Category Archives: Holidays

Lunar New Year Celebrations

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YearoftheRoosterBring the family to celebrate the Lunar New Year and welcome the Year of the Rooster! Here are some highlights of St. Louis area celebrations open to the public.

The Magic House
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 10 am to 2 pm
Families can enjoy a Lion Dance performance, arts, crafts, and Chinese face painting. Free with museum admission.

Saint Louis Art Museum Lunar New Year Festival
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Explore Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese culture with activities, performances, and demonstrations. Special performances including a Lion Dance and T’ai Chi and Kung Fu demonstrations start at 2 pm in the Sculpture Hall. Free.

University City Lunar New Year 2017
February 3 and 4, 2017
Experience parades, lion dances, authentic Chinese food, 50 local artists, hands-on activities, and performances. Performances are in partnership with the Lunar New Year Festival student run organization of Washington University. Free.

Lunar New Year Festival Kick Off
Friday, February 3, 2017, 5 to 9 pm
Mandarin House Banquet Center, 8004 Olive Boulevard,
University City
Night Market: Featuring Taste of Asia restaurants, artisans, retailers
6 pm: Chinese Community Performers
7 pm: Fusion
8 pm: DJ

Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Saturday, February 4, 2017, 11 am
11 to 11: 30 am: Pre-Parade Gathering Brittany Woods Middle
11:30 to noon: Lunar New Year Parade (Weather Permitting)
Departs Brittany Woods Middle School, 8125 Groby Road, St. Louis, MO 63130 at 11:30 am. The parade heads north down 81st Street, and turns into the parking lot of Seafood City, ending at the Mandarin House Banquet Center, 8004 Olive Boulevard.

Night Market
Noon to 8 pm
Mandarin House Banquet Center
8004 Olive Boulevard, University City
Featuring Taste of Asia restaurants, artisans, and retailers.

Performances
Mandarin House Banquet Center, 8004 Olive Boulevard,
University City
1 pm: Lion Dance Kickoff
2 to 4 pm: Washington University Lunar New Year Festival Performances
4 pm: DJ
5 pm: Chinese School Performers
6 pm: Fusion
7 pm: Headliners
8 pm: DJ

Lunar New Year Festival at the Edison Theatre
6465 Forsyth Boulevard
February 10, 2017 at 7 pm
February 11, 2017 at 2 pm and 7 pm
The Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF) is an annual event on the Washington University Campus celebrating the Lunar New Year and promoting awareness of the different aspects of Asian culture from China to Korea and more. This spectacular show in the Edison Theatre, is a completely student-run production and promotes interaction and unity among the various Asian groups on campus. Through a great variety of exciting performances of acting, dancing, and music, people of all backgrounds can enjoy and celebrate the New Year together. Tickets $10.

 

 

Metro Theater Company presents “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”

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EdwardTulane“Open your heart. Someone will come. Someone will come for you. But first you must open your heart.”

— Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

If you are a fan of the early chapter book series, Mercy Watson, you know author Kate DiCamillo’s vivid characters and settings, humor, and ability to find subtle poignancy in just about anything. Her novels for older kids quietly, yet fearlessly breathe life and honestly grab it in such a way that both youth and their parents can be intrigued and entertained. Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane are some of her award winning works.

St. Louis’s Metro Theater Company brings the novel, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, to the stage (adapted for the theater by Dwayne Hartford) in a new family friendly play. The open to the public performances are Dec 9-30 at the Missouri History Museum, Lee Auditorium. The play, which explores love, family, friendship, and adventure, is 70 minutes, and best enjoyed by families, adults, and children (age 7 or second grade and up).

Edward Tulane is a toy rabbit who cares for nobody but himself. Ripped from the arms of the little girl who adores him, this privileged toy rabbit is thrown into a life-changing adventure. From the depths of the ocean to the top of a garbage heap, Edward discovers
what it means to love others on his extraordinary journey home. With themes of family, home, and redemption, this play is the perfect way to celebrate the warmth of the holiday season.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is the winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for children’s fiction and Parents’ Choice Award for fiction. It was a finalist for the Quill Awards for children’s chapter books, and named U.S. National Education Association “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.” The New York Times Book Review said, “Perhaps no other current American children’s book writer has appeared on the scene so quickly or so brightly as Kate DiCamillo… The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, may well be her best.”

