More to the Story Entertainment

A princess leads story time at the The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures. 

This story was created by #ThisIsTucson and underwritten by Children's Museum Tucson, hosting Happy Noon Year! Thank you for supporting the local organizations that support us!

School's out for winter — or at least for the next two weeks during the break. 

That means there's tons of time to fill having fun with the kids in your life before class is back in session. 

We've compiled a day-by-day list of family-friendly things happening during the break to help you out. 

For working parents and caregivers, we see you (we are you) and have a whole list of winter break camps you can check out here.

Friday, Dec. 20

Mercado District Holiday Bazaar

This event at Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento, is packed with family-friendly shopping and activities like puppet shows by a local puppet troupe. Other activities include local vendors, holiday window installations, shops, restaurants, photo booths, mariachis, folklorico and more. The market starts Friday, Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and continues through Sunday, Dec. 22. More information can be found here

Saturday, Dec. 21

Holiday Parade at Tanque Verde Swap Meet

A dragon roller coaster is one of the new rides at Freddie's Fun Zone at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet. 

The Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S. Palo Verde Road, is hosting a merry event. Festivities are from 7-9 p.m. and include decorated floats, Santa Claus, Santa's helpers, shopping and family fun. You can also ride the new rides at Freddie's Fun Zone. The event is free, but bring money to shop and for rides. Go here for more information. 

Southern Solstice: A Winter Fire Ritual in the Sonoran Desert

Cirque Roots is bringing back its Winter Solstice experience featuring fire dancing, acrobatics, aerial, and stilt dance. Remember to bring your own chairs and blankets. The performance is from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road. Tickets are $10-$50 and children ages 10 and under are free. Go here for more information. 

Holiday Express with Santa at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum

A Tucson family poses with Santa in front of a classic steam locomotive at last year’s Holiday Express event.

Get a chance to talk with and take a photo with Santa in front of the 1673 Locomotive. Enjoy holiday music, write a letter to Santa, see the museum’s bilingual exhibits and live action model trains, listen to the storytelling of the Polar Express, climb into 1673, and check out the arts and crafts show. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole. Go here for more information. 

Sunday, Dec. 22

Miracle on Congress Street

Santa and his elves will be downtown on Congress Street for one last appearance before Christmas. Take your own photos, participate in crafts and activities, hear live music, and kids can decorate a sugar cookie. Hot cocoa, coffee and adult beverages will be available for purchase. The festivities are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 300 E. Congress St.. Go here for more info. 

Pueblo Express to Santa

A pedestrian crosses East Broadway Boulevard at Sixth Avenue on this second anniversary of Tucson's modern streetcar on July 25, 2016.

The Sun Link Streetcar will magically transform into The Pueblo Express as it transports caroling families and merry elves to see Santa at Main Gate Square. Ring in the holidays with festive activities including special holiday musical performances, lighting of the menorah, storytime, marshmallow roasting and snow in Geronimo Plaza. The Pueblo Express leaves at 2 p.m. from the Mercado Station on Avenida del Convento. You'll need to purchase a Sun Link Pass for $4.50 per person over age 5. Space is limited. Go here for more information. If you miss the streetcar you head straight to Main Gate Square, 814 E. University Blvd., to join in the festivities.

Chanukah Menorah lighting in Downtown Tucson

Chanukah at Downtown Tucson — El Presidio Park, 160 W. Alameda St. Lighting of Tucson’s tallest Chanukah Menorah outside City Hall with Jewish songs, Chanukah treats and crafts for the children. 5-6 p.m. Dec. 22. Free. 881-7956.

Take part in the 37th annual lighting of Tucson’s tallest Chanukah Menorah in El Presidio Plaza, 165 W. Alameda St. (outside City Hall). This free event happens from 5-6 p.m. and also includes latkes, doughnuts and crafts. Go here for more information.

Monday, Dec. 23

Marana Christmas Express

All aboard! It's the last night the Marana Christmas Express will journey through a magical light display to see Santa. You can also enjoy jumping pillows, a petting zoo, food, hot chocolate and Christmas storytime. The event is $10 per person and happens at the Marana Pumpkin Patch, 14901 N. Wentz Road, from 5-9:30 p.m. Go here to learn more. 

"Polar Express" at the Fox Tucson Theatre

Year of Release: 2004

IMDb Rating: 6.6

Metacritic Score: 61

Tomatometer: 63%

Stacker Score: 65

Gross: $183.37M

Artist and author Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning children’s book burst onto the big screen in 2004 with The Polar Express. Helmed by Robert Zemeckis, the movie is a CGI spectacle, and the “first all-digital capture” film, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Plus, the movie features Tom Hanks, and nobody argues with Tom Hanks, especially during the holidays.

