Can you believe that 2021 is already coming to a close, and the holidays are here? I definitely can’t! If your family is anything like mine, you know that the holiday season in New England is one of the best times of the year. Unlike other parts of the country, we get to experience all that winter has to offer. From cooler temperatures to massive snowstorms, sledding excursions, and ending the day with mugs of hot chocolate with heaping helpings of marshmallows, what’s not to love?
This year, my family has added a brand new member to participate in all the festive fun. So instead of our typical holiday trips, we have swapped them out for more infant (and toddler) friendly options.
Here is a round-up of 5 of the best infant-friendly local holiday activities in or around Central Mass.
Magic of Lights at Gillette Stadium
Returning this year from November 19th to December 24th is Magic of Lights at Gillette Stadium. Every night from 5 to 10 pm, visitors will become enchanted by over 40 themed displays of twinkling LED lights. From the festive soundtrack to the illuminated mega trees and the massive 200-foot light tunnel, there is something everyone in the family will enjoy.
The best part? You will see this entire light display from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle so, even the smallest family members can experience the show (or enjoy a cozy nap)!
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Edaville Family Theme Park is back open to delight guests with their yearly holiday display, The Christmas Festival of Lights. On select nights, from November 13th thru January 1st, families are invited to explore the park and enjoy 18 different rides among the festive twinkling lights. Included with admission, every visitor can enjoy an illuminated train ride around the park on a functional steam engine. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the newly added Alpaca store where little ones, and adults too, can visit alpacas. You may even get a chance to pet one, if you’re lucky!
For parents of infants and toddlers, anyone under the age of 2 enters the park for free.
Zoolights at Stone Zoo
It may not be your first thought when planning winter activities for the family, but what little one doesn’t love visiting the zoo? Back again this year, from November 19th to January 9th, is Zoolights at the Stone Zoo! Each night from 4 to 9:30 pm, guests can explore the festively decorated Yukon Creek pathways while visiting with some of their cold-weather animal friends (like reindeer, arctic foxes, and black bears). Between the zoo exhibits, large-scale lantern displays illuminate the night. If that wasn’t enough, little ones are welcome to meet with Mrs. Claus on select evenings!
A bonus for infant and toddler parents? Children 2 and under get to join the family fun for free.
The Polar Express Train Ride at Cape Cod Central Railroad
Buzzard Bay, MA
At Cape Cod Central Railroad, the magic of the classic story comes to life on the yearly Polar Express Train Ride™. On select nights from November 26th thru December 23rd, passengers of all ages are transported into the beloved book and get to take a ride to The North Pole to visit Santa Claus for themselves! During this 1 to 1 ½ hour trip, passengers will delight in the festive entertainment options. Between the conductor punching your commemorative golden ticket, getting to watch the dancing chefs and waiters performing, and snacking on delicious hot chocolate with fresh cookies, there are many memories to be made. Once you arrive at your destination, Santa and his elves will board the train to meet with passengers, pose for pictures, and give each guest the first gift of Christmas, a keepsake sleigh bell.
Make sure to encourage the kids to wear their holiday jammies for added fun (and even more memorable pictures)!
Bright Lights at Forest Park
Last but certainly not least is Bright Lights at Forest Park. Since 1995, this drive-through holiday experience has been enchanting visitors with its wide variety of extravagant lighting displays. From November 11th thru January 2nd, families will drive along the trail and experience the magic from 5 to 9 pm nightly, with extended hours on weekends and holidays. Along the route, guests explore Seuss land, Toy land, and even Jurassic world through the displays that promise to charm every family member. A musical accompaniment completes the show by tuning your radio to their dedicated FM station.
As a bonus for families with young children, Bright Lights is open on all major holidays to add some family-friendly fun to your festivities!