Now that Thanksgiving is over, the surge of holiday-related events really begins, with new light extravaganzas, seasonal theatrical shows and Small Business Saturday deals (see our list here
See our list of the twelve best free events in town here
, and keep reading for events that are worth the price of admission this weekend:
A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant
Sunday, November 28, 2 p.m.
Aurora Fox Art Center, 9900 East Colfax Avenue
If you’ve seen A Christmas Carol
a million times (and ditto for any number of classic holiday plays), the satirical musical A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant
is a slightly fractured retelling of L. Ron Hubbard’s life story, detailing some of the more unbelievable myths of Dianetics. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about Xenu, the mysterious E-meter and the immortal Thetans. It’s not really for kids, so call a babysitter; get info and tickets for performances Thursdays through Sundays (through December 18), $15 to $40, here
South Pole: The Cave of Yuletide Villains
Saturday, November 27, and Sunday, November 28, 7 p.m.
HQ, 60 South Broadway
It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving, and you’re already feeling ho-ho-hoed to death? Embrace the holidays at South Pole: The Cave of Yuletide Villains
, a pop-up bar/art installation/performance that pulls audiences into the North Pole’s old-world pagan parallel universe, the South Pole, where all the Christmas villains hang out while you sip themed cocktails over charcuterie and desserts. Cheers! The event continues into December on select dates and admission is $50 for a table seating two; sign up and learn more here
Through Sunday, January 2, 5 to 10 p.m.
Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle
Looking for something different in the holiday lighting category? Elitch Gardens will be all aglow this season with the arrival of Luminova, a three-million-bulb display that includes a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree, along with a gigantic snowman and larger-than-life ornaments and gift packages. Visitors can also walk through a candy-cane tunnel ablaze with glowing lights, enjoy limited amusement park rides, play a game of light-up hopscotch and have a word with old Saint Nick and his elves. Admission is $24.99 to $34.99; get tickets and details here
A Hudson Christmas
Through December 31, 5 to 9 p.m. (select nights)
Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
After a two-year hiatus, Hudson Gardens again hosts the lighting display A Hudson Christmas, and it's celebrating the return with more lights on more trees — towering trees, dancing trees and just plain gorgeous trees in rainbow colors — as well as giant snowmen, a curving light tunnel, glittering reindeer and more. Tickets are $12 to $20 (children three and under admitted free) and must be purchased in advance online here
Trail of Lights at Chatfield Farms
The Trail of Lights leads to Chatfield Farms.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Through January 2, 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Chatfield Farms, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon road, Littleton
The Denver Botanic Gardens will light up its Chatfield Farm location with LED lights along the pathway through the Green Farm, Crossroads, Deer Creek Discovery Children's Play Area and 1880s Hildebrand Ranch homestead. Special features include synchronized music in the children’s play area, singing Christmas trees, illuminated antique and model tractors on display, and hot beverages, nuts and kettle corn available for purchase. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 children and members; get all the details here
Zoo Lights: A Toast to Love, 125 Years + Beyond
Open to members now, opening to the general public December 4, through January 2, 5 to 10 p.m.
Denver Zoo, 2350 Steele Street
In celebration of the Denver Zoo’s 125th anniversary, this year’s Zoo Lights extravaganza has been beefed up with new installations and portable bars serving holiday craft cocktails; nightly ice-carving demos have returned. While viewing of zoo animals is limited to indoor habitats and a few cold-hardy outdoor beasts, chances are good that folks will mostly be looking up at the lights. Admission ranges from $15 to $25 online here
Blossoms of Light
Through January 8, 4:30 to 9 p.m. nightly, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street
Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens is a real thing of beauty: a fairyland blinking with millions of LED lights in colors that rival the beauty of the botanical attraction’s summer flowers. Perfect for holiday-lights nerds of all ages, it’s one of the best reasons in town to let the little ones stay up late and gulp hot chocolate on a frosty winter night. And don’t miss the new 200-foot-long, 17-foot-tall tunnel of animated lights lining the O’Fallon Perennial Walk. Find information and get timed-entry tickets, $16 to $21, here
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Through January 2
Gaylord Rockies Resort, 6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora
Have a merry, acrobatic holiday with Cirque Dreams Holidaze, just one of the many holiday attractions Gaylord Rockies has to offer — and one of the few that will satisfy a multi-generational audience with its classic Christmas themes, performed cirque style. Tickets start at $29 and are going fast; get yours here
Through January 2
Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park, 801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood
Immersive master Lonnie Hanzon has outdone himself to bring Camp Christmas, formerly an indoor affair, to life in a six-acre outdoor environment. But he’s had plenty of experience with al fresco holiday displays in the past, at Hudson Gardens, the Houston Zoo and even Denver's Parade of Lights. Camp Christmas, a collaboration with the Denver Center for Performing Arts Off-Center, is a different sort of holiday display: It has a campy personality that dictates such displays as pun trees, a glamping Santa, an emotional baggage check and drag queen tours. There's also a bar fit for a fairy queen! See for yourself; see the schedule (hours vary) and get tickets, $8 to $25 (with optional add-ons available) here
Know of a great event in town? We'll be updating this list; send information to [email protected]