Meet the train conductor at the door of the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., and get your ticket punched, plus meet Santa and Kit the Fox. Get your face painted in the lobby and don't miss the coloring station and story time in the downstairs lounge before the movie. There are two showings of the film at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and tickets are $5-$7. Go here for more information. 

Tuesday, Dec. 24

Ice Skate at Downtown Holiday Ice

Don't miss the chance to skate on the outdoor ice rink in downtown Tucson, before it melts away in early January. Make sure to bring socks (required) and gloves (highly recommended). The rink is open on Dec. 24 from 4-10 p.m. and costs $15 for adults; $10 for kids 12 and under. Skate rentals are included in the cost of admission. Go here for more information and to see the hours for other days. 

Wednesday, Dec. 25

Hikers on Mount Lemmon. — Credit: Doug Kreutz / Arizona Daily Star

It's Christmas. If this is your holiday, we hope it's merry. If not, we hope you have a fabulous day with your family and friends. 

Not many businesses are open (aside from the movie theaters and Chinese restaurants), making it a great day to hike at Sabino Canyon or go up to Mount Lemmon in search of snow (if we're lucky!)

Thursday, Dec. 26

Explore the Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson

Yume Japanese Gardens, are located at 2130 N. Alvernon Way.

Yep, there's a Japanese garden in midtown at 2130 N. Alvernon Way. Explore another culture and trends in Japanese landscaping such as a tranquil strolling pond garden, a stone and gravel garden, a Zen contemplative garden and a dry river garden. There's also a museum with Japanese art and handicrafts, as well as a gift shop. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3 to 15. Click here for more info.

Holiday Hayrides

Take your friends and relatives on a mule drawn hayride through the Meadowbrook subdivision near North La Cholla Boulevard and West River Road while looking at festive holiday decorations. Rides depart hourly from 6-9 p.m. at 2350 W. River Road and are $15 per person, children ages 5 and under are free. Go here for more information and to reserve a spot. 

Friday, Dec. 27

Family Glow Yoga

Bend, flow, and glow! Wear white or neon and get painted up for a family-friendly yoga session for ages 6 and up at Desert Zen Yoga, 10235 E. Old Vail Road. The session is from 6-7:30 p.m., arrive early to paint yourself at the studio and don't forget your mat. The event is $15 per person. Find more information and register here

Zoo Lights at Reid Park Zoo

It's the last weekend to take in the twinkling light displays at Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court at its annual Zoo Lights event featuring live entertainment, animal sculptures and more. The event runs from 6-8 p.m. through Dec. 30. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 2-14. Reid Park Zoo members get $3 off admission. Go here for more information. 

Saturday, Dec. 28

Meet Anna & Elsa at Irene’s Doughnuts

Anna and Elsa are the stars of Disney's "Frozen" series. 

Do you want to meet a princess? Do you want to eat a doughnut? You can do both and more at Irene's Doughnuts, 340 N. Fourth Ave. Anna and Elsa are traveling from Arendelle to Tucson from 10 a.m. to noon for story time and photos. Irene's will have "Frozen" themed doughnuts, drinks and raffle prizes. For $10 you can decorate your own doughnut, but availability is limited. Go here for instructions about reserving a spot for doughnut decorating and to learn more about the event. 

Family Adventure Fourth Saturday at Presidio San Agustín del Tucson

Jaylon Nichols, 10, left, and classmate Jayden Iutzi, 9, work the bellows to fuel the adobe forge for blacksmith Eric Thing at the museum.

Step back into the 1700s and learn about life in the Tucson Presidio at this event for families. Tour the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, 196 N. Court Ave. Learn about blacksmithing and tinsmithing and participate in hands-on activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. General admission is $5,  Kids ages 6-14 are $1, and children 5 and under are free. Go here for more information. 

Dancing in the Streets' "The Nutcracker"

Some of Dancing in the Streets younger dancers pranced through the company’s 2012 “Nutcracker.”

This performance by Dancing in the Streets features all the signature Nutcracker highlights: toys come to life, waltzing flowers, sparkling snowflakes, mischievous mice all set to music by the Tucson Civic Orchestra. The show starts at 2 p.m. (there's also a Sunday show at the same time) at the Tucson Convention Center, Leo Rich Theater,  260 S. Church Ave. Tickets are $13.50-$36  with discounts available for seniors, students and military. Tickets can be purchased at

Sensory-friendly showing of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" is the latest installment in the Star Wars saga. 

