By Taylor Villanueva
Signal Staff Writer
The best way to get into the spirit of the holidays is to celebrate this time as a family. If you’re looking for ways to spend the kids’ winter vacation, you don’t have to go far to entertain. Here are some budget-friendly options for families to celebrate the upcoming holidays.
Even in Southern California, some places give the illusion of the winter season with holiday lights and “snow.” But a winter train ride to the “North Pole” to visit Santa Claus is a fool-proof way to make it feel like Christmas.
Fillmore & Western Railway Co. features holiday train rides for families to enjoy. One of its featured train rides is the North Pole Express. This one-hour ride includes cookies and milk, Christmas carols and a visit from Santa Claus himself. The vintage train makes its way all the way to the “North Pole,” where kids can find Santa and his elves.
The North Pole Express runs until Dec. 26. Adult tickets are $32 and kids ages two to 12 are $22. Children under two years old can ride on an adult’s lap for free.
Reserve your tickets here.
Fillmore & Western Railway Co. also has a three-hour train ride called the Sugar Plum Express. Santa will be on board to meet all the children. Guests will arrive at their destination and be able to look around at different craft vendors and even visit Santa’s workshop.
If you’re willing to travel a little farther, you can attend Griffith Park’s Holiday Light Festival Train Ride. The train rides through Dec. 30 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). You can find more information and book tickets on the Griffith Park Train Rides website.
This year, some of the performances at the Canyon Theatre Guild include “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Winter Writer.”
Families can also take a short trip to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to watch “The Wonderful Winter of Oz,” described as a “holiday version of a classic fairytale.” Showgoers can purchase tickets based on their budget.
Another way to get into the holiday spirit as a family is to explore the different light displays in Santa Clarita, which could also be a family tradition. Driving around the different neighborhoods to look for lights is one way to search for the best-lit streets.
Families can also get up and moving with a classic winter tradition. Ice skating will put you in the holiday spirit. Ice Station Valencia even has special events for the holidays, including snow days. This event includes hot cocoa with skating admission. Tickets are $12 for children and $9 for adults. Check the Ice Station Valencia website for updates on snow days.
If you’re willing to make a short drive, you can skate at the Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square in Los Angeles. This yearly tradition costs $9, with a $5 skate rental. The Holiday Ice Rink is open until Jan. 21, 2019.
Additionally, some elementary schools have special winter family activities.
Plum Canyon Elementary School is one of the schools hosting a holiday boutique. Children can enjoy the different vendors, grab some cookies and hot cocoa and meet Santa.
Children can take a trip to Santa’s Village at His Way Community Church. This event features pony rides, free food, a petting zoo, pictures with Santa and more. Find event details on the His Way website, www.ehisway.org.
If you’re looking for discounted holiday experiences, Groupon has year-round deals and creative ideas for the whole family. Just type “kids activities” into the search bar to see daily deals and discounts that are constantly updated.