Columbus and Bloomington Area Holiday Events and Activities Guide | 2015

Columbus and Bloomington Area Holiday Events and Activities Guide | 2015

Columbus and Bloomington

The holiday season is upon us, which means Indy with Kids has the latest and greatest of information for all the family-friendly festive must-do events and activities!  Here, we are featuring all the jolly happenings throughout the Columbus and Bloomington areas for November and December listed in chronological order by date.  Some of the festivities below may require registration and sell out fast, so be sure to scroll through the entire list carefully to find what works best for your family during this most wonderful time of the year!  We will be updating this list with new information as we receive it.  From the Indy with Kids Family to Yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with comfort and joy!  

 

NOVEMBER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Hoosier National Forest – Daily – Check Website for Closings and other Alerts

Looking for some outdoor family fun? Create your own family holiday treasure hunt for pinecones in the Hoosier National Forest, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Bloomington. Visitors are welcome to collect pine cones which are often gathered by families to create crafts and Christmas decorations. Pine stands are found throughout the Hoosier National Forest, which makes locating and collecting simple. Consider making the day a community service project to help protect the forest and its wildlife by bringing gloves and trash bags to clean up any litter found during your treasure hunt for pinecones. For more information on the Hoosier National Forest call (866) 302-4173.  

 

Jump-n-Joey’s – Open Daily

Are your children bouncing off the walls with excitement for this holiday season?

Let them burn off energy at this bouncy play land on the west side of Bloomington.

11:00 to 8:00 Monday – Thursday

11:00 to 9:00 Friday – Saturday

1:00 to 6:00 Sunday

*Socks are Required

*Who Can Bounce: The bounce houses are for kids 12 and younger (includes a toddler area), but there’s also an arcade for all ages. $8 Admission for children 36 inches or taller. Children under 36 inches are only $4. Bring plenty of dollar bills for the arcade games!

 

Hoosier Heights – Daily – Check Schedule on Website

Are your children climbing the walls with excitement for this holiday season?  Then head to Hoosier Heights in Bloomington, so they can burn off energy!  

*Who Can Climb: Anybody who can safely use the equipment (i.e. not too large or small for our harnesses, not too light or heavy to be belayed) and physically able is welcome to top rope climb. As bouldering does not require a rope, anybody can boulder as long as they feel comfortable falling on the pads.  Belayers must be 15 years of age or older. All climbers and belayers must be approved as safe and eligible by Hoosier Heights staff.  For more information call (812) 824-6414.

 

James A. Henderson Playground and The Lucky Climber inside The Commons

Do your children need a break from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Sit back and relax while supervising your children at this fun indoor playground allowing them to burn off energy. Open Daily.

The Commons Playground Areas:

  • Toddler Area (ages 6 months -2 years)
  • Preschool Area (ages 2 – 5 years)
  • School Age Area (ages 5 – 12 years)

Playground Hours:

Monday-Thursday 7:00a-9:00p

Friday & Saturday 7:00a-10:00p

Sunday 10:00a-8:00p

 

IU World’s Fare

November 12th 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome

Bring your family to the university’s largest multicultural event of the year at the IN Memorial Union! Experience authentic ethnic foods from all over the world as you sample a diverse variety of delicious, traditional dishes. Meet people from around the globe and enjoy regional art, dance, and music. 17 international student groups will have interactive exhibits and diverse performances to celebrate their home-country’s unique culture.

*Admission is FREE and open to the public.

*Food tickets are $5 each and include 8 samples.

 

Holiday Creations Craft Show and Sale in Columbus

November 14th 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donner Center Free Admission. Shop more than 35 vendor booths featuring unique handmade items. Concessions will be available for purchase. Information: (812) 376-2680.

 

Bloomington Handmade Market – 2015 Holiday Show

November 14th 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome

Come enjoy 68 makers, 2 food trucks, and 1 photo booth along with COUNTLESS amounts of fun for your family!!! Located at the Bloomington Convention Center at 3rd and College and free parking is available on site. Admission to BHM is FREE and open to the public! Please note that while many vendors have the means to accept credit cards, not all of them do, so bring plenty of cash for your holiday shopping experience!  

