Happy Holidays from The Playful Parent! Here’s a spectacular list of holiday festivals, events, lights displays and Santa sightings for Southern Maryland Family. This article mostly reflects resources for Charles County families; however, I tried to include as much as possible for the tri-county and DMV area. “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Claus Lane!”

CT- ELF


LIGHTS DISPLAYS


AWARD WINNING ANNMARIE GARDENS IN LIGHTS
Date: November 30, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (6-9 PM ) *Closed 12/3, 12/4, 12/24, 12/25*
Place: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Solomons
Price: $7 for ages 3 and over, FREE for kids 2 and under.
Information: Walk through the wooded path and enjoy lighted vignettes of famous people, places and works of art. Look for hidden treasures in the trees and green shamrocks in each vignette.

BROOKESIDE GARDENS GARDEN OF LIGHTS
Date: November 16, 2018 – January 1 *Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas*
Place: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, Maryland
Price: $25 per vehicle Sun.-Thurs.; $30 per vehicle Fri.-Sat.
Information: Walk thru this beautiful display of holiday lights that features more than a million colorful lights. Following your walk among the lights, warm up inside the Conservatory and enjoy a colorful display of holiday poinsettias, flowering plants and evergreens.

BULL RUN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Date: November 21, 2018 -January 6, 2018 *Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas*
Place: 7700 Bull Run Dr, Centreville, VA 20121
Price: $20-$25 Depending on what night you go.
Information: Every year from Thanksgiving until just after New Year’s Day, you can experience the Bull Run Festival of Lights, 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn out your headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus (holiday village open select nights). The festival happens annually at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia.  Monday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday – Sunday and Holidays 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Holidays include November 23, December 24, 25, 31, and January 1).

BUSCH GARDENS CHRISTMAS TOWN
Date: November 17, 2018 -January 5, 2018
Place: Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA
Price: Cost of Admission to park/ FREE to Season Pass Holders
Information: Christmas shines brightest at Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg, Virginia. The world’s most beautiful theme park is aglow with over 8 million Christmas lights, making it the largest Christmas light display in North America. Enjoy kid-friendly, thrill rides, merry entertainment and dining options. Stay warm with a mug of the park’s signature peppermint fudge hot chocolate, meet Santa Claus in the North Pole and capture an unforgettable memory with a Christmas photo. Most of all, enjoy this most wonderful time of year with friends and family. CHRISTMAS TOWN PLAYFUL PARENT GUIDE

CHRISTMAS DOLLS AND TRAINS EXHIBIT AT ST CLEMENTS
Date: December 1-January 1 (12:00 PM – 4:00 PM) *Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas*
Place: St. Clements Island Museum, 38370 Point Breeze Road, Coltons Point, MD
Price:  $3 Adults/ $1.50 Children 6 – 18, FREE Children 5 and under.
Information: Exhibits will feature special doll collections from the Black-eyed Susan and Southern Maryland Doll Clubs. Dolls will be arranged to depict Christmas scenes and vignettes of Chesapeake coastal living in the early 20th century.

CHRISTMAS ON THE POTOMAC 
Date: November 16, 2018 – January 1, 2018
Place: National Harbor
Price: FREE
Information: Enjoy the region’s most beautiful Christmas decorations. With thousands of twinkling lights and a 55-foot tall Starlight Christmas tree suspended over our indoor garden atrium, you’ll be filled with holiday cheer. Extras such as: ICE display, train rides and Build A Bear have a fee.

FLAT IRON FARM CHRISTMAS
Date: Thanksgiving – December 24, 2018 *Closed Christmas*
Place: 45850 Flat Iron Farm, Great Mills, MD
Price: FREE
Information: Enjoy a drive-through lights display that the whole family will enjoy.  The lights display is free, additional cost for pictures with Santa and pony rides.

LIGHTS ON THE BAY
Date: November 17, 2018 – January 1, 2019 (5pm – 10pm) *Including holidays*
Place: Sandy Point State Park
Price: $15 Per Car
Information: Head to Sandy Point State Park from November 19th to January 1st. Not only will you see Christmas lights, but 3D glasses are available to make your experience even more amazing.

SIX FLAGS HOLIDAY IN THE PARK
Date: November 2018- January 1, 2019
Place: 13710 Central Ave, Upper Marlboro, MD
Price: Park Admission
Information: This dazzling, winter spectacular will make your holiday shine with more than a million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, visits with Santa and theme park rides! PLAYFUL PARENT GUIDE

SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS
Date: November 2018 -January 1, 2019 (5:30 PM-10PM)
Place: Symphony Woods at Merriweather Park, Columbia, Maryland
Price: Wed.-Fri. and Sun. $20, Sat. $25 (cash only)
Information: The Symphony of Lights is a time-honored Howard County holiday tradition. This family-oriented spectacular is a dazzling display of more than 100 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations, made up of more than 250,000 bulbs. Proceeds from the event benefit Howard County General Hospital. Lots of new elements this year to include: new course design, new displays, 100% LED lighting, laser show.

