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Christmas at the Indianapolis Zoo thru Dec. 30, 2018 @indianapoliszoo

November 26, 2018 Leave a comment
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Christmas at the Zoo at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo and used with written permission.

By Carla Knapp
Indianapolis Zoo

INDIANAPOLIS — A light sprinkling of snow and the glow of twinkling lights will fill the sky, creating a magical nighttime experience that has become one of Central Indiana’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Christmas at the Zoo presented by Donatos and Teachers Credit Union is bigger than ever, now offering 36 nights of merriment and memories in the making. With Mondays and Tuesdays added in for the first time, the event kicked off Nov. 23 and continues daily through Dec. 30, 2018, closed only on Christmas Eve and Day. The Zoo opens at noon and Christmas at the Zoo activities go from 5-9pm, extended until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Now celebrating 50 years, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the nation to host a holiday lights event, and this wintertime favorite continues to grow year after year.

Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, Santa’s Village is a newer addition to Christmas at the Zoo. Guests will feel like they’ve stepped inside a glittering snow globe as they walk under a festive archway and discover the whimsical scene. Children can meet the Jolly Old Elf himself inside his charming study. Families can snap photos in Santa’s Barn presented by State Farm where his magical sleigh and a few reindeer await. Plus, there are opportunities to see penguins and wintertime dogs. The Snowflakery mirror maze hides fun and surprises around every corner. For a special treat, guests can decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen.

A stunning tunnel of lights will lead visitors from Santa’s Village into the rest of the beautifully decorated Zoo, which will transform at sunset into a winter wonderland. Several large displays provide memorable photo ops, including We Three Trees presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers and Christmas Tree Joy presented by Honda Manufacturing. The 100 percent LED energy-efficient lights are presented by Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.

Additionally, many of the Zoo’s more robust animals will be out late to enjoy the cooler weather, including tigers, brown bears, walrus, red panda and others. All the Zoo’s indoor exhibits will be open to offer a perfect place for guests to go when cheeks get rosy. Plus, guests can learn more about their favorite animals during special chats throughout the day.

Christmas at the Zoo is free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Discount tickets are available at participating Donatos and Teachers Credit Union locations. Guests can receive $1 off admission at the gate with the donation of a new hat, scarf or gloves to benefit St. Mary’s Child Center. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com for advance tickets and more information.

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Country Christmas at Stonycreek Farm

November 26, 2018 Leave a comment
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Enjoy a hayride to the field to cut your own Christmas tree.
Photo provided by Maverick Public Relations and used with written permission.

By Sharon Smith
On behalf of Stonycreek Farm

Hamilton County, Ind. – Christmas is celebrated each year on Stonycreek Farm in Noblesville, Indiana. Owner Loren Schmierer welcomes the community to celebrate the holidays on his Christmas tree farm and it remains an anticipated family event.

 Country Christmas at Stonycreek Farm Nursery and Landscaping runs through December 15. Hours are Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 3 to 6 p.m. There is no fee for parking. Hayrides to the field stop at 5:15 p.m. due to approaching darkness.

“We now have third generation families taking hayrides out to our fields to cut their own Christmas trees,” says owner Loren Schmierer. “People enjoy taking a hayride pulled by our antique tractors over the hill to our fields. As an added featured, Santa will be driving one of our tractors this year.”

Hayrides to the fields are free and Stonycreek Farm also provides handsaws for those who don’t have their own tool. In addition to choosing and cutting your own Christmas tree, the farm also has a wide selection of pre-cut trees on its lot, including White Pine, Canaan Fir and Douglas Fir. Trees range in size from five feet to eighteen feet. Visitors will find custom made, fresh evergreen wreaths, swags and roping in the greenhouse.

Situated on 50 acres of rolling Indiana farmland, Stonycreek Farm is one of the few places where visitors can take a hayride to the field to choose and cut your own Christmas tree. Named after the creek, which meanders through its property, Stonycreek was an Indian trade route in the 1860’s and the site of an old gristmill. Steeped in great American history, still standing on the old farmstead are the original house, the big barn, black smith shop and buggy barn.

Christmas decorations adorn the farm and make the perfect backdrop for visiting the farm animals or shopping in the greenhouse. Be sure to take a look at the new line of bristle-brush animals, candles, and poinsettias as you listen to Christmas music and browse through an array of Christmas ornaments, holiday decor and collectibles.

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Shopping in the greenhouse at Stonycreek Farm.
Photo provided by Maverick Public Relations and used with written permission.