 

Paws & Claws Masquerade Ball

November 14th 8:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome

Tis the season of giving! Please consider attending this family-friendly event to support the Exotic Feline Rescue Center by putting on your nicest outfit, your favorite mask and come dance the night away at Indiana University Auditorium! Advanced reservations required by purchasing tickets for $50 per person at this link. Click here for more info.

 

Family Craft Day at Mathers Museum of World Cultures:  Baskets

November 15th 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.  All Ages Welcome

Explore baskets around the world, and then try your hand at making your own during this fun, FREE, family event.

 

Holiday Wreath Making Class Hope, IN

November 19 6pm-8pm or November 21 10am-Noon Haw Creek Heritage Center Learn to make a live evergreen wreath complete with festive decorations ready to hang on your door just in time for the holidays. $20 per student ($16 for BCHS members) Registration Required (812) 372-3541. Participants must be at least 18 years old.

 

Christmas of Yesteryear

November 20th 5:30 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. FREE!

Hope Town Square on Main Street: Featuring the arrival of Santa! Enjoy shops open late, a live Nativity, carriage rides into Hope’s past with costumed characters and strolling carolers a bake sale, cookie decorating and crafts at the Yellow Trail Museum.

 

Columbus Symphony Orchestra Presents O’er the Fields We Go

November 22nd 3:30 P.M. All Ages Welcome

Commons Mall FREE Christmas Concert

For more information contact Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

 

Holiday at the Farm at Shireman Homestead in Columbus

November 27th through 29th  from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome

Visit Santa, get a treat at the Treat House, take a wagon ride and more holiday fun!

 

WonderLab Museum

November 27th Shows: 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm All Ages Welcome

Tickets: $2 per person, plus museum admission. Limited Space. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the museum welcome desk the day of the program.

Learn about the extreme climate challenges, the sledding gear, and the dogs of the Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race during these shows presented by retired teacher “Finney” Aufder Heyde, the first Teacher on the Trail, with two of her dogs, a St Bernard-Newfoundland-Great Pyrenees mix and a Newfoundland/Great Pyrenees mix. There will be an opportunity to meet and pet the dogs.

 

Canopy of Lights

Begins November 27th Downtown Bloomington on the Courthouse Square  

Join Downtown Bloomington in celebrating the holiday season as Santa flips the switch to transform downtown into a sparkling winter wonderland featuring 27 miles of lights. That’s 240,000 bulbs! This is the official holiday season kick-off event for the Bloomington area. Free Parking Downtown All Day Friday, November 27th & 28th.

 

Canopy of Lights Schedule of Events:

5:30 P.M.

Kid-friendly performance by Bloomington Symphony Orchestra at Buskirk Chumley Theater. Tickets on sale Online now or call (812) 323-3020

6:00 P.M.

Windfall Dancing Elves and Bloomington Brass Band on Kirkwood.

Bloomington Chamber Singers inside Fountain Square.

Monroe County Courthouse featuring a 40 foot decorated tree under the rotunda.

Music Makers singing inside Fountain Square at Stefano’s Ice Café

Cookies for Critters at Goods For Cooks

Local First Launch of Gift Guide inside Royale Hair Parlor on north side of Square

7:00 P.M.

A Sparkling Tradition Lighting Ceremony Canopy of Lights and Hospice Tree Lighting Help Santa and Polka Dot light thousands of sparkling lights around the Courthouse Square. Join local dignitaries including MC Keith Klein and the Bloomington Brass Band in a community sing-along. Hear the Cardinal Stage Company “Mary Poppins” performers. Photos with Santa Following lighting ceremony in on the lower level of Fountain Square by the fountain for $5.  

8:00 P.M.

