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- Indoor Play Centers
- New Year's activities
- Master Guide to the Holidays in Rochester!
- Holiday & Christmas Light Displays in the Rochester Area
- Cut your own Christmas tree! Here's where to go with your family!
- Holiday Break Camps
- Birthday parties
- Holiday Gift Guide 2014
- Upcoming open houses
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KidsOutAndAbout Rochester latest e-newsletter
Click here to receive our free weekly e-newsletter every Thursday morning!
KidsOutAndAbout's Master Guide to the Holidays
Holiday light displays throughout our area
Where to cut your Christmas tree
2014 Holiday gift guide - reviews from KOAA
Breakfasts/other meals with Santa
Save the date for:
January 3: Eastman Community Music School Early Childhood winter session begins
January 4: Last day of Golden Books exhibit at the MAG
January 6 & 8: Auditions for The Beverly Hillbillies at Stages
January 10 & 11: Solo Circus from TYKEs Theatre at the JCC
January 18: Musical Mystery Tour at Hochstein
January 18: Mendon Ponds Winterfest
January 13: Little Shop of Horrors opens at Geva
January 30: Tarzan the Musical from Stages at the Auditorium Center
Dear KidsOutAndAbout readers:
300 years ago, technology let me see. I have terrible eyesight. Without glasses (and now, contacts), I would have been a burden on my family, groping around my very limited world, assuming I didn't wander off a cliff or into the hearth fire or something. Thank you, optics.
150 years ago, technology let me eat without having to grow or slaughter the food myself. Instead of working backbreaking labor on a farm to feed my family, I get to go to Wegmans. A year of bad weather no longer causes mass starvation. Thank you, agricultural and food processing innovations, and the Industrial Revolution.
75 years ago, technology let me work. Running a household used to be a lot more work than it is now. Before about 1950, it was difficult (and socially unusual) for women to have a fulfilling career and also manage homes and families. Thank you, washing machines, vacuums, Lysol, microwaves, and all of your sister machines and products that radically reduce the work it takes to make a household function smoothly.
20 years ago, technology let me work from HOME. With my future children in mind, I was able to set up a home office to run a technology consulting company, and then, 6 years later, the web media company that became today's KidsOutAndAbout.com. I get to home school my kids while working right next to them.Thank you, computers. Thank you, Internet.
5 years ago, technology let me know... everything. Well, not really everything. But with my iPhone in my hand, no sooner does a question form in my mind than I can get SIRI to find me a thousand possible answers. Thank you, satellites. Thank you, Apple.
It mostly looks like I'm thanking all of the things up there, I know. But really, I'm thanking PEOPLE. And it's not just Steve Jobs: So much of what we take for granted today is possible because we're all standing on the shoulders of giants: the men and women who came before us who used their minds to invent what now makes our lives safe, easy, comfortable, and long. I can SEE, even though nature didn't want me to. It's easy to forget how big a deal that is.
This Saturday, December 21, is the Winter Solstice. Every year on this day, my family celebrates a quintessentially modern new tradition: Lightbulb Day. On the "darkest evening of the year," the day we symbolically most need technology, we celebrate those who have made possible the comfort, safety, prosperity, happiness that we enjoy in this corner of the world. I invented a bunch of traditions when my husband and I were first married (described here in my Lightbulb Day article) that we continued even--and especially--after we had our own kids. It's all in the spirit of my personal motto (and, incidentally, the company mission of KidsOutAndAbout.com): Why not celebrate?
For those celebrating this week, I wish you all the light, warmth, and spirit of the season! Next week's newsletter--and the following week's--will arrive on Wednesday rather than Thursday.
P.S. I'm taking the kids and some out-of-town friends on a PERFECT Lightbulb Day adventure on Saturday: We're going out to Genesee Country Village to experience Yuletide in the Country... We're going right back to 1849, just before the invention of the actual light bulb.
2) KidsOutAndAbout's Master Guide to the Holidays is the one guide you'll need to the holidays in Rochester! Find out about all kinds of special holiday events at places like George Eastman House,Geva Theatre Center, Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Genesee Country Village, Nazareth Arts Center, and Marketplace Mall!
But there is lots more... Christmas and Chanukah events, Holiday light displays, and...
- Holiday light displays throughout our area (Let me know of any cool houses, streets, or neighborhoods not already listed!)