The Autism Society of Southern Arizona and Lowes AMC Movie Theatre at the Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd., are hosting a sensory-friendly screening of the latest Star Wars film. Some lights will be kept on, sound will be low and the film will start right at 10 a.m. with no previews. Guests can also bring their own gluten-free and casein-free snacks. Tickets are $4.49 each. Go here for more information. 

Sunday, Dec. 29

Winterhaven Final Night

This Winterhaven Festival of Lights is one of the Community Food Bank’s largest food drives of the year.

It's your last chance to wander through Tucson's own winter wonderland at the 70th annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights. This is also the only night you can drive your car through the neighborhood, which is near Fort Lowell and Country Club roads, if you can't or choose not to walk. The festival runs from 6-10 p.m. and admission is free, but a canned food or cash donation for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is suggested. Learn more about the event here

Ballet Tucson's "The Nutcracker" 

Tucson's professional ballet company presents a Victorian production of the beloved ballet. Half of the 100-person cast is made up of local children; and Prima Ballerina Jenna Johnson, a founding member of of Ballet Tucson shines as the Sugar Plum Fairy. There are two options to see the show either at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, 260 South Church Ave. General admission seats are $30-$58 with discounts available for students, seniors, military and groups Tickets can be purchased here

Monday, Dec. 30

Downtown Arizona Bowl Pep Rally

The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Pep Rally happens on Dec. 30. 

Get ready for the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl with a pep rally with cheerleaders, mascots and bands from the two teams facing off in the big game: Wyoming and Georgia State. The rally is from 5-6:30 p.m. in Jácome Plaza (outside the Main Library), 101 N. Stone Ave. Go here for more information. 

Maker Mondays at Woods Memorial Branch Library

Jack Cornelius, gets ready to install one of the "Flying Books" to the side of Woods Memorial Library. Artist Simon Donovan made 101 metal books which are anchored to the building at different angles giving the impression of books blowing in the wind.

This weekly program includes engaging hands-on activities including coding, Makey Makey invention kits and Ozobots for children ages 8 and up. The making happens from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Woods Memorial Branch Library, 3455 N. First Ave. More information can be found here

STEAMsational Mondays at Santa Rosa Library 

Kids participate in art activities at the Santa Rosa Branch Library

Kids ages 6 and up can take part in art, movement and science activities at the Santa Rosa Library, 1075 S. Tenth Ave., from 4-5 p.m. The theme for the day is snowman crafts. Go here for more information. 

Tuesday, Dec. 31

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Wyoming cornerback Azizi Hearn, right, will return to Tucson for the Arizona Bowl. He is a former UA Wildcat walk-on.

See the Wyoming Cowboys and the Georgia State Panthers face off in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Kickoff is at 2:15 p.m. at Arizona Stadium, 1 N. National Championship Drive. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online here

Marana Egg Nog Jog 5K, 10K & Fun Run

Runners, joggers, and walkers take off for the fourth annual Egg Nog Jog on New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2011.

Have fun at the last running event of the year and finish 2019 in a fun and active way at the 13th annual Egg Nog Jog. Grab a cup of egg nog at the finish line and enter to win raffle prizes.  The run is from 8-10 a.m. at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road. Go here for more information and to register. 

Noon Year's Eve at Trail Dust Town

Early arrivals explore Trail Dust Town. Trail Dust offers a variety of restaurants and attractions, including a magic store.

There's going to be wild, wild west fun for the whole family happening at Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a party happening inside the Savoy Opera House. The three-piece string band Kids' Country will perform family-friendly roots music, and there will be crafts, photo ops, and unlimited carousel, Ferris wheel and train rides. When the clock strikes noon kids can enjoy an apple cider toast and a balloon drop. Admission is $6 per person, and pre-walking babies get in free. Go here for more information. 

Wednesday, Jan. 1

New Year's Board Game Day at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Angela Kinsey, right, 12, plays a move against Rudrakshi Dasika, 11, during the First Annual Chess and Science Festival featuring this all-girls chess tournament on Saturday, April 13, at the Flandrau Science Center.

Start the new decade with some analog family fun at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd. Visit any time between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to play the games and puzzles part of the museum's exhibits, and from the selection of board games like Clue and Scrabble that will be set up in the space. Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for kids 4-17, and free for kids under 3 and that includes all the games you can play, a planetarium show and access to all the museum's exhibits. Go here for more information. 