Metro Theater Company Education Guide for Edward Tulane

St. Louis Public Radio feature, December 9, 2016

EdwardTulane2

Ticket Information

Performances
December 9, 2016 at 7 pm
December 11, 2016 at 1 pm and 4 pm
December 16, 2016 at 7 pm
December 18, 2016 at 1 pm and 4 pm
December 26-30, 2016 at 2 pm

Missouri History Museum (Lee Auditorium)
Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue in Forest Park

Tickets $20 adults; $16 students, seniors, and military; $14 Missouri History Museum members, groups of 10 or more

Buy online or call 314.932.7414, ext 106.

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About Metro Theater Company

Since 1973, Metro Theater Company has been creating accessible sensory productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection. The Company has reached a total audience of more than two million and has a national reputation for excellence in the field of professional theater for young audiences. Metro Theater Company has received major honors and awards, both locally and nationally, and has 15 consecutive years of support from The Shubert Foundation and 31 years of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photos: Metro Theater Company

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Miss Jubilee & the Humdingers on Metrolink

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Do your kids love trains and good music? The hot jazz and swing happy sounds of Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers will entertain holiday Metrolink riders Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 1:22 to 3:21 pm on the Red Line. The route begins at the Fairview Heights station in Illinois, travels to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, and returns to Fairview Heights. Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers will be performing swing music, blues, and holiday favorites. The concert is free with a valid Metrolink ticket.

Listen (and dance around the room) to Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers before you go!

Detailed scheduled station stops

Metrolink map

Missouri System map

Fare information

Photo: Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers

Merry Tuba Christmas Returns

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Do you know what a tuba, sousaphone, baritone horn, and euphonium sound like? You will after attending the free Merry Tuba Christmas concert on Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 2 to 3 pm in Macy’s Court at the St. Louis Galleria. Nearly 120 professional and amateur musicians ranging in ages from 8 to 84 years old will dress in festive attire and perform holiday songs.

This signature event of the St. Louis Galleria has been presented for the last eleven years and is a great way to celebrate the Christmas season. The St. Louis holiday tuba concert is part of a worldwide celebration of the tuba coordinated by the “Tuba Christmas” organization (who is part of the nonprofit Harvey Phillips Foundation). Tuba Christmas was conceived in 1974 as a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. The first Tuba Christmas concert was conducted by the late Paul Lavalle in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974.

More information about other Tuba Christmas events throughout the world and how to participate.

Image: Music Zone

Upcoming events at COCA and CAM

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There are some great events coming up at COCA (Center of Creative Arts) and CAM (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis) in early February that your family can enjoy.

COCA’s Visual Arts Open Studio  |  Sunday, February 5, 1 to 3 pm  |  $8
In partnership with Artmart, COCA’s Visual Arts Open Studio participants may work on their own or with the guidance of a visual arts instructor on projects including collage, book making, watercolor painting, paper mache, and more.

CAM Stroller Tour  |  Tuesday, February 7, 9 to 10 am  |  FREE
Best for infants to 24 month old children, CAM’s Stroller Tours offer a complimentary light breakfast and an informal tour exploring the current exhibitions.

CAM Tuesday Morning Play Date  |  Tuesday, February 7, 10 to 11 am  |  FREE
Best for ages 2 to 5 years old, these engaging play dates include refreshments, an art project, story time, and movement activities.

CAM Valentine’s Family Day  |  Saturday, February 11, 1 to 4 pm  |  FREE
This event is open to all ages, but the art projects are best for 5 to 12 year olds (younger if your child isn’t easily frustrated or has amazing fine motor skills!). Enjoy the museum’s exhibitions and family activities ranging from artist-led workshops to face painting, storytelling, and more. All visitors wearing red will be entered in a drawing to win a special prize.

Read more about CAM’s family activities in my St. Louis Sprout & About article.

Photo: Jennifer Lin

Five must see October events

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There is an abundance of family friendly arts, culture, and Fall fun going on in St. Louis this month. Here are five events you won’t want to miss.

