Posted by: Nancy
December 18, 2008
Grandparents looking forward to a visit from their favorite little nippers over the holidays might have a few panicky moments wondering how they can keep the kids happy and busy during down times between all the family festivities and fixins’. Fear not, you’ll be amazed at how many terrific, fun and exciting things going on in Tempe during the season that will appeal to the grandparents, the grandkids and their parents too. Here’s my quick list of holiday family fun for everyone. You won’t have to venture far to keep them busy, happy and left with lots of wonderful holiday memories with their grandparents.
1. The Velveteen Rabbit, Childsplay’s exquisite production of this holiday classic is on through December 21 at the gorgeous Tempe Center for the Arts. Childsplay productions are so beautiful and professionally done that they truly appeal to all audiences and this one is no exception. In other words, you don’t need to be a kid to love this show.
2. The IMAX at Arizona Mills always has several interesting, educational and entertaining movies, many in 3D. There’s nothing like experiencing a big lizard in your lap, as was the case with one show I saw several years ago about the Galapagos Islands. But, I digress. This year you can see the wonderful animated Polar Express and yes, it’s in 3D. I’ve seen both the regular and 3D versions and I have to say, the 3D version is awesome! At times you really feel the sensation of being on that train as it careens through the winter night on its way to the North Pole. And of course there are always other fascinating features in 3D as well at the IMAX at Arizona Mills.
3. Game Works at Arizona Mills is great for the video gamers. The games are beyond the usual garden variety of video games. Your grandkids will thank you for being such a cool grandparent and taking them to GameWorks.
4. Rainforest Café at Arizona Mills is a great family restaurant. The menu offers lots of variety and the mechanical jungle animals put on shows at regular intervals. I like the booth next to the elephants. It’s always a thrill when they trumpet. You’d swear they were real.
5. Paint a piece of pottery with the kids at As You Wish Pottery at Tempe Marketplace. You get to choose a ceramic piece to paint and decorate as you wish. The store fires it for you and you pick it up in a few days. It’s open seven days, which is great, especially if you’re looking for something to do on a Sunday. This is a great activity, even if you’re like me and not not too good with a paint brush because kids especially think grandma can do no wrong. And it’s a tremendous boost for their self confidence when their piece of pottery looks a lot better than grandma’s. Your grandkids will love it and love sharing this experience with you.
6. If they are staying through the first of the year, you can take the grandkids to Disney’s The Lion King at ASU Gammage. What child or adult wouldn’t just love to see this sumptuous production of another Disney favorite and sure-to-be classic? It runs from January 2 through February 8.
7. Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo is another favorite. I know, the zoo is in Phoenix, not Tempe, but it’s close. The Zoo is a terrific place, by day, but during the holidays, through January 11 it is transformed at night into one of the largest holiday lighting events in the southwest. There are light sculptures throughout the Zoo including life size elephants, orangutans and even a giraffe. What a treat it is to be outside enjoying our beautiful desert nights, especially if you’re from one of those frosty cold-weather states where it’s snowy, icy and freezing.
8. It’s a treat to drive around the great Tempe neighborhoods and check-out all the holiday light displays. Our beautiful weather inspires homeowners to get pretty creative. That creativity comes more easily when you don’t have to risk your neck slip slidin’ around on icy roofs and snowy yards in bitter cold to hang the lights. The adults will be amazed and the kids will be mesmerized by some of the more elaborate displays.
So there you have it–a few of my favorite granny-kid activities. Any of these fun activities will be a hit with the nippers for sure and you’ll have a ball spending this quality time with your grandkids. Keeps us young, maybe a little tired, but a young tired.