By Crystal Hessong

For the holiday season, there’s no shortage of things to do with the family. You’ll never have to hear your kids complain that they’re bored once you discover all the fun things around town to do with them this December. Plan before going out to find activities that will fit both your time and budget, so everyone can enjoy these activities this season.

Zoo Lights At The Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 533-6500

Date: Through Jan.15, 2017

See the Houston Zoo in another light by taking your family to the after-dark spectacular, Zoo Lights. During the holiday season, the zoo decks the paths with holly, lights and other decorations. This evening event may disappoint you if you want to see animals, many of which are asleep at night, but you can see extravagant light displays, hear music and warm up to some cocoa in a family friendly atmosphere. If seeing Christmas lights is on your to-do list this year but you don’t want to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic as you drive through the more popular neighborhoods for lights, come to the Houston Zoo. Tickets range from $9.95 to $19.95, depending on whether you are a member or not and if it is a value night. For more information on tickets, hours, and prices, check out the Houston Zoo’s Zoo Lights page.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities for the Family in Houston

Candlelight Tour At Sam Houston Park
1100 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 655-1912</a

Date: Dec. 10. 2016 – Dec. 11, 2016

If your family has history fans or any age, you may enjoy taking them out to see historic Sam Houston Park’s 54th annual Candlelight Tour. Every December, this tour takes visitors to Sam Houston Park after dark, which is a unique public park in town for being home to ten historic homes from around the city that have relocated to the park. Though the park is open all year long for free, the Houston Heritage Society’s docents offer paid tours of the homes on a regular basis, and you will find more information about the historic homes at the Candlelight Tour. While at the event, expect to find costumed historic figures who will bring history to life, Santa Claus who will take Christmas lists, and a Santa’s workshop where kids can play. Older family members may enjoy shopping for Christmas at the gift shop and art market. A café will help to quench your thirst for a warm drink, too.

Christmas Village At Bayou Bend
6003 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 639-7750

Date: Dec. 10, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017

Though it never snows in Houston, you can still take your family out to a winter wonderland complete with a snowball play space, carolers, a live reindeer, Santa, holiday snacks and much more. It happens every year at the Bayou Bend’s Christmas Village. Operated by the Museum of Fine Arts, Bayou Bend was once the home to philanthropist Ima Hogg, but she generously donated her home and collection of historic pieces of Americana to the Fine Arts Museum, which hosts tours of the home throughout the year. The Christmas Village event decks out the inside of the mansion with holiday decorations, and costumed guides theme the tour to the holidays. With activities for the whole family, you won’t want to miss this event. For ticket information and hours, go to Bayou Bend’s Christmas Village page.

Christmas In The Park At George Ranch Historical Park
10215 FM 762 Road
Richmond, TX 77469
(281) 343-0218

Date: Dec. 3 – Dec. 23, 2016

A trip to the George Ranch Historical Park is always a step back in time to the 1800s when pioneers first came to southeast Texas to stake their claims to the land, but at Christmas in the Park, you can enjoy Christmas from days of yore, too. With treats for the whole family, Christmas in the Park is a great way for kids of all ages to learn about how the holidays were celebrated over the span of the 100 years from 1830 to 1930. Hayrides, holiday wassail, holiday treats, stories with Santa and many more attractions await you and your family at Christmas in the Park. It will fulfill everyone’s need for fun while sneaking in a bit of education. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and $9 for seniors.

2016 Mayor’s Holiday Celebration At Hermann Square
901 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002

Date: Dec. 2, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A tradition for many Houstonians is joining the mayor for the City Hall tree lighting celebration. Though the event is free, there are incentives to come with an unwrapped, new toy for less fortunate kids. Those who bring a gift get a lighted Santa hat. Of course, Santa will show up for the celebration, but so will several performers. The end of the celebration is capped off by a fireworks spectacular, proving that fireworks are not just for the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.

Related: Top Holiday Light Shows in Houston


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