There’s more to Thanksgiving time in New York City than the Macy’s Parade. For many East End parents with young children, the whole parade experience with its 3.5 million spectators can be somewhat overwhelming. It’s a bustling time of year with the official holiday shopping season kicking off, Christmas tree lightings, and Santas just around every corner. Here are a few of the most heart-warming events for the whole family to enjoy without having to venture too far west.
Disney On Ice – Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale – November 23, 24, or 25
This year’s theme is “Mickey’s Search Party,” inviting children in the audience to help Mickey Mouse find Tinker Bell, with the help of Miguel, Moana, Belle, and Elsa. According to executive VP and producer Nicole Feld, you can expect captivating performances and a lot of audience interaction. “With this production of Disney on Ice… we have pushed the action past the ice, expanding the stage beyond our traditional surface. The excitement will not only happen in front of fans, but all around them with characters emerging from the stands in unexpected places for one-on-one delightful moments.” Get tickets.
Magic of Lights – Jones Beach State Park – November 22-25
A drive-through lightshow is something you have to experience with your family at least once. Pile into your car for a leisurely two-mile drive through a holiday light show, set to seasonal music. The Holiday Village returns for the second year in a row, with hot cocoa, fireside smores, holiday movies, a hay maze, and pictures with jolly old Saint Nick. Buy your tickets online.
Festival of Trees – The Cradle of Aviation Museum, Garden City – November 23-25
What better way to welcome the winter season than with free indoor ice skating? The event promises a remarkable assortment of designer-decorated Christmas trees, along with a gingerbread village – all for sale. Vendors will be on-site offering the perfect toys and holiday gifts, including Department 56 villages. Watch dance and musical performances, decorate a cookie, or track down Santa for a photo opp. All proceeds benefit the Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Get more information.
Polar Express Trolley – Riverhead, Southampton – November 24-25
Though the Polar Express Trolley has been rolling along for five years now, the sixth year promises new spectacular surprises. “We used to pick up the people and take them to the North Pole to see Santa,” says North Fork Trolley General Manager Jay Mooney. “This year, it’s a whole production. They will be immersed in the Polar Express from the time they get there.” Performances throughout the ride, as well as singing and dancing shows at the North Pole have been added to the 90-minute trolley adventure. The event is recommended for ages 2+, and will include hot cocoa and cookies. Feel free to wear your pajamas while awaiting pickup at The All Star Bowling Alley. They’re expecting to sell 10,000 tickets this year at $55 a piece, available by calling 631-369-3031.
Connetquot River Boat Parade and Fireworks – Oakdale, November 24th
Who says fireworks are just for the 4th? With the earlier sunset time, you can expect a sparkling display by Grucci at about 7 pm. Prior to that, yacht owners deck out their boats for a unique holiday-themed water parade departing View Restaurant at 5:30, heading to the Snapper Inn and back. Other ideal vantage points include: Great River Town Ramp, Nicoll’s Point Marina, Oakdale Yacht, Timber Point Marina, and Vanderbilt’s Wharf. While the parade itself is free, venues may charge for parking and you’ll probably want to grab something to eat at one of these joints, too! If it rains, the event will take place on the 25th.
Christmas Celebration — Montauk Point Lighthouse, Montauk – November 25th
It costs $50,000 to light up the historic Montauk Point Lighthouse for the holiday season. Hopefully generous benefactors will step forward to ensure this tradition continues. Bring the family to see it for yourself. Festivities are tentatively scheduled to begin at 11 am, with the light switch flipped around 4 pm. You can expect speeches, raised glasses, a singing of the National Anthem, and a grand salute. Festivities include caroling, pony rides, cider, snacks, and the opportunity to meet Santa. The rain date is slated for Sunday, December 3rd. Updated details are available at the Montauk Chamber of Commerce website.
Contact Shine to make the most of your Thanksgiving holidays. We can provide fun, educational entertainment for children at your party. Or ask about our many enrichment workshops, classes, and field trips.