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra at Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Special guests include Mayor Mark Kruzan, IU’s Musical Beginnings Program, Santa and his elves. Pre-concert Christmas cheer provided in lobby.

 

Santa’s Mailbox

November 27 – December 16

Children are invited to drop a letter to Santa at Fountain Square Santa Mailbox in South Atrium. To ensure a response from Santa, please include child’s name and address (legibly written, please). FREE!

 

Window Walk

November 27 thru December 31

Stroll the downtown sidewalks and view the decorated holiday windows while shopping or enjoying the beautiful holiday lights.  

 

Photos with Santa at Fountain Square

Beginning November 28th through the Holiday Season

Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm; Sundays Noon – 4 pm; and, December 21 – 24: 10 am – 4 pm. Santa is located on the lower level of Fountain Square by the fountain.

Each photo is $5. Personal cameras may be used as long as one photo is purchased.

 

Holiday Market in Downtown Bloomington  

November 28th 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. Showers Common and City Hall

Free Admission. Free Parking All Day. Shop local farm vendors for fresh-from-the-farm produce, meat, cheese, honey, greenery and wreaths. Visit and shop art and fine craft vendors as well as prepared food vendors, and enjoy train rides on the Snowflake Express (additional cost), live reindeer, holiday music by Harvey Phillips’ TubaSantas.

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! And ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

November 29th 4:00 P.M. BCT Theater Tickets: $3

The Buskirk-Chumley will make you sing ‘fahoo forays, dahoo dorays’ this holiday season with a double feature screening of these classic shorts.

 

Miracle on 34th Street Buskirk-Chumley Theater

November 29th 7:00 P.M. Tickets: $5 Adults and $3 Children

Originally released in 1947, the film features Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn), the nice old man that claims to be Santa, Susan Walker ( Natalie Wood), the sweet but skeptical second-grader, and Fred Gailey (John Payne, the noble attorney who sets out to prove in a court of law that Mr. Kringle is Santa Claus. This holiday classic is known as a comedy, a romance, and full of heart.

 

December Events and Activities

Hoosier National Forest – Daily – Check Website for Closings and other Alerts

Looking for some outdoor family fun? Create your own family holiday treasure hunt for pinecones in the Hoosier National Forest, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Bloomington. Visitors are welcome to collect pine cones which are often gathered by families to create crafts and Christmas decorations. Pine stands are found throughout the Hoosier National Forest, which makes locating and collecting simple. Consider making the day a community service project to help protect the forest and its wildlife by bringing gloves and trash bags to clean up any litter found during your treasure hunt for pinecones. For more information on the Hoosier National Forest call (866) 302-4173.

 

Jump-n-Joey’s – Open Daily

Are your children bouncing off the walls with excitement for this holiday season?

Let them burn off energy at this bouncy play land on the west side of Bloomington.

11:00 to 8:00 Monday – Thursday

11:00 to 9:00 Friday – Saturday

1:00 to 6:00 Sunday

*Socks are Required

*Who Can Bounce: The bounce houses are for kids 12 and younger (includes a toddler area), but there’s also an arcade for all ages. $8 Admission for children 36 inches or taller. Children under 36 inches are only $4. Bring plenty of dollar bills for the arcade games!

 

Hoosier Heights – Daily – Check Schedule on Website

Are your children climbing the walls with excitement for this holiday season?  Then head to Hoosier Heights in Bloomington, so they can burn off energy!  

*Who Can Climb: Anybody who can safely use the equipment (i.e. not too large or small for our harnesses, not too light or heavy to be belayed) and physically able is welcome to top rope climb. As bouldering does not require a rope, anybody can boulder as long as they feel comfortable falling on the pads.  Belayers must be 15 years of age or older. All climbers and belayers must be approved as safe and eligible by Hoosier Heights staff.  For more information call (812) 824-6414.

 

James A. Henderson Playground and The Lucky Climber inside The Commons

Do your children need a break from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping? Sit back and relax while supervising your children at this fun indoor playground allowing them to burn off energy. Open Daily.

