Several of Kansas City’s holiday events and activities have become annual favorites with area homeschoolers!
Ready to make this year’s Christmas season extra special for your family? While some of these have been affected by COVID-19, we have listed them here as a springboard for more ideas:
1. The Mystery of Christmas.
As an alternative twist on “The Nutcracker,” check out this Dramatic Truth Ballet Theatre performance.
Instead of going to the Land of Snow, Clara gets to travel to Jerusalem on the night of Jesus’ birth. The play is set to Tchaikovsky’s music and features international ethnic dances to welcome the Savior.
For this year, Avila University is hosting the show. The university requires masks in their facilities at this time.
2. The Nutcracker Suite.
For those wanting the traditional Nutcracker performance by the Kauffman Center, it has reopened this year, but with many changes. A photo ID and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are required for attendance (negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen tests are not accepted). Masks are also encouraged.
3. Crown Center.
Not all holiday events have to be expensive to make a lasting impression. The Crown Center Ice Terrace has reopened and has posted December and holiday hours on its website. For group rates, reservations are required.
4. Journey to Judea.
Journey to Judea is a free, interactive Christmas experience hosted by Countryside Church in Overland Park. Church members portray scenes from scripture on six nights of hour-long outdoor tours, with groups of 50 people in each tour.
While tours are already full, the website encourages people to check back as returns come in daily.
5. Road to Bethlehem.
If you’re in the south Kansas City area, you may want to check out a new attraction this year – Road to Bethlehem! Red Bridge Baptist Church in KCMO is hosting this walk-through experience, with each tour of 15 guests departing every 15 minutes and lasting 60-90 minutes.
Admission is free, but space is filling quickly, so be sure to register soon to reserve the time slot of your choice. Most of the production will be in the warmth of the church, but tours will consist of a moderate amount of standing and walking and will include one outdoor scene.
6. Trilogy Cultural Arts Centre’s Christmas Spectacular Show.
The 2021 Christmas Spectacular show is scheduled for Dec. 16-19, per their website.
All ticket sales are final, without refunds. “In the case of cancellation or rescheduling of event, exchanges less any fees may be possible. Please keep your tickets or confirmation email until the options are publicly announced.”
7. The Plaza.
Ah, that magical moment on Thanksgiving Day when all the lights turn on and the Kansas City Plaza area is transformed!
Per their website: “We can’t wait to turn on the lights and celebrate the holiday season with Kansas City on Thursday, November 25, 2021.”
8. Christmas in the Park.
This dazzling, free winter wonderland opens Nov. 24 with “Christmas in the Sky.” This year a cast of 100 singers and dancers will perform from Monica’s School of Dance. Santa will arrive on his sleigh, and there will also be special guest performances!
Enjoy a gorgeous display of fireworks that are synchronized to holiday music.
Bonus: The Lee’s Summit Magic Tree is nearby, too!
9. Christmas penguins.
If your kids like penguins, they’ll love Paulie’s Penguin Playground in Olathe! One of the largest Christmas displays in metropolitan Kansas City, this playground features hundreds of holiday figures, all with a penguin twist. Who knew Rudolph and his buddies faced such stiff competition from these adorable birds?
10. Tuba Christmas (Kansas City Symphony).
A Tuba Christmas in Kansas City has taken place every year since 1979! This year it has returned to being in-person instead of virtual.
“Audiences may enjoy the free noon-hour performance in the Crown Center Square without a reservation. Bring your own chairs and use discretion in masking and social distancing while outdoors. This event is weather permitting. In accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations, performers will be seated 6-feet apart during the rehearsal and concert. At this time, performers will not be required to provide proof of vaccination or negative test.”
11. Pictures/Events with Santa.
If selfies with Santa happen to be a holiday tradition, they can get pretty pricey. But fear not! One enterprising homeschool mom recommends going to Bass Pro Shops, where Santa gives out great pictures for free. (This year, advance reservations are required.)
12. Overland Park Arboretum.
For a more sedate celebration, try the Overland Park Arboretum’s holiday luminary walk. Gardens, woods and ponds all have a candlelit glow that your family can enjoy.
13. Handbell choir.
Did you know an advanced community handbell ensemble meets right here in the Kansas City area? Rezound! members play on handbells and handchimes that span 7 octaves and come from three different countries.
Also, when their weekly rehearsals last about three hours, you know that’s dedication!
14. Olathe Youth Symphony.
For anyone in the Olathe area, another great holiday option is Olathe Youth Symphony Association‘s free December concerts. All performances take place at Olathe South High School, at 151st and Ridgeview in Olathe.
15. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm’s Open Christmas House.
This historic site typically offers its Open Christmas House for free (donations suggested). Celebrate Christmas like they did in the 1860s, with cookstove and blacksmith demonstrations, Heritage Center ornaments, and possibly a visit from Santa!
Some activities come with a fee, such as stagecoach rides and making a gingerbread house.
16. Wornall/Majors House Museums.
The John Wornall House is offering a “Christmas Five Senses Open House” on Dec. 10, while the Alexander Majors House & Barn is planning a “Christmas Family Fun Day” on Dec. 18. Both events are designed for families, with all ages welcome.
17. YaYa’s Alpaca Farm.
This alpaca farm is offering its fourth Annual Christmas event! We first heard about this from a fellow homeschool family on Instagram. More than 4,000 families attended their Christmas event in 2020, and they’re looking forward to welcoming visitors this year.
From their website: “Yaya’s Alpaca Farm is a very happy place where you can leave the world behind for a few hours and have some quality family and friend time!”
18. Holiday lights near your area.
A number of homeschool families will bundle everyone into their car at nights, laden with hot chocolate or other such goodies, and just tour area neighborhoods to see the sights. Some ideas:
- Monticello Lights Display – north of 64th Street across from Riss Lake, including a home at 6427 NW Monticello Drive that offers synchronized music with its light display on a short-wave radio broadcast.
- Olathe Christmas Card Lane – in the Mission Ridge subdivision, near 151st Street and Ridgeview.
- Other displays in Johnson County – another extensive listing of Christmas lights is available at this website.
- Winterset Valley in Lee’s Summit – south of 3rd Street. All the trees along the roads are lit up with lights for a gorgeous view!
We have updated this post, originally published in November 2014, for timeliness and detail.
We want to hear from you!
Does your family have any favorite holiday events we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!