- Where to cut your Christmas tree
- 2014 Holiday gift guide - reviews from KOAA
- Breakfasts/other meals with Santa
- Appearances by Santa in the Rochester area (malls & much more!)
- Upcoming Nutcracker performances even though the RPO/RCB performance is over
- Upcoming performances of Handel's Messiah
- New Year's Eve events and activities for the family
A couple of SELLOUT notes:
a) The Nutcracker at Nazareth College Arts Center this weekend is SOLD OUT.
b) Breakfast with Santa at Seneca Park Zoo this weekend is also SOLD OUT.
3) Holiday traditions and gift ideas:
- 12 DAYS OF FAMILY - ideas for a new holiday tradition
- Astronomy Gifts for Star-Gazing Kids
- KidsOutAndAbout Holiday Gift Guide, especially Subscription Box Services
- Don't Just Give It, Live It! Ideas for Kids' Gifts That Aren't Toys
- Celebrate Lightbulb Day with your kids on the Winter Solstice... why NOT put one more cool tradition into the mix?
The Fresh Beat Band Greatest Hits Live features Kiki, Shout, Marina, and Twist performing in this brand new production featuring new hit songs such as "Walk Like an Egyptian" along with fan favorites from their live-action TV show and recent albums. The band will perform all of their biggest hits that teach preschoolers about music appreciation and how to express their feelings through movement, song and instrumental music. For more information on how to purchase tickets, click here. That link also gives you an EXCLUSIVE YouTube interview that I did with Tommy Hobson, a.k.a. "Shout" just before they started the tour. (He is a total mensch, by the way.) If your kids like Shout, they'll be inspired by this interview.
6) Come celebrate the holidays and theater!Spotlight Studios proudly presents the play "It's A Wonderful Life," based on the film of the same name. This year Spotlight is teaming up with the First Baptist Church of Fairport with help from the Fairport Partnership to create a production unlike any that Fairport has seen in years! The First Baptist Church of Fairport has opened its doors to the performers of Spotlight to have the production in their beautiful sanctuary. In returnSpotlight is donating all of the proceeds from this fund-raising production to the church's Save the Steeple fund to help repair the village icon. The holiday classic performed by some of the most talented kids and teens in the Rochester area! December 19-21 at the First Baptist Church of Fairport: Friday, December 19 at 7:30pm, Saturday, December 20 at 7:30pm; Sunday, December 21 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling Spotlight at 585-305-4767.
7) Steve and Marsi, owners of Clubhouse Fun Center, wanted us to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to let you know that they are open during the upcoming school breaks. They've even given us a special KidsOutandAbout only coupon as a little gift for all of our readers.
Click on the coupon to see it solo so you can print it and bring it into Clubhouse Fun Center, on Jay Scutti Blvd in Henrietta.
8) FRIDAY, December 19: Parents Night Out Tomorrow Night at The Sandbox in Fairport
Christmas shopping, wrapping, or just need a break? Bring your kids to The Sandbox indoor playground in Fairport on Friday, December 19 for a Parents Night Out from 5:30pm-8:30pm. Open play, pizza, crafts, fun, and supervision! Best for ages 2-6 (younger kids can stay if they are comfortable away from Mom and Dad). $20/child (ask about multi-child discount). Pre-registration is required; call 585-388-7263 to register or if you have questions.
9) Jump Club,at Winton Place, will be open EVERY DAY (except Christmas Day) from Friday, Dec 19 through Sunday, Jan 4. Click on the coupon to print your special deal! Only one per family needed per trip.
Need a last-minute and unique gift idea that kids will love? Jump Club's Frequent Jumper Pass" is on sale at a discounted price through Christmas Eve. Call Jump Club at 730-8900 for details or stop in to see them.
10) Win tickets to SOLO CIRCUS at TYKES THEATRE at the JCC on January 11!
SOLO CIRCUS is a fast-paced comedy-variety show for all ages featuring amazing magic, juggling, circus/sideshow stunts and audience interaction. Truly fun for the entire family! Rochester native Michael DuBois’ appearances on Jay Leno and David Letterman catapulted him to international recognition, and he has since performed his unique Solo Circus at over 500 colleges, cruise ships, theaters and resorts all over the world. The performances of Solo Circus are January 10 and 11 at the Jewish Community Center in Brighton. To enter the giveaway to win four tickets, click here for details.
11) PIRATE TOY FUND DRIVE is still chugging right along!