The Commons Playground Areas:

  • Toddler Area (ages 6 months -2 years)
  • Preschool Area (ages 2 – 5 years)
  • School Age Area (ages 5 – 12 years)

Playground Hours:

Monday-Thursday 7:00a-9:00p

Friday & Saturday 7:00a-10:00p

Sunday 10:00a-8:00p

 

Stories with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mantle Scene in Downtown Bloomington

December 3rd 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Fountain Square South Atrium

Santa will be reading stories and singing with children. Milk and cookies will be served. FREE!

 

Mathers Museum of World Cultures After Hours Event:  Craftapalooza

December 3rd 6:00 p.m. – 10 p.m. All Ages Welcome

Craft the night away! Make pop-up holiday cards, ornaments, and other hands-on items during this FREE event with snacks and music!

 

WonderLab Museum’s First Friday Evening Science of Art: Paper Crafts

December 4th 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. All Ages Welcome

Members: Free; Nonmembers: Half-Price Admission ($3.50)

Explore the art and science of paper crafts as you make homemade paper, create an origami gift box, and produce a card that lights up! Your projects will make great holiday gifts.  A small plate meal will be available to buy in the WonderLab café. Free parking spaces are available in the 4th Street Parking Garage after 6:00 pm.  

Living Nativity at St. Peter Lutheran Evangelical Church in Waymansville

Dec. 4th 6:00 P.M. – 8:30 P.M. Located off State Road 58 in Waymansville, on County Road 930S (Lutheran Lake Road). King James the camel will be there along with other animals. Cookies, cocoa and coffee will be served in the parish hall.

 

Holiday at the Farm at Shireman Homestead in Columbus

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from December 4-20; and, Monday December 21 through Wednesday December 23 from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome.

Visit Santa, get a treat at the Treat House, take a wagon ride and more holiday fun!

 

First Fridays for Families at Commons Mall

December 4th 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm All Ages Welcome

Nugent-Custer Performance Hall – FREE!

Musician Dave Rudolf brings a holiday show that will have kids twisting to the “Candy Cane Twist” and hula hooping to “Santa’s Got a Zoot Suit.” The audience will enjoy some traditional holiday tunes and parodies such as “Oh Come, Oh Come, I Read the Manual,” “Frosty the Slow Man” and lots of other Yuletide spoofs.

 

3rd Annual Christmas Village at The Commons

December 5th 1:00 pm – 5pm All Ages Welcome

Lower Miller-Tangeman Lobby and Nugent-Custer Performance Hall – FREE!

Live music, food, children’s games, holiday displays, holiday vendors with handcrafted items and other offerings. For more information call (812) 376-2681.  

 

25th Annual Festival of Lights Parade Columbus, IN

December 5th 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. FREE!

See Santa appear in this annual Columbus holiday tradition! Immediately following the parade, be sure to stay downtown, stroll toward Columbus City Hall and celebrate the spirit of the season with QMIX Christmas Musical Fireworks choreographed to all your favorite Christmas songs. QMIX 107.3 presents the Christmas Musical Fireworks as their gift to the community. Download the Parade Route Map Here. Send an email for more information. Follow the Parade on FaceBook.  

25th Annual QMIX Christmas Musical Fireworks

(immediately after the 25th Annual Festival of Lights Parade Columbus, IN)

December 5th 7:15 P.M. Between Second and Washington streets. FREE! Fireworks set to holiday music. Free hot chocolate and cookies, plus pictures with Santa. Easterling Entertainment will also be on hand creating balloon figures.

 

Latino Family Parranda and Community Celebration at Mathers Museum December 5th 2:00 p.m. – 4 p.m. All Ages Welcome

Join us with friends and family during this holiday season to celebrate the annual Latino Family Parranda and Community Celebration. The FREE event will feature singing, dancing, food, arts and crafts, and will be sponsored and hosted by the Latino Faculty and Staff Council, the Latino Graduate Student Association, and La Casa/The Latino Cultural Center.  