Thursday, Jan. 2

Not Just for Kids Discount Day at the Mini Time Machine Museum

You’ll find woodland creatures, snow villages, fairy castles, a witches compound and more at the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

Every Thursday the whole family gets the kids' admission price of $7 each to explore the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Drive. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and its one of the last days to see the Wee Winter Wonderland exhibit featuring more than a dozen miniature scenes of holiday celebrations from around the world which ends on Jan. 5. Go here for more details. 

Friday, Jan. 3

Fortnite Tournament at Santa Rosa Library

Fortnite is an enormously popular game. (Dreamstime)

Fortnite fanatics between the ages of 6 and 18 can test their skills in this epic tournament at the Santa Rosa Library, 1075 S. Tenth Ave. Arrive between 1-2:30 p.m. to sign up. Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place winners. Refreshments will be served while supplies last and kids can bring their own gaming gear (controller, mouse, keyboard) if they wish. Learn more here

Holiday Shows at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Holiday fun continues at Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd. which is running its two festive laser light shows "Season of Light" and the "Holiday Laser Music Show" until Jan. 5. You can see one show and explore the museum's exhibits for $16 for adults, $12 for kids 4-17, and free for kids under 3. See the show schedule and learn more here

$3 Admission Day at Children's Museum Tucson

Aleksandros Romero, 2, and Calvin Beggs, 6, paint a wall in the Imagine It exhibit at the Children’s Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave., on June 25, 2019.

The Children's Museum Tucson200 S. Sixth Ave., has $3 admission today (and every third day of each month). If you're there in the afternoon and have preschool-age children, make sure and check out the Wee Explore program at 1:30 p.m., where kids can do hands-on science experiments, bubble time and cool demos. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more info.

Saturday, Jan. 4

TSO Just for Kids Concert

TSO’s Just for Kids series introduces young ones to classical music.

The first Tucson Symphony Orchestra Just for Kids concert of 2020 happens on Jan. 4 with Rubato the Rattlesnake. The brass quintet and Rubato go on an adventure through the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to find Rubato’s missing rattle. The fun starts at 10 a.m. at the Tucson Symphony Center, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. This concert is free, but there is a $3 per person suggested donation. Go here for more info.

Cactus Paint Class at Creative Juice

Matthew Glasshoff, 11, upper left, holds up the work he is doing on an image of Santa Claus to show his mother, Lauri, far right, while her daughter, Natalie, 7, works on her painting during an acrylic painting class at Creative Juice, at 6530 E Tanque Verde Rd, suite 160., where patrons can relax, paint and sip wine or have a beer and let your creative juices flow. The photo was taken on Monday, December 23, 2013 in Tucson, Ariz. 

Paint an adorable, smiley cactus at a guided lesson that’s family friendly at Creative Juice6530 E. Tanque Verde Road, #160. Painting starts at 10 a.m. and costs $25 per person. Go here for more info and to reserve a spot. 

Lego Club at Kirk-Bear Canyon Library

Children dig through legos looking for parts to build a Lego Starfighter at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library's Lego Club.

Lego Club at Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E. Tanque Verde Road. If the kids love to play with Legos, bring them to Lego Club from 10-11:30 a.m. every first Saturday. The library supplies the Legos. Admission is free.

Fairy Tale in a Day Workshop

Fairy Tale in a Day Workshop is hosted by Troubadour Theatre. 

Kids ages 7-12 will write, rehearse and star in their own fairy tale play using improv games and activities at this day-long workshop at Troubadour Theatre, 3308 E. Grant Road. No previous acting experience is necessary, and the workshop costs $55. Learn more and register here

Storytime with Wild Thing at UA BookStores

"Where the Wild Things" by Maurice Sendak. 

Let the wild rumpus start! Hear a story, make crafts, sing songs and meet Wild Thing from "Where the Wild Things Are" at this free event at the UA BookStores, 1209 E. University Blvd. There are two readings, one at 10:30 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. Go here for more information. 

Sunday, Jan. 5

Family Night at Skate Country

Sundays are for families at the Skate Country, 7980 E. 22nd Street, with special rates and more for kiddos rolling around from 6-9 p.m. Admission is $12 for up to six skaters, accompanied by at least one parent. Single admission is $6. Bring your own skates or rent some for $3. Click here for more info.

Congratulations you made it through winter break! 

Happy Noon Year with the Children's Museum Tucson 

Join the Children's Museum Tucson for a funfetti-filled end-of-year celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Kids can join in the fun of celebrating the new year with noise makers, a sparkling juice toast and fun arts and crafts — all included with regular museum admission and always free for members.

More info here.

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