1. 20th Anniversary Celebration of Powder Valley Nature Center, Saturday, October 22, 10 am to 3 pm. FREE. Visitors can enjoy a photo scavenger hunt, a discovery table with live reptiles and amphibians, crafts for kids, live music, and more.

2. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and pianist Olga Kern perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Friday, October 21 at 10:30 am and Sunday, October 23 at 3 pm. This concert is a better fit for a musically engaged child 10 years old and up, but if you have a particularly focused kid or a prodigy of sorts, a 7 to 9 year old would most likely be fine. $25 to $110. This concert also features Elgar’s sublime Enigma Variations. Note: there is an additional concert on Saturday, October 22 at 8 pm but it is more expensive and later at night of course.

3. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs Nathaniel Stookey and Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead, Sunday, October 30 at 3 pm. Kids tickets start at $7! A great Halloween event and wonderful opportunity for children who are beginning to learn about the sounds and textures of the orchestra. Watch a YouTube video about the production.

4. The Missouri Botanical Garden, Children’s Garden, is open through October 31 and then closed for the season. Climbing, pretend play galore, tree houses, a slide, ropes, caves, musical instruments, sand, no automatic flush bathrooms, and more! FREE to $5.

5. Halloween Free Family Day at CAM (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis), Saturday October 29, 1 to 4 pm. FREE. Enjoy the museum’s exhibitions, art projects, face painting, storytelling, and more. Children are encouraged to dress in their Halloween costume.

Photo: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Halloween events at the St. Louis Carousel

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Looking for some Halloween fun for your preschooler? The St. Louis Carousel at Faust Park presents two great family friendly activities this month. Also, be sure to enjoy the nearby playground at Faust Park or the Butterfly House during your visit. Pack a picnic lunch!

Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26  |  10:30 am
Preschool Pumpkins for Ages 3 to 5
$10 per child (Parents stay to assist child with project)
Dress in your Halloween costume (optional), play a pumpkin game, decorate a small pumpkin to take home, and ride the carousel. Registration required, 314.615.8383.

Thursday, October 27, 9:30 to 10 am (doors open at 9:15 am)
Halloween Potpourri featuring Tom Bonham of Puppet Productions
Tickets $5 per person in advance or $6 per person day of show.
Ticket includes a carousel ride after the performance.
Call 314.615.8383 for reservations.

Tom Bonham’s popular “Puppet Potpourri” has been modified into “Halloween Potpourri” with puppets suggesting (non-scary!) Halloween themes. The song and dance show features a scarecrow, the bouncing teddy bear, clowns stacking Halloween treat bags, dancing skeleton feet, slinky bouncing bugs, wispy dancing ghosts, the come-apart skeleton, and Zsa Zsu the witch.

Things to Do Indoors on Easter Sunday

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After the Easter celebrations are over, what to do indoors on a rainy day when most places are closed in St. Louis? Here are some family friendly places that are open on Easter Sunday.

Children’s Zoo at the St. Louis Zoo
One part of the children’s zoo is indoors. It’s a great place for a little climbing, pretend play, watching and petting animals, and scooping sand. Also be sure to check out the free indoor Bird House (separate from the Children’s Zoo). There are some incredible and crazy looking birds in here.
Open 9 am to 5 pm.
$4 per person. Children under two are free.
Free for certain member levels.
Admission for Children’s Zoo is free the first hour the Zoo is open.

CAM (Contemporary Art Museum)
A just right amount of art and images for your little one. Be sure to go upstairs to explore the books, puzzles, and overall space.
Open 11 am to 4 pm
$5, adults  |  $3, seniors  |  Free for children, students, and members

St. Louis Art Museum
A fun place to just roam. Be sure to download some of the museum’s family gallery guides for ideas to keep your kids engaged.
Open 10 am to 5 pm
Free

Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden
After splashing outside in some puddles, head over to the indoor and warm Climatron building for some tropical plant viewing and family fun. Towards the exit of the Climatron is an excellent education room featuring numerous kid geared puzzles, puppets, magnets, pretend play, coloring, books, and more.
Open 9 am to 5 pm
$8, age 13 and up  |  $4, St. Louis City and Country Residents  |  $3, St. Louis City and County Senior Residents (65+)  |  Free, Members and Children (12 and under)

Butterfly House
Experience thousands of butterflies whirling about inside this beautiful conservatory. (Or view the hallway exhibits featuring “enclosed in plexiglass insects” while your family enjoys the conservatory if you’re bug phobic!)
Open 9 am to 4 pm
$6, general  |  $4.50, seniors  |  $4, children 3 to 12  |  Free, children 2 and under and MO Botanical Garden members

Photo: Jennifer Lin

The year-end ask (not from your kid).

