A SouthernMamas reader asked for suggestions on daytrip getaways during the holiday season. The kids are out of school and there’s finally time to explore. We love the idea! Here are a few holiday happenings nearby.
1. Celebrate the holidays @ the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, let the kids toast the new year with apple juice and see the new baby bonobo born at the Zoo last month.
From 10 AM-1 PM on Dec 31, a Radio Disney Celebrity and DJ perform for JaxZoo’s Annual Noon Year’s Eve Celebration. Radio Disney live entertainment, games, prizes and free noisemakers and hats special entertainment, games, prizes, and an apple juice toast at (a much-more kid-friendly) 12 noon.
On Dec 26 – 30, and Jan. 1 – 3, from 10 AM-4 PM each day, areas of the zoo will be highlighted to showcase the different parts of the world that the animals are from at the World Animal Festival. Live entertainment (on the weekends only), information booths, cultural crafts, a giant inflatable slide, bounce house, animal encounters, prize drawings, and visits from Jazoo, the Zoo’s friendly lion mascot.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95. For more info, click here.
2. The 20th annual Holiday Festival of Lights in Charleston SC
Through Jan. 3 @ James Island County Park. Includes a 3-mile drive through more than 2 million sparkling lights and hundreds of light displays. Then walk through Santa’s Village & Winter Wonderland
3. Holiday events at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC
-Catch the Waddle Wagon, a new up-close encounter penguin program
Through Sun. Dec. 27 at 1:30 PM Saturdays and Sundays
Only this holiday season, join educators and staff as one of the aquarium’s Magellanic penguins is escorted through the Great Hall in a special custom made “waddle wagon.” See a penguin up close, then afterwards at 2 p.m. to see the penguin feeding program and learn more about the colorful lives of penguins.
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat. and Sun 11 AM and 1 PM
The South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program is opening up the renowned Sea Turtle Hospital five days a week for behind-the scenes tours. Guests will discover firsthand the extraordinary care that is provided to sick and injured sea turtles. Stand inches from rescued sea turtles ranging from 6 to over 300 pounds. A behind the scenes tour is a perfect family activity this holiday season. Tickets: $10 for adults and $5 for children after general admission or membership to the Aquarium.
4. Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia SC
6-9 PM through Jan. 3 Closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31
Nearly one million twinkling lights, animal images, music in motion lights, larger-thank-life holiday cards created by local students, nightly visits with Santa through Christmas Eve, Jingle Bell Bonfire, hot cocoa, marshmallows and festive foods for purchase.