 

Columbus City Band’s “Sounds of the Season and Christmas Classics”

December 6th 2:00 P.M. FREE at The Commons in Columbus.

Contact Columbus City Band for more information.

 

Family Craft Day:  Winterfest at Mathers Museum of World Cultures

December 6th 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. All Ages Welcome

Make it a “handmade holiday” during this FREE, family-friendly afternoon of DIY snowflake mobiles, holiday ornaments, upcycled journals, and other items to give or keep in celebration of the season.

 

Stories with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mantle Scene in Downtown Bloomington

December 10th 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm South Atrium of Fountain Square

Santa will be reading stories and singing with children. Milk and cookies will be served. FREE!

 

Special Needs Photo Session with Santa in Downtown Bloomington

December 11th Noon – 6 PM at the Mantle Scene at Fountain Square.

Discounted Price of $3 per photo.

 

Clearnote Christmas Spectacular

December 11th Doors Open at 6:30 P.M. Show 7:00 P.M. All Ages Welcome

A FREE annual Christmas concert including innovative arrangements of classic carols and original works. A Bloomington tradition for over 8 years! Call (812) 825-2684.

 

“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” The Radio Play by Joe Landry at The Harlequin

December 11-20 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:00 P.M.; Sundays 3:00 P.M.

A fun presentation of this Christmas family favorite. Ticket info or call (812) 343-4597.

 

“Youth and Yuletide” Mill Race Players Children’s Christmas Production

December 12th 6:00 P.M. $5 Admission Per Person at the event

Columbus East High School Auditorium: Families will enjoy this musical featuring Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and other holiday characters. Contact Mill Race Players.

 

“Christmas!” with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir at Judson Erne Auditorium at Columbus North High School

Two Shows December 13 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets: $10 to $35 available at (812) 376-2638, ext. 110.

 

Pajamborie at The Ballroom at Fountain Square (3rd Floor)

December 15th 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Children come dressed in PJs for this annual event. Note: Only 2 adults per family and tickets required. Festivities will include Polka Dot the Clown, Christmas cartoons, children’s crafts, supplies for children to write letters to Santa, a snowball fight and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. For tickets, please call (812) 332-0053 or email Cathy Johnson.  

 

Stories with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Mantle Scene in Downtown Bloomington

December 17th 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm South Atrium of Fountain Square

Santa will be reading stories and singing with children. Milk and cookies will be served. FREE!

 

Cardinal Stage presents: “Mary Poppins”

December 18 – January 2 Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Age Recommendation: 4 years and older Run Time: 2 and a half hours

Join Cardinal Stage while the practically perfect nanny soars into the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for a “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” holiday musical adventure! Ticket prices and show times vary. For more information call the Box Office at (812) 336-9300.  

 

Dancers Studio, Inc. of Columbus Presents Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

Two Performances on December 19th at 1 PM and 6 PM

Purchase Tickets Online. For more information call (812) 376-8080.  

 

Reindeer Reserve: A Live Arctic Animal Show at WonderLab Museum

December 19th and 20th Shows: 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm All Ages Welcome

Tickets: $3, plus museum admission. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the museum welcome desk the day of the show. Learn about the amazing adaptations of Arctic animals to their extremely cold climate during energetic shows by Silly Safaris. Meet and touch a live adult reindeer (featured Saturday) and a baby reindeer (featured Sunday).

 

Alfie the Talking Christmas Tree and Karen Kovich Caricature Artist

December 21st 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Fountain Square South Atrium

Come talk to Alfie and have a caricature picture drawn of your child. FREE!

 

About The Author

Katie Surfleet

Katie is a freelance writer and photographer. She loves to be out in nature, hiking, photographing wildlife and exploring all the wonders of the great outdoors. Katie is also passionate about volunteerism by giving back to the community in various ways. She has a son who she adores and is happily married to her best friend since 2007. Follow Katie in her adventures on Instagram @funwithblake.