It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The first weekend of December is merry and bright––full of festive activities your whole family will love. From Holidays at LEGOLAND and Balboa Park’s famed December Nights to Botanic Wonderland, Wild Winter and so many more amazing events, read on for the details!

photo: LEGOLAND CA

Holidays at LEGOLAND
During Holidays at LEGOLAND kids and their families can feel the LEGO® cheer at the Park’s winter holiday retail and dining celebration and enjoy shimmering lights, live entertainment, the famous LEGO Christmas tree, festive decor and more! Fun Town turns into a winter wonderland as buildings are trimmed with twinkling lights and holiday décor. Guests will look picture perfect in front of the LEGO Christmas tree, standing 30-feet tall and constructed out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks. Kids may even run into their favorite LEGO® characters such as Santa, Toy Soldier and Gingerbread Man for a friendly socially distanced meet-and-greet. Guests can also enjoy seasonal treats and live music performances, walk around a newly themed Miniland U.S.A and enjoy building LEGO ornaments among other building activities. Fri.-Sun.

Jungle Bells
San Diego Zoo guests are invited to ring in the holiday season with the Zoo’s annual celebration, Jungle Bells, which will treat guests to views of some of their favorite animals, seasonal decorations, lighted displays, music and joyful roaming entertainers. There will be an abundance of culinary delights to enjoy at the Zoo’s many restaurants and food stands, and guests can shop for the perfect holiday gifts at the Zoo’s retail locations. Fri.-Sun.

Seas ‘n’ Greetings
The magic of the holidays meets the magic of the underwater world at Birch Aquarium during Seas ‘n’ Greetings, a holiday celebration featuring SEAsonal music and decor the whole family will love. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit. Grab your favorite holiday sweater and take some epic selfies with their amazing ocean view or their new 18-foot-tall inflatable octopus. Their rescued Loggerhead Sea Turtle may even drop in for a photo bomb. Don’t miss Tide Pool Plaza, where even the youngest guests can touch juvenile Swell Sharks, Horn Sharks and Round Rays. Fri.-Sun.

Taste of December Nights
For more than 40 years San Diego has celebrated the annual December Nights at Balboa Park. Due to the current pandemic conditions, this year’s event will be a bit different. Join us the first weekend of December for a “Taste of December Nights.” The program will have some of your favorite food vendors and food trucks from past December Nights in a drive-thru setting in the Inspiration Point parking lot near Balboa Park. The three-day event will include over 20 food trucks and vendors offering their most popular menu items.  All safety protocols by the county will be strictly enforced. Customers must remain in their cars. Bikes, scooters or walk-ups will not be permitted. And of course, everyone in your vehicle must wear a mask. Fri.-Sun.

Visit The Grinch’s Grotto
Celebrate the holiday season with a twist by visiting the Grinch’s Grotto at Westfield UTC. Your party will meet The Grinch and interact with him right in his cave, as well as pose for a photo. Your admission includes a free 6×8” printed photo with a perfectly playful Grinch catch phrase. With over 20 sayings to choose from, you can customize your own Grinch holiday memory. Admission also gets you a collectible Grinch ornament. Each ticket allows admission for up to 5 guests to meet the Grinch as a group. This ticket secures your individual time to meet the Grinch and experience his cave. In order to follow Covid-19 guidelines and keep to the schedule, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Late arrivals are not guaranteed. Fri.-Sun.

Botanic Wonderland
Gather up your family and friends and come spend an evening (or two!) at Botanic Wonderland. Stroll outdoors amidst festive holiday lights strung throughout several garden areas on the 37-acre property, including the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory. Note! This year advance reservations are required to visit Botanic Wonderland. Secure your reservations here. Due to COVID, this year’s Botanic Wonderland will be limited to an outdoor holiday lighting experience for visitors to walk amidst with appropriate social distancing to keep everyone safe. Fri.-Sun. 

Holiday Lights
The  Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum will be hosting a special event, Holiday Lights, where they will decorate several barns for the holiday season and have their farmhouse open for cookies and hot chocolate and activities. They’ll be offering wagon rides around the property to view their beautiful decorations. Santa has promised to come by, and even The Grinch might come down from Mount Crumpit! Fri. & Sat.

Wild Winter
The adorable animal ambassadors can’t wait to spread holiday cheer at Wild Winter! This festive event includes hands-on animal encounters, a cute craft for you to keep (or gift!), a dash through the holiday hall, a sweet treat for all and a gift for the little ones. We look forward to providing a safe environment for your family to have a happy holiday celebration. For safety purposes, we are limiting the number of people attending this event at one time. Registration is for a one-hour time slot with a group of up to six people, which must arrive together. Your group will be led through the activities by a member of our cheerful crew for the 60-minute duration of the time slot you register for. Sat. & Sun.

Christmas in the Park
Head to Old Poway Park for a re-imagined old-fashioned holiday tradition: Christmas in the Park! Stop by to drop off your letters to Santa and pick up holiday crafts and to enjoy festive holiday lights! Sat.

––Beth Shea