KidsOutAndAbout teams up with the Pirate Toy Fund Drive, as we do every year, to help them collect toys to help needy kids in our area for the holidays and year-round. Donate a new, unwrapped toy at area malls and Wegmans all the way through the new year! Here I am on News 10 NBC with Rebecca LeClair talking about why the toy drive is so important, and creative ways families can give together.
12) A CHRISTMAS CAROL is at Geva through December 27!
For over 26 years, Geva has produced Charles Dickens’ classic tale. This newest adaptation has been enchanting Rochester audiences of all ages since 2010. A Christmas Carol will awaken your heart and rekindle your spirit with magic, music, and merriment!
KidsOutAndAbout.com LOVES this production of A Christmas Carol. If you haven’t seen it in the last few years, read the KidsOutAndAbout review to find out what’s new and why it is special. Order tickets here, or by calling the box office at 232-GEVA (4382). Plus, HEADS-UP: They currently have tickets still available for two of their Christmas eve performances (noon and 4:30), PLUS two performances (Friday at 7:30 and Saturday at 2pm) AFTER CHRISTMAS.
Looking for something to do with the family this New Year's? Come to the City of Rochester's free celebration in the Convention Center. Downtown Rochester will play host to an abundance of fun-filled activities for the entire family. Free skate admission will be available to patrons for an Early New Year's Eve Skate at the Manhattan Square Rink and will continue into a late-evening open-skate session. If ice skating is not your cup of tea, the Convention Center will be home to three hours of kid-friendly entertainment for families, followed by a magnificent fireworks display!"
There's a DJ Dance Party with Jimmy C's Music Machine, giant bounce houses, obstacle course, airbrush tattoos, photo booths, caricature artists, magician, clowns and more! NEW THIS YEAR: Meet a popular princess character and snowman character along with Rochester's favorite superhero! The City's Rec on the Move staff will also have fun and crafts for the kids. Snacks and beverage will be available for purchase!
14) Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Golden Books at the Memorial Art Gallery: Exhibit closing January 4, so make sure you head there quick!
Fifty-seven masterpieces of original illustration art from American publishing’s best loved and most important picture-book series, Little Golden Books. Launched in 1942—the first full year of America’s involvement in the Second World War—Little Golden Books made high-quality illustrated books available at affordable prices for the first time to millions of young children and their parents. Among the artists who have contributed to the ambitious series are alumni of the Walt Disney Studios and American originals such as Garth Williams and Richard Scarry. Selected from the vast Random House archive will be examples from such picture-book classics as Tootle, I am a Bunny, The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse, The Color Kittens and I Can Fly. Sundays throughout the show @ 2 pm: Community members read from their favorite Golden Books. Join us every Sunday at 2 pm for a quick read by some distinguished, notable, noteworthy and nearly famous members of the community.
Long winter break this year leaving your kid bored? How about fencing camp to get your kids active and off the couch! 2014 Winter Fencing Camp is for newbies and experienced fencers ages 6-12 years old. The camp will be held at the Rochester Fencing Club from December 29-31 from 9-12pm each day. You can sign up for one or all three days. Cost is $120 for 3 days and $50 for a single day. On the fence about fencing? Check out the Kids Out and About interview with Iris Zimmermann, co-owner and Olympian, on why your kid should try fencing!
For more information please call 585-654-6047 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
16) Midtown Athletic Club in Rochester has holiday break camps!
Got a 5-to-12-year-old who's kinda interested in tennis? We can help. Tennis, Pizza and a Movie is Midtowns national flagship program offering soft exposure to a lifetime sport. With TPM, it's just about having a fun night out at the club. No need for a racquet, experience, or fancy shoes. Tennis, Pizza and a Movie has always been about having fun on the court with your friends and our pros. Register with a friend and mention this ad, and your enrollment is complimentary. We're just happy to have you play. Enroll by emailing Junior Athletic Director Tim Auerhahn at email@example.com
17) Classes start in January at TYLOG!
The Young Ladies of Grace ~ Developing the Heart, Body and Spirit of Young Ladies: The Young Ladies of Grace Performing Arts Academy is now accepting new students for the Spring Semester beginning in January! We are a unique Performing Arts Academy dedicated to developing young ladies with self confidence, self esteem, poise, grace, modesty and respect for themselves and others through the art of Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical Dance, Jazz Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Modeling, Acting, Voice and Pageant Training. Please visit our website theyoungladiesofgrace.com or call 585-350-8297 to register now!
