Reid Park Zoo: ‘Zoo Lights’ Encore
The animals are asleep, and Santa needs to get back to the North Pole after Dec. 23, but the zoo is still alive with lights and magic. Kids love jumping through a game of rings lit over the ground, and walking through the falling snow on the way for a hot cocoa. All the lighting displays are mesmerizing, but we can also enjoy a new perspective on the zoo’s thoughtful landscape that we don’t notice otherwise.
6 to 9 p.m. Thursday Dec. 22, Friday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 26 through Friday, Dec. 30, Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court, reidparkzoo.org, $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children
‘The Nutcracker’ Ballet
Ballet Tucson and The Tucson Symphony team up for the traditionally sweetest dream of the season, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. Need to be reminded of its ageless charm? Spend a moment watching the video snippets on the website. They’re drenched in delight. The ballet is all the lovelier for knowing that the courtier who commissioned the music intended it to portray a horror story. The nutcracker was a seven-headed monster, and Clara was trapped forever with her dolls. Yet now it’s a Christmas confection. The metaphors write themselves.
Times vary, Thursday, Dec. 22 through Saturday, Dec. 24, Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, 260 S. Church Avenue, ticketmaster.com, ballettucson.org, tickets start at $24
Tucson Tease: ‘Holiday Striptacular’
Tucson is turning into an entertainment mecca. Our reputation is growing as a jazz hub. Our comedy scene is burgeoning with as many as a dozen shows, mics and national acts performing every week. And now we have three strip tease promoters staging regular shows in respected and sizeable venues. Tucson Tease is one of the newest. This weekend they promise a festive evening of burlesque and drag inspired by the holidays.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, Temple of Music and Art Cabaret, 330 S. Scott Avenue, eventbrite.com, tickets start at $25.
‘Yuletide at Old Tucson: Holidays the Old West Way’
Imagine a 19th century production of “A Christmas Carol” as interpreted by Old Tucson’s civic theater company. The immersive experience brings that scenario to comedic life while, elsewhere, the town sheriff foils a bank robbery and the town’s kooky inventor generates enough electricity to light the Christmas tree. Santa Claus, a winter visitor, is happy to sit for a professional photo with the kids, and a luminaria-lined path leans to the old mission, decorated for the season as celebrated in Mexico.
4 to 10 p.m. nightly through Saturday, Dec. 24, Old Tucson, 201 Kinney Road, yuletideaz.com, tickets start at $40.
Century Room Wine-Tasting Series
This series of December Wednesday tastings has already explored Mexican wines and Arizona wines from Sonoita and Willcox. It will close out next Wednesday with wines from “Baja Arizona.” So, Elgin, maybe? There’s a cluster of wineries near there, west and a little northwest of Elgin. It’s a lovely drive in the spring or fall, and besides the wineries there’s at least one historic ranch to visit. Arizona Winery Tours is a good option if you don’t want to drink and drive. But it’s cold out, and a tasting of Baja Arizona wines should bring the sun.
6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, The Century Room, Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress Street, $30
Flandrau Planetarium and Science Center: ‘Season of Light’
The planetarium’s dome takes us on a journey through a 360-degree experience across cultures and through history. Festivals of light everywhere celebrate renewal around the time of the Winter Solstice. As we see the days get shorter and the temperatures getting colder, people across nations and cultures celebrate with lights, from Hanukkah candles to Christmas tree ornaments, that represent the light to come after the dark.
2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, UA Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, 1601 E. University Boulevard, $9, $7 children
Christmas Express at Marana Farm
You can still catch the last train through all the Christmas lights and decorations at Marana Farm. Kids can giggle and wiggle through all the evergreens, snowmen, reindeer and other icons of the holiday season while riding along on a very narrow- gauge railroad track. Santa will be waiting to hear their Christmas wishes. The Red Barn Grill is open for dinner. For snacks there are churros and hot chocolate. Admission includes the Playland Area.
5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, Marana Pumpkin Patch, 14950 N. Trico Road, $20, maranapumpkinpatch.com
La Encantada’s Enchanted Snowfall and Caroling
Let it snow! Santa will visit from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., but the big fun is the gusting of an Enchanted Snowfall from 6 to 6:15 p.m. and from 6:45 to 7 p.m. In between and afterward The Yuletones will sing Christmas songs and the shoppers can sing along. Organizers also promise a giant Christmas tree and hot chocolate for kids.
6 to 7:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, La Encantada Shopping Center, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, free, laencantadashoppingcenter.com