday, Nov. 19, 6pm
Stake out a spot along the sidewalk or reserve street seats for the best view of 100-plus illuminated floats through downtown. Cowboy Santas will be collecting unwrapped gifts for their toy donation drive before the parade starts.