18) New Creative Kiddos session starting January 22 in Fairport, special free preview party tomorrow
Creative Kiddos is a creative arts class taught by Amanda Meldrum that is designed for little minds to explore, learn and create using music, art, movement, theatre and much more! Kids have a blast singing, playing instruments, dancing, reading/acting out stories, doing art projects, all surrounding the Theme of the Day.
The fun starts January 22, 2015, but participants can sign up at any time during the session; classes will be pro-rated accordingly. The cost, $450 is only for the winter/spring semester (20 weeks), which works out to less than $10/hour!
3-year-olds are Thursdays, 9am-11:30am, and 4-year-olds are Fridays, 9am-11:30am. KidsOutAndAbout readers (and their friends) can bring their child for FREE to a showcase class on TOMORROW, December 12 from 10-11:30.
Call 585-290-5638 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register.
More information and a semester registration form is here.
19) Your child's artwork could be a balloon sculpture!
Airigami is coming back to the Sibley Building in February with another fabulous larger-than-life community balloon sculpture, and your child's imagination can be part of it!
If you could travel to the bottom of the ocean, what do you think you would find? Print out the special porthole at this link, have your child draw his or her idea, and put his or her name, age, parent or guardian's name and phone on the back. Mail your finished drawing to Airigami, 1115 East Main St. Rochester, NY 14609 or scan and email to email@example.com by Jan 15, 2015.
OR you can find this printout at the Strong Museum from now through January 15. The sheets can be found at a table in the museum's Art Express area on the first floor, created using the Strong's art materials, and placed in a collections bin located at Art Express.
KidsOutAndAbout is excited to be an annual sponsor of Airigami's contribution to the Rochester community.
20) THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here.)
Thursday, December 18: Model Train Display at The Garden Factory. The renowned Garden Factory model train display opens for business the day after Thanksgiving and will run its daily rounds until December 31st.
Thursday, December 18: Christmas Musical - Deaf and Hearing Cast at Anchor Christian Church. FREE EVENT - Looking for a Christmas event to warm your heart? Looking for something a bit different from the same old Christmas story? Presented in ASL and spoken English. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can save you a spot.
Thursday, December 18: *American Girl Book Club* at Barnes & Noble Webster. The American Girl Book Club will be reading a December holiday themed book for this festive month, Addy's Surprise by Connie Porter!
Thursday, December 18: The Fresh Beat Band "Greatest Hits Live!' at Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL) (Auditorium Theatre). The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon's preschool music group and stars of the hit Emmy Award-winning TV series of the same name, are bringing an all new concert to Albany's Palace Theatre! See Kiki, Shout, Marina, and Twist perform all of their hits!
21) FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here)
Friday, December 19: Gala Holiday Pops at Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). Its Rochesters most popular holiday musical traditionGala Holiday Pops! Celebrate the joy of the season as the RPO and beloved Festival High School Chorale perform your favorite carols.
22) SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here - you won't believe how much!)
Saturday, December 20: Winter Festival Day at Eastman Community Music School. Come share the gift of music at the ECMS Winter Festival/Homecoming: a full day of free recitals and festive performances throughout campus all instruments, all ages, all free!
Saturday, December 20: Bowling and Lunch with Santa at AMF Empire Lanes . Family event includes 2 hours of bowling and lunch with Santa. Each child recieves small gift and goodie bag presented by Santa. Lunch includes Pizza, Chicken Tenders, Fries and Soda. Bring your camera!!!
Saturday, December 20: Christmas at RCCM - The Greatest Christmas Celebration in Town! at RCCM International. The most incredible Christmas event in town! Featuring a thrilling 4D ride, an amazing stage show, a journey through Bethlehem, & a country jamboree. Also, animals, food & fun! (Religious.) Dec 17-24, 2014.
Saturday, December 20: Rock n' Skate at Village Sports. Come join the fun on the ICE at Village Sports! We turned our open skate into a dance party! Check out the laser lights, music, and enjoy some food! Saturday nights!-Check our website for cancellations. See you on the ice!
Saturday, December 20: Special Santa Trains this December! at N.Y. Museum of Transportation and Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Take a ride back to another time and create special memories with your family this holiday season! Join the New York Museum of Transportation and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum for special Christmas events weekends in December!