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Your mailbox is probably overflowing with letters from nonprofit organizations asking for year-end donations. If you don’t already have a personal connection to a cause, what to pick? Who is more worthy than the rest?

Tough call. It’s particularly challenging at the end of the year for cultural organizations to compete with other nonprofits whose missions involve urgent and tangible needs like feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, advocating on behalf of battered women, giving medicine to needy children, and more. But as you know, cultural organizations can also feed the mind, offer solace, inspire, and bring joy (and of course contribute to our economy in a major way). Please keep them in mind as you consider donations this month.

Here are a few recommendations that focus on family friendly places in the St. Louis region and whose memberships include useful benefits that can save you money on your visits. Donations to these companies are tax-deductible (check with each membership level for the exact amount). Do you work for a mid to large size for-profit company? Ask your human resources department about matching gifts. You can often double your donation and the nonprofit typically bumps you up to the next membership level with the match.

Missouri Botanical Garden: Memberships come with complimentary tickets to The Children’s Garden (open April-October), an incredible place for kids to run around, engage in pretend play, climb, play with boats, hang from ropes, slide, stack, play with musical instruments, and more.

Museum of Transportation: This museum is a little on the scrappy side, but perfect for your little one who loves things that go. A membership includes visits to the Creation Station (a wonderful indoor play area that is great for infants to 5 year olds) and train rides that go around a big parking lot two times (kids still love it!). There are great old trains to ramble around in on the museum grounds as well.

The Magic House: People travel from all over the country and beyond to delight in The Magic House, a fantastic children’s museum that caters to infants through 9 year olds (or so). Most museum memberships offer complimentary admission, free visits for playdates, cafe and class discounts, and more. We’ve been visiting The Magic House for the last year and my three-year old often ends up crying/whining about leaving. She has way too much fun. There is an enormous amount to play with and it is all smartly designed. Admission is usually $8.75 per person above one year of age (including you!), so if you end up being a frequent visitor, a membership is definitely worth it.

St. Louis Zoo: Yes, it isn’t exactly warm weather to be romping around at the zoo, but there is an indoor area of the Children’s Zoo as well as some other indoor animal exhibits. With a membership, you get passes for the Zooline train (regularly $5 per person over the age of 2), parking (comes in handy when there is no street parking for blocks and your kid is saying “hold me!” The parking lot is regularly $11 per car.), the Children’s Zoo (regularly $4 per person over the age of 2), and the carousel (regularly $3 per person over the age of 2, that includes a caregiver who is holding the child on the carousel animal).

St. Louis Science Center: If you have a high energy child who likes a little “organized” chaos, this place is for you. The free areas of the Science Center are fairly limited. Special exhibitions, the Discovery Room, the OMNIMAX, and the planetarium among other activities, require admission fees. Parking is $9 per vehicle. Membership benefits include free or discounted admission to all of these and parking passes. If you have a 3 to 7 year old who likes things a little calmer (the rest of the Science Center is really loud on a busy day), the Discovery Room is perfect. Interactive magnet exhibits, a water table, reading areas, pretend play and more help your kids learn a bit about science. The Discovery Room sessions are 45 minutes each and start at the top of the hour.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis: This professional opera company is nationally and internationally respected. It is fiscally sound, bursting with creativity, and produces some fantastic productions. Opera Theatre of St. Louis also has an extensive education and artist training program. About 26% of Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s income comes from ticket sales, so they rely heavily on donations to make their magic happen. We are very lucky to have them in Webster Groves.

Naturally, any of these memberships/donations can be given as thoughtful gifts.

Want to check on these nonprofits’ fiscal management? Check guidestar.org for more or contact the organization directly.

Happy Holidays and enjoy the gift of experience!