Where to find fun for kids after Christmas

  • December 26, 2014
  • /   Mike Ensley
  • /   community-dashboard
It happens every year. The post-Christmas buzz – both new toy and sugar – wears off and the little ones are getting cabin fever. With no school for another week, things can get dicey. The kids need to get out. Here are five things you can do outside the house with the youngsters to save their sanity – and yours.   ZooLights If visiting the the zoo during the day is something the kids enjoy, imagine seeing what the animals are up to at night! The Gulf Breeze Zoo’s annual ZooLights features thousands of lights and displays within the unique environment of the zoo itself. Tonight, December 26, there will also be a special ice sculpting demonstrations, featuring a craftsman creating works of zoo-themed art, from 5-8 p.m. The sculptures will be available for photo opportunities throughout the evening. ZooLights is open from 5-9 p.m., Dec. 26-28. Admission is $10 for children and adults and $5 for zoo members. For more information, visit www.gbzoo.com.   The Pensacola Mess Hall Unlike many other museums, the Pensacola Mess Hall definitely doesn’t take the “look, but don’t touch” approach. Visitors can conduct real science experiments and “engaging in complex reasoning and learning science just through tinkering.” The museum offers permanent displays, as well as “Mess Kits”, which are single-serving experiments that allow kids to explore scientific concepts at their own pace. Pensacola’s hands-on museum is offering special Winter Break hours to get kids out of the house and into science. The MESS Hall will be open extended hours during Winter break: December 26, 27 – 10 am – 5 pm December 28 – 1 pm – 5 pm December 29, 30 – 10 am – 5 pm January 2, 3 – 10 am – 5 pm Admission is $8. For more information, visit pensacolamesshall.org.   The National Naval Aviation Museum One of Pensacola’s true gems is the National Naval Aviation Museum, which draws visitors from around the world with its huge collection of historic aircraft. And while the free exhibits of planes and spaceships and the indoor playground will keep kids occupied, there are also many extra activities will make a trip out to NAS Pensacola a great day out. One is the museums’ IMAX theater, which shows amazing documentaries, like the museum’s signature “Magic of Flight” and the historical “D-Day: Normandy 1944.” But during the holiday season, the theater is also featuring a special stop-motion animated family film, “The Light Before Christmas,” which tells the story of “Katie and her brother Makean, who lose their way in a Christmas Eve blizzard only to be rescued by the Candleman, an old sage who imparts wisdom, hot chocolate, a warm cottage and stories.” The movie plays daily at noon through December 31. Admission is $8.75. The museum also boasts the Blue Angels X4D® Experience, which allows visitors to become a part of a Blue Angels airshow. “The Blue Angels Blue Angels X4D® Experience takes advanced 3D technologies to the next level of experience by employing interactive seats and unique special effects built into the theater itself,” according to the attraction’s description. “By creating a set of “4D” effects synchronized to the film production, the Blue Angels X4D® Experience adds another layer of immersive and experiential fun for audiences of all ages." The Blue Angels Blue Angels X4D® Experience is a continuous attraction at the museum. Guests must be 5 years of age or 48″ tall to ride the Blue Angels X4D® Experience. Admission is $7.   The Pensacola Pelican Drop Once Christmas is past, it’s time to start looking forward to the New Year and downtown Pensacola’s Pelican Drop offers a family-friendly way to ring in 2015. For kids, things will be especially exciting from 3-8 p.m. at Peli-Con, the Pelican Drop’s Kids’ Area. The area will feature activities with local kid-oriented organizations. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., there will be meet-and-greets with favorite cartoon mascots from Characters On The Go. New this year will be a ferris wheel, standing 80 feet tall, it will offer rides for views of the celebration. Returning will be the Pelican Drop’s popular Bubble Stomp, which gives a multitude of little ones the chance to stomp on bubble wrap in the street, creating a massive sound to celebrate the night. There will also be live music performances on the stages, aimed at the younger set. The kid-friendly events culminate at 8 p.m., with the raising and the lighting of the Pelican, which drops at midnight. For more information, visit www.pensacolapelicandrop.com.