What began as a small pumpkin patch in 1972 has grown into a full-service nursery and landscaping business.  Stonycreek FarmNursery & Landscaping is located on 50 acres of farmland in Noblesville, which once served as an Indian trade route and was the site of an old gristmill.

Stonycreek Farm Nursery and Landscaping is located at 11366 State Road 38 East, two miles east of Noblesville on State Road 38 East.  For more information call (317) 776-9427 or go to www.stonycreekfarm.net.

Winterlights at Newfields Opens Nov. 18 @newfieldstoday

September 20, 2018 Leave a comment
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Part of the beautiful Winterlights Holiday Light Show at Newfields last year.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2017, all rights reserved.

By Mattie Lindner
Newfields

Following a tremendously successful first season, Winterlights returns this holiday season from Nov. 18, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019 at Newfields, 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, Indiana.

This year’s curated outdoor lights experience is presented by Bank of America and features more than 1.5 million lights shinning upon you and your guests, a new Wintermarket and a transformed finale.

Last year, Winterlights debuted in The Garden at Newfields and welcomed nearly 70,000 guests to experience the magic of the season, thousands of whom were first time visitors.

More than 40 couples got engaged, creating a lifetime of memories and traditions for new families during Winterlights. Because of its commitment to the community, Bank of America is thrilled to help bring Winterlights to life this year.

“Newfields provides a spectacular lights display and venue for families and friends to explore and celebrate the magic of the holiday season,” said Andy Crask, Indianapolis Market President, Bank of America. “Bank of America recognizes that the Winterlights experience is a wonderful opportunity to not only shine a light on Indianapolis but also to help support cultural experiences that have a positive impact on our community.”

New this year, guests are invited to start and end their Winterlights journey inside a glowing Wintermarket, a toasty place for a treat and the first stop for a warm cup of hot chocolate or apple cider—with spiked options available for adults.

Inside the market, local artisans like Goose the Market, Gallery Pastry Shop and Sun King Brewing Co. will be selling popular food and beverage options, as well as unique holiday gifts and goodies for everyone on your list.

Guests can also purchase this year’s exclusive brew crafted by Sun King Brewing Co. and only available for purchase at Winterlights. Love the taste? Take home a two-pack gift set in the Wintermarket on your way out.

Before heading to the lights, stop for a group photo in front of the giant towering poinsettia tree.

For the main attraction, guests of Winterlights will once again explore The Garden at Newfields and stroll beneath 80 foot-tall trees glowing to the tips of each tiny branch. With the addition of 300,000 more lights, this year’s display features more than 1.5 million glowing lights.

The outdoor journey begins with Snowflake Bridge, where glistening handcrafted snowflakes illuminate the sky above and music draws guests across the historic span.

The Landscape of Light returns in front of the grand Lilly family mansion, where over 300,000 lights dance in many different colors to the Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.

Guests are then welcomed inside the front door of the Lilly House to discover this year’s theme of sophisticated handcrafted design inspired by Mr. Lilly’s famed book collection.

The library will bring the magic inside with a dramatic display filled with hundreds of glowing LED candles. Other rooms in the home will be transformed by unexpected holiday installations like handmade origami butterflies soaring from the piano and a giant paperchain chandelier flowing onto the dining room table.

As guests continue their stroll through The Garden, the bright vibrant colors of the Whimsical Terrace will draw in visitors of all ages. Karl Unnasch’s whimsical 50-foot-tall tree of toys, Playtime in Indy, returns to The Garden and the toys will once be donated to families in need this season.

Warm your hands over wood burning fires, while listening to holiday music and making your own s’more provided by local Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. Last year, the Girl Scouts raised over $25,000 that helped send 160 girls to summer camp, who otherwise could not have attended.

To delight guests as they exit the experience, a new finale has been added to this year’s Winterlights. The Ice Storm Walk, will immerse guests into a whirling blizzard of light. A digital snowstorm will descend over you along a 400-foot promenade, enhanced by dramatic music and sound of winter. Along the path, guests will pass through the Ice Cave, a tunnel of light featuring more than 30,000 lights.

“We are thrilled that the community accepted our invitation to Winterlights last year, and made it part of their holiday celebration,” said Jonathan Wright, The Ruth Lilly Deputy Director for Horticulture and Natural Resources. “In hopes of delighting everyone again this season, the Newfields team has enhanced this year’s display with hand-crafted design and more lights to surprise guests around every turn.”

Due to enthusiastic crowds and sold out evenings, new ticket times have been added to expand capacity. This season, tickets will be available every half hour beginning at 5:00 p.m. with the experience concluding at 9:00 p.m.

