Winter Fest Brings Family Fun Back to State Museum | Arts & Culture
It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” as the South Carolina State Museum’s holiday tradition, Winter Fest, kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 15. This celebration of the winter season runs until Sunday, Jan. 1 (with time out for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and will feature many highlights and crowd pleasers.
Winter Fest kicks off with a Family Holiday Fiesta on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. Guests will enjoy a hot cocoa bar, cookies, craft and game activities, a goodie-filled piñata—and, of course, a visit from the season’s favorite visitor—Santa Claus!
Santa, the “right jolly old elf” himself, also will drop by Dec. 18-22 to listen to children’s Christmas wishes and spread holiday cheer. A full schedule of Santa’s visits with specific times can be found on the museum’s Web site, www.southcarolinastatemuseum.org.
The modern film classic “The Polar Express” will delight young and old alike on Dec. 21 at 4 p.m., with a big screen showing in the museum’s auditorium, including free popcorn. Following the movie a party with Santa will feature hot chocolate and cookies. Guests are encouraged to attend in their comfy pj’s! Ticket prices are $7 general public, $5 members of the State Museum.
The Columbia Marionette Theatre returns at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20 for “Hansel and Gretel,” a magical program guaranteed to enchant youngsters of all ages.
This year, Winter Fest will sport a new feature - winter break day camps. The State Museum will host Engineering for Kids programs on Dec. 20, 21, 27 and 28. The theme is “LEGO® Rescue Robots.” During the LEGO® Rescue Robots classes, students design and program robots to respond to simulated disaster situations, learning principles of robotics, computer programming, and teamwork. For information on session times, pricing, etc., call 803-574-9198 or e-mail email@example.com. To register, visit www.engineeringforkids.net.
If children’s books are on your to-buy list, meet local authors Mary Lee and George Long. On Dec. 20 and 21, George Long will sign copies of his book “Just a Penny for a Pocketful of Dreams.” Award-winning Columbia children’s author Mary Lee will sign copies of her book, “When Grandma’s False Teeth Fly,” Dec. 20. Lee, also the author of “My Air Force Mom,” will be on hand for a second signing Dec. 27.
The second week of Winter Fest will feature a program on Kwanzaa by Natalie Williams on Dec. 26, the first day of the African-American celebration of family and heritage.
“Memory keeping is such a popular hobby—even for kids,” said State Museum Director of Operations Meika Samuel. “Children ages 7 – 12 will have the opportunity on Friday, Dec. 28 to learn basic scrapbooking principles and prepare several scrapbook pages.” All materials will be provided. Tickets for this event are $12 general public, $10 members.
Children will learn more about the fascinating Maya Indians as they participate in the Maya Puppet Theatre presented by museum educator Kathy Hart on Saturday, Dec. 29. Handmade Maya puppets will tell the story of a vibrant culture and people that still exists today.
Families can relax at the museum on Monday, Dec. 31 and enjoy two showings (11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) of the popular children’s movie “Happy Feet.” The film is free with museum admission or membership.
Guests will learn about the winter sky as the Museum presents seasonal Star Lab programs on selected days during Winter Fest. These 30-minute portable planetarium shows ($3 per person) focus on seasons, constellations and moon phases.
In addition, the Museum and a Movie series, presented daily during Winter Fest, will feature other short holiday films and documentaries in conjunctions with the State Museum’s blockbuster exhibit Secrets of the Maya. The museum Web site contains the most up-to-date titles and times.
Unless otherwise noted, events are free with membership or admission. Winter Fest continues through Tuesday, Jan. 1. For more information and a full schedule of events, call (803) 898-4952 or visit www.southcarolinastatemuseum.org