Saturday, December 20: Holiday House Presents American Girl Doll at Walworth Library Holidays over the Centuries at Walworth-Seely Public Library. Join us at the Walworth Library for Christmas adventures from Americas past- featuring Miss Felicity Merriman (1774); Kirsten Larsen (1854) & Kit Kittredge (1934).
23) SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS (Lots more here)
Sunday, December 21: PERFORMANCE: It's A Wonderful Life at Spotlight Theatre Arts. The holiday classic performed by some of the most talented kids and teens in the Rochester area! December 19-21 at the First Baptist Church of Fairport
Sunday, December 21: Come see Santa and friends at Colony Lane Circle of Lights. Come see over 50,000 lights, computerized light show nightly 5-10. Santa and friends on Fridays and Saturdays starting on December 5th 6-8:00 pictures and Goodies. Help our food drive for RHAFT by bring non perishable goods. Tune to 91.9
Sunday, December 21: Holiday in Vegas at Blackfriars Theatre. Well known vocal impersonator Frank Torchio stars in this new comedic musical with Frank's Rat Pack featuring Ol' Blue Eyes, Durante, Dino, Satchmo and other surprises.
Sunday, December 21: Holiday Break Activities at The Corning Museum of Glass. Make the Museum part of your holiday tradition! Take your familys picture in front of our 14-foot ornament tree or get in the holiday spirit by going on a Winter Wonders Gallery Hunt.
Sunday, December 21: NYS Ballet: The Nutcracker: SOLD OUT! at Nazareth College Arts Center. This production is sold out. (Join New York State Ballet (NYSB) for their magical rendition of The Nutcracker, the classic fairy tale centered on a German family's Christmas Eve celebration and a dreamland filled with a cast of fanciful characters.)
Sunday, December 21: Holiday Music and Light Show at The Garden Factory. One fantastic room, perfectly dark until the switch is flipped and the lights come on, filling the room with lights that sparkle like the stars.
24) Our fictional families that take their kids to activities based on their particular interests. Here is what they are up to this weekend.
The Walker family focuses on health and physical fitness.
Friday: Free Family Night at the SE YMCA at YMCA - Southeast (Pittsford)
Saturday: Skate with Santa! at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex
Sunday: Penfield Farmers' Market at Grossmans Garden & Home
Thursday: Tabletop Tree Display & Auction at George Eastman House
The Bravo Family loves the arts.
Friday: Gala Holiday Pops at Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)
Saturday: Science Saturdays-Aquatics at Henrietta Public Library
Sunday: Holiday Concerts from Local Music Students at Rochester Academy of Music & Arts
Thursday: The Fresh Beat Band "Greatest Hits Live!' at Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL) (Auditorium Theatre)
This is the Woods Family. They love nature and the great outdoors.
Friday: Stokoe Farms Christmas Trees: Weekends until Christmas at Stokoe Farms
Saturday: MEET Pickles, the African Pygmy Hedgehog at The Barn Owl
Sunday: Yuletide in the Country at Genesee Country Village & Museum
The Smart family focuses on educational and cultural activities.
Friday: Minecraft Game Nites at ArtsROC School of Art, Music & Language
Saturday: Carol with the Coils at Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC)
Sunday: Special Santa Trains this December! at N.Y. Museum of Transportation and Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum
Thursday: Kids' LEGO Club at Arnett Branch Library
The Wall Family prefers indoor activities.
Friday: PERFORMANCE: It's A Wonderful Life at Spotlight Theatre Arts
Saturday: Rhythm Connect--Drum with Me! Parent Child Class at Rhythm Connect
Sunday: RMSC Players present The Night Before Christmas at Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC)
Thursday: DINOSAURS Exhibition at Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC)
25) And here's your weekend, presented day-by-day for your convenience!
Friday, December 19
Saturday, December 20
Sunday, December 21
Have a wonderful weekend!
Congratulations to all Rochester-area organizations who made the list of 2014's Top 20 Places to Take Rochester Kids!
2014's Top 20:
1. Strong National Museum of Play
2. Seneca Park Zoo
3. TYKEs Theatre
4. Rochester Museum & Science Center
6. My local library
7. Lollypop Farm
8. Stokoe Farms
9. Genesee Country Village & Museum
11. Jungle Jolt
12. Rochester Children's Theatre
13. Jump Club
15. Darien Lake Amusement Park
16. Wild Wings Nature Center at Mendon Ponds
17. Jewish Community Center
18. Brown's Berry Patch
19. Wickham Farms
20. Clubhouse Fun Center
Click here to find out who won in each category!