Holiday break is here! The kids have two weeks off from school, and what's a parent to do? Avoid the siren song of your television and get out of the house with these family-friendly activities. Try one or all. After all, it is Christmas, and these each promise to bring joy to kids of all ages.
Camp Bowie Christmas
Visit historic Camp Bowie Boulevard, where Santa and his "reinsteer" will be visiting with all the good little boys and girls. There will also be lots of games and crafts for all ages, as well as live entertainment, including music, stories, circus performers and a marionette show. Local vendors will be selling yummy holiday treats, and local celebrity chefs, including Catherine Ruehle of Sublime Bakery, will show off their skills in a gingerbread house-decorating contest. Afterward, a second contest will be open to the public.
Details: 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Free, but unwrapped toy donations for Toys for Tots are appreciated. 6323 block of Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth. www.campbowiedistrict.com.
Dickens of a Holiday
Enjoy an afternoon of Victorian-themed activities at the Central Branch of the Fort Worth Library. The fun includes crafts, a balloon artist, face-painting, music and stories. Have your photo taken with a live reindeer. Refreshments, prizes and other goodies will be provided.
Details: 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. Central Library Youth Center, 500 W. Third St., Fort Worth. 817-392-7701; fortworthtexas.gov/library.
Holidays at the Hearth
Log Cabin Village takes you back to where the West began with a pioneer Christmas. Children of all ages can enjoy traditional activities, including stringing popcorn and cranberries, making tamales, crafting paper chains, and making cards and ornaments. The historic St. Nicholas will also be there for photos.
Details: 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Adults $4.50, children ages 4-17 and seniors $4, free age 3 and under; additional $2 fee to make a punched-metal ornament, $5 for a photo with St. Nick. 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth. 817-392-5881; www.logcabinvillage.org.
Omni Theater: 'The Polar Express'
Keep the kids in their pj's for a Polar Pajama Party screening of The Polar Express at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History's Omni Theater. Children can enjoy hot cocoa and hands-on winter science experiments. Dynamo, the museum's dinosaur mascot, will be there in his jammies, too, ready to pose for photos. The party runs 9-9:45 a.m. Saturday, and the movie starts at 10 a.m. (Pajama parties are also scheduled from 10 to 10:45 a.m. before the 11 a.m. show Dec. 19-22.)
Details: You must have a movie ticket to attend the party: $9 adults, $8 children and seniors. 1501 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. www.fwmuseum.org/polar-express.
'Discover the Real George Washington'
Believe it or not, our first president did not have wooden teeth. He did, however, sport eight different pairs of dentures in his lifetime. Learn all about one of the most important men in American history at a temporary exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. View about 100 historical artifacts from Washington's home and others of that era, and test your presidential knowledge with interactive screens. And see his teeth.
Details: Exhibit runs through Jan. 22. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Adults $14, children age 2-12 and seniors $10. 1501 Montgomery St., Fort Worth. 817-255-9540; www.fwmuseum.org.
Casa Mañana presents 'Santa Claus the Musical'
Discover the answer to your every Santa-related question courtesy of a toe-tapping musical adventure based on L. Frank Baum's book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Adults may feel some Rankin/Bass nostalgia. (The popular cartoon with the book's title was based on the story, too.) This show is best for children ages 6-12.
Details: 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. $20-25. 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 817-332-2272; www.casamanana.org.
Santa in Sundance Square
If you haven't had time to send Santa your wish list, here is your chance. He'll be hanging out in downtown Fort Worth in his Nutcracker cottage under the tree to visit with kids and adults, though only little kids will receive a special treat. Photos are available for a $7 donation to the Sister Cities International youth program.
Details: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday, 5-8:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Visit free; photo $7. Main Street between Third and Fourth streets, Fort Worth. www.sundancesquare.com.
Bison feeding and hayrides
Surely if Santa's home were in Texas, his sleigh would be pulled by bison. Take a hayride out to the bison pastures and join the Fort Worth Nature Center staff in feeding those wooly beasts. Keepers will also share information on how they care for the animals and maintain their habitat. Registration is required two days before each event and includes the park entrance fee. To register, call 817-392-7410.
Details: 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 27 and 29. $16. www.fwnaturecenter.org.
Ice at The Parks
Whether you can pull off a triple lutz or you've only ever skated in your socks, adults and kids alike will enjoy a trip to the skating rink at The Parks at Arlington mall. The rink offers daily open-skate times, group or private lessons, and times for hockey-lovers.
Details: Public skating times are 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday; 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 12:30-2:45 p.m., 4:15-6:15 p.m. and 7:45-9 p.m. Saturday; 2-5 p.m. Sunday. $7 for age 14 and up, $6 ages 6-13, free age 5 and under. Skate rental $3. 3815 S Cooper St., Arlington. 817-419-0095; www.iceattheparks.net.
David Gappa offers children and adults a chance at doing what he does daily in his art studio: make blown-glass artwork. In the spirit of the holidays, guests can help create a glass ornament. Children can pick out the colors and watch the artists finish their ornament. Adults can get more involved during Extreme Ornament Making, doing everything but the glassblowing. Your ornament will be cool and ready for pickup after 3 p.m. the next day.
Details: Ornament making: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Monday-Wednesday, 2-8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. $25.
Extreme Ornament Making: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday-Dec. 24 and Dec. 29-31. $45. Appointment required.
Vetro Glass Blowing Studio, 701 S. Main St., No. 103, Grapevine. 817-251-1668; vetroartglass.com.
Legoland Discovery Center
Visit a wonderland of LEGOs and build houses, ships and anything else you can imagine at the Legoland Discovery Center in Grapevine. Tour the facility to see how the bricks are made, test your laser-wielding skills on the Kingdom Quest roller coaster, and experience a 4-D film in LEGO Studios. On Saturday, you can visit with Mrs. Claus. Or write a letter to Santa between Monday and Friday and Legoland will be sure to deliver it to him.
Details: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. $15 children 3-12, $19 adults; save 10 percent by ordering online. Grapevine Mills mall, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine. 469-444-3050; www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.