Five Pandemic-Proof Holiday Adventures for the Family

Denver Zoo
Zoo Lights continues until January 9.
Do your kids have a bad case of cabin fever? Although they may have changed form this year, many traditional, family-friendly holiday events are still on, and others designed specifically for these unusual times have joined the seasonal lineup.

So get the kids, get out of the house and grab some magic this weekend, before the light shows go dark.
click to enlarge The 2019 Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens. - LINNEA COVINGTON
The 2019 Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Linnea Covington
Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens
Through January 16
1007 York Street
Get a dose of pure beauty and holiday magic at the annual light display at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Tickets run $16 to $21 and are available now through January 16. The venue is keeping admission numbers low, and there are no interactive components this year — but there is plenty to marvel at as you walk the path through the illuminated gardens. Take a break near the end of the trail and purchase treats such as gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, hot cider and soup from on-site Hive cafe. Keep in mind that masks are required at all times for those ages three and up — which isn't so bad given the chill that usually graces the season.

click to enlarge Enjoy vroom with a view at Christmas in Colorado. - CHRISTMAS IN COLOR
Enjoy vroom with a view at Christmas in Colorado.
Christmas in Color
Christmas in Color
Through January 3
Water World, 8801 Pecos Street
Bandimere Speedway, 3051 South Rooney Road Choose to visit Bandimere Speedway or Water World for a drive-through Christmas-light experience that involves no contact save for the party in your car. Tune in to a special station to hear holiday music that's synchronized to the lights, so while you drive slowly through the dazzling colors, the lighted features (toys, trees, candy canes) dance along. Feel free to sing, too: No one but your family will hear that off-tune rendition of "Jingle Bells." Purchase tickets online now through January 3 for $30 per car; reservations are required.

click to enlarge Part of the 2020  I Love Christmas exhibit. - GAYLORD ROCKIES
Part of the 2020 I Love Christmas exhibit.
Gaylord Rockies
I Love Christmas Movies at Gaylord Rockies
Through January 3
6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard, Aurora

There have been a lot of protocols put into place at this massive hotel to make this year's Gaylord holiday fete take place, which is themed around Christmas movies. The interactive exhibit showcases scenes from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, Polar Express and more. There's also snow tubing, ice skating, gingerbread house kits and snacks for purchase. As at many other venues, you must purchase tickets online and in advance. Be aware that there are limited spots because of social distancing measures, masks are required, and the whole movie exhibit is meant to be mostly touchless. Tickets start at $13.99 for kids and $24.99 for adults. 

Winter Wanderland Light Walk and the Prismatica
Through January 3
Cherry Creek North
Wander the streets of Cherry Creek North with your family and take in the half a million lights twinkling in the trees. Bring a mug of hot chocolate with you and search for the eight special trees that are adorned with dancing lights choreographed to festive music. There's also the Prismatica, a temporary installation in Gart Plaza (on Milwaukee Street and Third Avenue), which features 24 large, rotating prisms of light. 

Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo
Through January 9
2300 Steele Street
There's every reason to don a mask and wander the glittering wonderland that the Denver Zoo creates each year, especially right now, when being outside proves safer than indoor adventures. Among the giraffes, zebras, monkeys and hippos, there are one million lights covering the zoo's eighty acres. The only way to get the $25 adult, $15 child or free two-and-under tickets is online at the zoo's website. While booking your time slot, make the visit brighter with a special add-on package like the Holiday Animal Adventure, which, for between $235 and $300, gets your party an exclusive meet-and-greet with the Zoo’s Animal Ambassadors, including the hawk, porcupine, snake and more. Or book the simple VIP package that includes access to warm-up areas, a souvenir mug, cocoa or cider, a cookie kit, animal demos and HoloSpex glasses for $50.

Do you know of other family-friendly events in the area? Send information to [email protected]