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Christmas at California Theme Parks 2013

Celebrate the Holidays at Your Favorite Park


SeaWorld Christmas holidays picture

Animals get into the act at SeaWorld, one of the California theme parks staging a Christmas event.

SeaWorld Parks.
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Then get the heck out of Southern California! But if you want some holiday hoopla along with some theme park fun, you've come to the right place. (Actually, quite a few parks offer "snow" -- or at least the theme park version of it -- to simulate a white Christmas.) Holiday events at California parks are arranged alphabetically:

Disneyland Resort
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

  • Anaheim, CA
  • 2013 dates: November 12 to January 6
  • Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will be introducing new features this season along with old favorites. More info: Disneyland Christmas and holidays overview

Gilroy Gardens
Holiday Lights

  • Gilroy (near San Francisco), CA
  • 2013 dates: Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-23, and 26-30.
  • Separate ticketed event.
The park will adorn many of its distinctive trees and gardens with twinkling lights. Other features include holiday-themed rides, crafts-making, a holiday buffet (for an extra fee), a show featuring the Peanuts characters, and (of course) a tete-a-tete with Santa in his workshop.

Official Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights info

Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Merry Farm

  • Buena Park (next to Anaheim), CA
  • 2013 dates: Daily, Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28) to January 1 (closed Christmas day)
  • Included with admission. On weekdays, Knott's offers a special reduced rate for admission only to its Christmas Crafts Village.

Knott's doesn't go nearly as crazy transforming its park into Knott's Merry Farm for the holidays as it does with its Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt makeover, but it does offer plenty of fun, including A Peanuts' Holiday Parade, an enormous Christmas tree, a Christmas Crafts Village with artisans plying their trades, "It's Christmas, Snoopy!" ice show, Snoopy's Magical Nights of Lights, and the stage shows, "A Christmas Carol" and "A Gift of the Magi."

Knott's Berry Farm official site

Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights

  • Carlsbad (near San Diego), CA
  • 2013 dates: November 29 to December 31
  • Included with admission
The park will be offering "real" snow this season and will invite visitors to build snowmen and try snow tubing. Legoland will will also be lighting its unique Christmas tree made entirely of Lego bricks, offering audiences with St. Nick, and providing lots of holiday decorations, entertainment, and nightly fireworks shows on select nights.

Legoland California event info official site

SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

  • San Diego), CA
  • 2013 dates: Nov. 16 to January 4 (2014)
  • Included with admission
SeaWorld will present SnowWorld, yet another California theme park romp-in-the-snow experience, and will offer sledding, snowballs, and snowmen. Shamu will be featured in his (her?) own holiday-themed nightly show. The sea lions will join in the holiday fun as well with Clyde and Seamore's Night Before Christmas, and land animals (shelter-adopted pets) get their own holiday show this year with The Pet’s Rule Christmas. Plus Santa is on the guest list, and the park, including its landmark Skytower, will get decked out with holiday lights.

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration official site

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Holiday in the Park

  • Vallejo (near San Francisco), CA
Read more about Holiday in the Park.

Universal Studios Hollywood

The Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who, Max the Dog, and other denizens of Whoville will be on the backlot original set of the Grinch movie. The cast will present a Whoville Whobilation, complete with -- you guessed it -- actual snow.

Grinchmas official site

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