Winter Break may almost be over for your kiddos and we don’t want your family to miss out on these special, limited-time events! From last-minute light displays to Minecraft and LEGO conventions, these special attractions are sure to keep things interesting before school starts back up again.
Festival of Lights at The Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside
November 23 – January 6: Your family will be swept away by more than 3.6 million+ brilliant lights transforming Riverside’s historic hotel into magic. In addition to the external light display, throughout the season The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa features a decorated Christmas tree, appearances by Santa Claus and Dickensian Carolers singing cheerful holiday tunes, authentic horse-drawn carriages, live reindeer, and hundreds of characters dressed in 17th Century costumes to entertain crowds and evoke the spirit of the season.
Winter Fest OC in Costa Mesa
December 20 – January 6: Winter Fest is coming to town, blowing tons of family fun into the OC Fair & Event Center. Winter Fest is a giant wonderland of immersive wintry fun featuring a full outdoor ice rink, 130-foot, six-lane Snowflake Summit ice slide, a play park featuring real snow blown in daily for snow angels and snowman building, photos on the world’s largest rocking horse, strolling carolers and personal visits in the cabin of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. A Festival of Lights walk-through holiday light show features more than two million sparkling lights. Daily, check the web site for times. $17-30.
Magical Lantern Art Festival at LA County Arboretum
October 26 – January 6: A fantasy of light transforms the Arboretum into an evening wonderland. Magnificent lantern art depicting exotic animals, shimmering flowers, whimsical pandas, soaring dragons and other themes create the mesmerizing experience of Moonlight Forest. Enjoy a delightful evening with family, friends or a date. If you’re looking for illuminating entertainment for your holiday guests, bring them to Moonlight Forest! $20-28.
Chinese Lantern Festival at Pomona Fairplex
November 15 – January 6: Experience an incredible, authentic and amazing larger than life handcrafted lanterns, live entertainment and food. Enjoy elements of culture such as Chinese folk artists demonstrating their ancient crafts, all with the ambiance to reconnect with nature and to create lifelong memories with friends and family. Over 1,000 lanterns, live kung fu/Chinese martial arts performances, free kung fu coaching on stage, dinosaur rides, and more! Open Thursdays through Sundays and Holidays, 5:30-10 p.m. Tickets, $13-21; parking, $12. Pomona Fairplex.
BricksLA in Pasadena
Janurary 5-6: Bricks LA is an annual convention for fans of Lego to get together and share their common love for the brick with the public. Discover hundreds of fan created models in over 19,000 square feet of display space! Shop in the vendor area with new, used, and vintage Lego sets, minifigures, jewelry, gifts, and unique brick accessories. Learn about the brick community and building techniques in panels and discussions. Be inspired to build your own creations in the play area! Saturday and Sunday, doors open at 9 a.m. Tickets are $5 for all ages, kids under 5 are free. Pasadena Convention Center.
KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the California Science Center
March 24 – January 13, 2019: A new chapter of ancient Egyptian history will be unearthed to the world with the debut of KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, an exclusive exhibition celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of his tomb. The new immersive exhibition will display more than 150 real artifacts from Tutankhamun’s (also known as King Tut) tomb. On display will be many items the Boy King himself used in life and in death, including: golden jewelry, elaborate carvings, sculptures, and ritual antiquities. Exhibition guests can follow King Tut as he journeys from death through the underworld to find his place in the afterlife, learning how each burial artifact was used to assist him in his life-after-death journey. Guests will also discover how their presence in the exhibition perpetuates King Tut’s immortality. The exhibition will feature nine distinct experiential galleries and an array of 3D visuals, digital content, 360-degree theatrical manifestations, custom soundscapes and more in an audio-guided tour. Recommended for grades 6+. Daily, visit their website for schedule and to purchase tickets. $19.20-29.95. California Science Center.
Oshogatsu Family Festival in LA
January 6: Celebrate the Year of the Boar with fun cultural activities and performances, special foods, fun crafts, and more. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.
Minefaire: Official Minecraft Community Event in San Diego
January 5-6: Minecraft players and their families can unite at Minefaire to meet Minecraft YouTube Celebrities, compete in tournaments and build battles, participate in the famed costume contest, witness live stage shows, learn from official Minecraft developers and Minecraft education global mentors, shop at the world’s largest official Minecraft merch store, score Minefaire event exclusives, solve a Minecraft escape room, experience Minecraft through VR Mixed Reality Headsets, show off creativity in the LEGO building zones and more! Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets start at $32. Children 2 and under are free. San Diego Convention Center.
Kid’s Wild Night Out at the San Diego Zoo
January 5: Join the Zoo for a wild night out with Dr. Zoolittle and animal friends. Hang for a few hours, and meet some amazing animals, create cool Zoo crafts, play games, enjoy a snack, and much more. Saturdays, 6-10 p.m. $37.