A Kid-Friendly Guide to Long Beach's Holiday Season
In Long Beach, where holiday parades not only come marching down the street, but cruising down the canals, the real challenge is not finding what to do during the holiday season, but how to fit all the fun stuff in! Here’s a brief rundown of some festive activities you can do with the kids.
With many kid-friendly events including holiday parades and even underwater Santa sightings, Long Beach is the perfect Southern California family-friendly getaway this holiday season. Here are 7 of the best things to do with kids this holiday season in Long Beach.
ANNUAL TREE LIGHTING, TERRACE THEATER PLAZA
Long Beach will officially kick off the holiday season on December 5, by lighting more than a half-million lights on a 67-foot-tall Christmas tree, the largest artificial Christmas tree in Los Angeles County. As usual, the event, now in its eighth year, will be accompanied by lots of singing, dancing, performances and a plaza dressed up for the holidays with even more lights and plenty of Instagrammable points of interest, including giant Christmas ornaments that you can stand inside!
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTESTS
The Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau is holding two social media contests, beginning on the day of the tree lighting, December 5, 2022, and running through January 1, 2023. To participate in the Santa Hat Scavenger Hunt, take selfies with at least three of the oversized LED Santa hats located throughout the Terrace Theater Plaza and Rainbow Bridge and post on Instagram with the hashtag #LBSantaSearch. Three people will be randomly selected to each win a $500 cash prize! Full contest rules available here INSERT LINK.Residents and visitors are also invited to post their best photos of the Terrace Plaza in all its holiday glory. To enter this contest, take your photo and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #LBHolidayMagic. Three photos will be selected to win $500 each.All entries for both competitions must be posted by 11:59 p.m. PST on January 1, 2023.
AQUARIUM HOLIDAYS, AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC
Nobody celebrates the holidays like the Aquarium of the Pacific, which celebrates in multiple and unique ways. There’s the daily Penguin Parades, the gingerbread house displays, the snowfall in the Great Hall and the festive holiday decor. The Marine Life Theater will host a Kwanzaa storytelling event on Dec. 3 and 4, at 1:25 and 2:10 p.m, as well as a Hanukkah storytelling event at 11:10 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. There will be visits by Santa Diver on December 3 and 4, as ‘ol Kris Kringle turns in his usual red velvet suit for a red scuba outfit (the better to plunge into the tanks and deliver ocean gifts to the Aquarium animals, sea lions, fish, etc.). It’s one of the most sought-after photo ops every holiday season, and you’ll be able to get a shot with Santa December 3 through 18.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE/WINTER FAMILY FESTIVAL, RANCHO LOS ALAMITOS
The Open House, which takes place Dec. 8 and 9 (4-8 p.m.) reenacts some of the fabulous Christmas parties thrown by the Bixbys, who originally owned the Rancho, for their workers, families, and friends during the early 1900s. This free event at Rancho Los Alamitos (6400 E. Bixby Hill Rd.) features music and some light refreshments and allows visitors tour and view the Rancho house’s decorations inside and out; perhaps sparking some inspiration for their own holiday decorating. Though the event is free, reservations are required. The Winter Family takes place Dec. 10 (12-4 p.m.) shines a holiday light on those who once called Povuun’nga and the rancho home and features hands-on activities, dance and musical performances as well as a petting zoo, carriage rides and food for purchase. Tickets for the event must be purchased in advance.
AFTER HOURS HOLIDAY TOURS, RANCHO LOS CERRITOS
These festivities include living history tours through the holiday decorated adobe conducted by candlelight. The event, which takes place December 10 and 11 from 3:30-7:30 p.m., involves costumed guides sharing a century of holiday traditions, while short vignettes take place in the adobe’s exhibit rooms. Along with live music and light refreshments, guests can also peruse the Rancho Los Cerritos’ (4600 Virginia Rd.) museum shop to find unique holiday gifts for all ages. Tours, which take place both inside and out – so, dress appropriately – take about 30 minutes to complete. The event is likely to sell out, so visitors are advised to make their reservations soon.