WINTER FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AT WATKINS REGIONAL PARK
Date: November 23, 2018-January 1, 2019
Place: Watkins Regional Park, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Price: Tickets range from $5 per car or van to $30 per bus, see website for details.
Information: Join in celebrating the 30th anniversary of Watkins Park’s Winter Festival of Lights by driving thru a spectacular holiday display of more than one million lights and one of the tallest tree displays in Maryland. Participants are encouraged to bring a canned or nonperishable good to be donated to a local food bank.

WINTERFEST- KINGS DOMINION
Date: November 2018- January 1, 2019
Place: 13710 Central Ave, Upper Marlboro, MD
Price: Park Admission
Information: This dazzling, winter spectacular will make your holiday shine with more than a million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, visits with Santa and theme park rides! PLAYFUL PARENT GUIDE

ZOO LIGHTS
Date: November 23, 2018 to January 1 (Except Christmas Eve & Christmas)
Place: Smithsonian’s National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC
Price: Free admission
Information: Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. A free event, ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!

41TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AT THE MORMON TEMPLE
Date: November 29, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Place: Washington, D.C., Temple, 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Maryland
Price: Free
Information: The Festival of Lights is one of the D.C. area’s great community traditions. Beginning December 1st, the Festival features free performances nightly in the comfortable, state-of-the-art theater located in the Visitors’ Center. A different performing artist or group is showcased each night, including bell ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and more! Each performance is presented twice nightly.

 


PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES WITH SANTA


TWITHSANTA.jpg

There are lots of opportunities to plan a visit with Santa at one of the many local events. However, if you are looking for a traditional photo session with Santa at the mall you will want to check out these local options. Santa is available for you to greet and even sit on his lap to share your Christmas wish list through out the season.

ST CHARLES TOWNE CENTER
Santa is available for his annual visits at the St. Charles Towne Center mall in Waldorf. Find him there every day November 16, 2018 until Saturday, December 24th when he must return home for his big journey. He is located on the first floor by the main elevators. For a complete list of dates and times, visit St. Charles Towne Center Santa Schedule. For stress free visits with the man in the red suit check out this article: Capturing Magical Moments With Santa Tips.

NATIONAL HARBOR GAYLORD HOTEL
Enjoy the National Harbor Christmas Light Show nightly throughout the holiday season. The National Harbor atrium is where you can enjoy a free lights show. The light show will continue each night through the holiday season. Beginning the half hour after sunset and continuing every half hour until 9:30 p.m. In the resort’s 1.5-acre atrium children can also jump aboard the Potomac Express Train for $2 per ride or $5 for three rides. Also is in the atrium, Santa is available for photos with families and children. Photo packages with Santa start at $30. National Harbor Santa Schedule

 


VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT SANTA RUNS


image
I’m excited to share information about this resource. One of the things my boys look forward to every year around the holiday season is seeing Santa drive past our house on a fire truck! The following Fire Departments host a Santa run schedule. If your not sure which schedule your neighborhood follows check this map: Charles County Map

The following Volunteer Fire Departments will release schedules soon….

BEL ALTON SCHEDULE
BRYANS ROAD SCHEDULE

COBB ISLAND SCHEDULE
HUGHESVILLE SCHEDULE
INDIAN HEAD SCHEDULE
NANJEMOY VFD

NEWBURG VFD

TOWN OF LA PLATA SCHEDULE

 

***Santa Claus runs are being developed and updated as frequently as possible. Remember emergency calls take priority over Santa runs.***

 


SANTA BREAKFASTS


This is a list of the all Breakfasts with Santa happening in our area. I will continue to add to this list and keep it updated. Please see the calendar for detailed information, event links, etc.

HOLIDAY 2018 GUIDE- BREAKFAST WITH SANTA.jpg


WINTER EVENTS


This is a list of the all the holiday festivals and events discovered in our area. I will continue to add to this list and keep it updated. Some of these events are weather contingent so always check event sites before attending. The best way to stay up to date with planning your family fun is by using the calendar for detailed information, event links, etc.

HOLIDAY GUIDE 2018- EVENTS PAGE 1HOLIDAY 2018 GUIDE- EVENTS PG 2HOLIDAY 2018 GUIDE- ARTS-CRAFTS-STORIES

 

HOLIDAY GWL.jpg

***From our family to yours… Happy Holidays! Information in this article is my own non-biased opinion. The Playful Parent is not paid to endorses organizations. All content and photography are property of The Playful Parent.***

image.jpg