Tired of being cozy at home? Don your most festive mask and check out these local attractions. All are following public-health guidelines, with limited capacity, social distancing and other requirements in place.
Reflections at Descanso (www.descansogardens.org):This year’s celebration at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge features daytime festivities through Jan. 10. The celebration will include art pieces, special plantings, self-guided activities and a Wishing Tree created by artist Kaz Yokou Kitajima. Guests can also stroll the Golden Grove with clues about wildlife among the oaks, take photos beneath floral arches, pause at a mirror tree in the Camelia Forest and visit a family of deer sculptures created from natural and recycled materials. Hours will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Advance tickets must be purchased online. Admission is $15 adults, $11 students, $5 ages 5-12 and free for ages 4 and younger. The gardens will be open every day except for Dec. 25.
Knott’s Taste of Merry Farm (www.knotts.com): Knott’s transforms with enchanted decor, twinkling lights and festive garland serving as a backdrop to tasty holiday foods. Choose from among more than 60 unique food and drink items, including fully loaded turkey dinner tater tots and Comet’s cinnamon bun with a maple glaze and candied pecans. Do some holiday shopping at stores filled with exclusive Knott’s specialty items or discover handmade and personalized gifts from more than 23 artisan local crafters, including Knott’s famous glassblower and chainsaw carver. Scheduled dates include Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 18-24, 26-30 and Jan. 1-3. A tasting card is required for entry. Adult tasting cards for ages 12 and up, $40, include five food tastings. Junior tasting cards for ages 3-11, $20, include three food tastings.
Underwood Christmas on the Farm (www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com): From 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends through Dec. 20, families can visit the farm’s Moorpark location, enjoy tractor rides and purchase trees from Big Wave Dave’s Christmas Trees. Distanced visits with Santa (bring your camera!) are happening from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 and Dec. 12 and 13. Admission is $5 per person. Santa visits are free. California sleigh rides with the farm’s draft horses are offered for an additional fee.
Grand Park Holidays (www.grandparkla.org): Visit the holiday tree on the Jerry Moss Plaza at The Music Center. From Dec. 7-Jan. 7, holiday decor will also be up at Grand Park. This will include a public art installation called “Ground Our Present, Dot Our Future” featuring floor markers (located throughout the park’s walkways) with messages of hope that encourage social connectivity and cohesion. The decals will feature reflections and quotes about 2020 from everyday Angelenos crowdsourced through The Chinese American Museum, dublab, Museum of Art and History, Outfest, Kayamanan Ng Lahi and other organizations. These holiday activities are free!
Holiday Treats for the Animals (www.aquariumofpacific.com): Santa Diver will be delivering an ocean of gifts to the penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, lorikeets and fish at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach from 10 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Dec. 5. The aquarium’s indoor spaces are closed, but you can watch online. Aquarium Holidays (Dec. 5-23) features special holiday decor, shopping, snowfall in the Great Hall and appearances by Santa Diver and the Aquarium characters in their holiday outfits. On weekends the Aquarium will have a snow play area, photos with Santa and Hanukkah storytelling with opportunities to play dreidel. It’s all part of aquarium admission: $19 adults, free for ages 2 and younger.
North Pole Express Experience (www.fwry.com): Come early or stay late to enjoy Prancer’s Christmas Farm (located in Santa Paula off Highway 126). Then come onboard the Filmore & Western Railway for a one-hour evening train ride to the “North Pole.” See and wave at Santa and his elves! Enjoy some storytelling fun. Riders are welcome to wear their pajamas and bring blankets. Be sure to wear good walking shoes and additional warm clothing. $34 adults, $24 ages 2-12.
Christina Elston is Editor of L.A. Parent.