Save 20 percent by purchasing your tickets online at DiscoverNewfields.org beginning Oct. 1. This year, guests can purchase a premium ticket, which includes 3-D holographic glasses that bring Winterlights to life, a complimentary drink ticket and a pass for BOGO general admission January 8–Valentine’s Day weekend. A deal you don’t want to miss.

Newfields members receive additional discounts and exclusive access to Winterlights at the member preview evenings on Nov. 16 and 17 for just $10. During Winterlights, the Access Pass is still available for $2 per qualified family member.

Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list at Newfields this holiday season. Give the gift of Winterlights to your family and friends with our new gift tickets, featuring large group orders of Winterlights tickets (minimum order of 15). Don’t miss Newfields’ annual Holiday Hullabaloo shopping event on Dec. 6, featuring trunk shows in The Museum & Garden Shop. Members receive a 20 percent discount all day long. Or, give the gift of Newfields all year long with an annual membership, which offers free general admission, discounts on programs, invitations to exclusive preview events and more.

During the run of Winterlights, The Garden, The Café and IMA Galleries at Newfields will close at 4 p.m. daily.

Seasonal music made possible by the generous support of Marianne Williams Tobias. Lead support for Winterlights is provided in part by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Klipsch Group, Inc., The Hagerman Group and RJE Business Interiors. Additional support provided by Marian Inc., Ann W. King, and Sycamore Advisors, LLC. In-kind support provided by Sunbelt Rentals, Celadon Trucking Services, Tway Lifting Products, and Airworx Construction Equipment.

* Winterlights will be open Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Want to be a part of the magic this holiday season?
Last year, volunteers donated over 4,000 hours to help bring Winterlights to life. Volunteer opportunities are available for individuals and large groups. Email volunteer@discovernewfields.org if interested.

Jingle Rails @EiteljorgMuseum thru Jan. 15, 2018

December 5, 2017 1 comment
Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum.

Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Bryan Corbin
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

INDIANAPOLIS – The iconic landmarks of Hollywood are new additions this year to the Eiteljorg Museum’s holiday model train display, Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure. Now open, Jingle Rails continues at the Eiteljorg through Jan. 15, 2018.

One of the most affordable holiday attractions in the Indianapolis area, Jingle Rails features electric trains that crisscross delightful miniature replicas of famous landscapes — from the skyline of Indianapolis to the impressive sights of the American West — that visitors can walk through, around and under.

Trains chug through backdrops constructed of all-natural materials, including bark, acorns, tree roots and honeycomb. Model railroad tracks carry the nine G-scale trains past dioramas depicting Lucas Oil Stadium, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Aspen Ski Resort, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge and others, and the scenes are decked out in holiday lights.

For this season, the eighth year of Jingle Rails, a new destination on the model train itinerary is a replica Hollywood, including famous film industry locations. The mountaintop Hollywood sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with handprints and footprints of the stars, the Paramount Studios gates, the Warner Bros. water tower, a Western-movie studio set and the Griffith Park Observatory all are depicted in miniature.

Discount tickets to Jingle Rails can be ordered in advance online by visiting the museum’s website, www.eiteljorg.org. With the online ticket discount, all adults are $11, youth ages five to 17 are $6, and children ages four and under are free.

Visiting the Eiteljorg during the holiday season has become an annual family tradition for many. Last year, more than 41,000 visitors experienced the spectacular train display.

“With its intricate recreations of iconic Western scenes, Jingle Rails sparks children’s imaginations and brings back nostalgic memories of favorite Western landmarks for parents and grandparents,” said John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO. “We are delighted that families return to the Eiteljorg Museum each holiday season to experience Jingle Rails. Between the familiar scenes they already enjoy and the new Hollywood landscape, it again will be a treasured experience for all ages.”

The Jingle Rails dioramas were designed and artistically created out of natural materials by Paul Busse and his company, Applied Imagination in Alexandria, Ky. They built similar installations at the New York Botanical Garden and the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C.

Special programming is held at the Eiteljorg during the duration of Jingle Rails. Screenings of the holiday film The Polar Express take place at Dec. 16 and Dec. 20, both at 1 p.m. Check www.eiteljorg.org for daily details.

While visiting the Eiteljorg to experience Jingle Rails, museum-goers also can see a special exhibition of contemporary Native American art called Native Art Now!, view the museum’s permanent galleries, enjoy the kid-friendly R.B. Annis Western Family Experience, grab a bite at the Museum Café and shop at the Museum Store. Recognized by USA Today as a “10 Best” Indianapolis holiday attraction, Jingle Rails is included with regular admission to the Eiteljorg Museum.

Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure at the Eiteljorg Museum is presented by The Indiana Rail Road and sponsored by Katz Sapper & Miller, the Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., the Kortepeter family, Faegre Baker Daniels, Stuart’s Moving and Storage, the Butler Foundation, L.G. and Alyce Edwards and other sponsors.

Photo credits: (c) AroundIndy.com, LLC. All rights reserved. Event listings: https://aroundindy.com/eiteljorg.php

“A Christmas Story” Comes Home in Hammond @southshorecva

November 3, 2017 1 comment

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By Erika Dahl
South Shore CVA

Editor’s Note: Hammond is on central time (e.g. 8 am in Hammond is 9 am in Indianapolis).

This holiday season, the “A Christmas Story” Comes Home exhibit, presented in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will be on display from Nov. 11, 2017 until Jan. 7, 2018 at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana. The exhibit takes visitors to the streets of downtown Hohman, a fictional Indiana town which was a disguise for author, Jean Shepherd’s, hometown Hammond.

A Christmas Story Comes Home exhibit features six animated scenes from the holiday movie A Christmas Story. The displays include Higbee’s Department Store Window, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, The Bumpus Hounds and A Hero’s Dream.

In addition to the exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to see a bronzed Flick with his tongue stuck to the flag pole. This homage to the classic scene is the perfect photo opportunity in front of the Indiana Welcome Center.

The Indiana Welcome Center is located at the intersection of I-80/94 and Kennedy Avenue South in Hammond; only 30 minutes from downtown Chicago and two hours north of Indianapolis.

Special Events

“A Major Event” & Holiday Market will be held Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Indiana Welcome Center and kicks off the holiday season. The Welcome Center will be bustling with children’s activities from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and a cozy holiday market from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. features handcrafted and specialty items and gourmet treats. “A Major Event” kid’s activities include a passenger train – kids can ride for just $1! “Flick” Bingo, movie viewings, crafts, and a visit to Santa atop Santa’s Mountain.

“Oh Fuuudge!” Tire Changing Relay is an event that pays tribute to the events leading up to Ralphie blurting out “the-queen-mother-of-dirty-words,” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9. Parent/child teams will run through an obstacle course and prizes will be awarded to the pair with the best time. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the event begins at 10:00 a.m.

The popular “Mommy’s Little Piggy” Mashed Potato Eating Contest features plates mounded with mashed potatoes and contestants of different age groups showing how the piggies eat and will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m., and the first wave of participants will begin at 10:00 a.m.

All events are held at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond and registrations are available online at http://www.AChristmasStoryComesHome.com.

Letters to Santa, live entertainment and more!

Bring the whole family to enjoy live entertainment on the weekends and write letters to Santa and drop them in the big mailbox in the exhibit hall! Request to view the documentary “The Untold Christmas Story” in the 100-seat theater, vote on the ugliest leg lamp and favorite holiday tree or participate in the Write a Theme Contest – the exhibit is packed with fun for the whole family. More information is available online at www.AChristmasStoryComesHome.com.

Relive the “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” scene atop Santa’s Mountain

Have your picture taken with Santa on top of Santa’s Mountain, a replica of the one featured in the movie. In the famous scene, Ralphie Parker asks Santa for an Official Red Ryder BB Gun, and Santa responds, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

Photos with Santa on Santa’s Mountain are available between Thanksgiving and Christmas, every Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Indiana Welcome Center; photos on Christmas Eve will end at 2:00 p.m. Photos are also available on Nov 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Children have the opportunity to slide down a big red slide into a pillow of snow. Photos are $6 each.

Wag Your Tail Wednesdays

Don’t miss the opportunity to have your pet photographed with Santa on Santa’s Mountain. Pet photos with Santa will be available Wednesday, Nov. 22; Nov. 29; Dec.13 and Dec. 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Photos are $6 each, and $1 of every photo is given to local animal rescues. Well-behaved animals only.

The Parker Living Room

See an additional “A Christmas Story” Comes Home animated display window this year at Cabela’s in Hammond! This year, Cabela’s will display The Parker Living Room through the holiday season. Cabela’s is located one-mile from the Welcome Center at 7700 Cabela Drive in Hammond.

More Information

Visit www.AChristmasStoryComesHome.com for a complete list of special events, contests, hours of operation and directions. The Welcome Center gift shop offers an array of movie memorabilia including the infamous leg lamp!