12 things to do with your family in Middle Georgia during the holiday season

Macon It: Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza doubles in size

Bryan Nichols, owner of Taste & See Coffee Shop and Gallery, talks about the process of creating the Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza in downtown Macon.
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Bryan Nichols, owner of Taste & See Coffee Shop and Gallery, talks about the process of creating the Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza in downtown Macon.

1) Public ice skating at the Macon Centreplex

From mid-November through February, the Macon Centreplex opens to the public for ice skating. The cost is $10 and includes skates. For dates and times, visit http://www.maconcentreplex.org/

2) Holiday Pony Rides

The Middle Georgia State University’s equestrian team invites the public to join them for pony rides Dec. 18-20 from 5-8 p.m. at 128 MacThompson Road, Cochran, Georgia 31014. For more information, call 478-636-0611.

3) Go see the Christmas lights

While Middle Georgia has some impressive residential light displays, particularly off Pate Road in Monroe County, a downtown Macon event offers a chance to step out of the car to enjoy the sights and sounds of Poplar Street at the Main Street Christmas Lights Extravaganza set for Nov. 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. A huge light display in Poplar Street park is set to illuminate amid a kick-off concert of holiday music by Macon Pops. The event is free.

Holiday Light Show Extravaganza with Macon Pops
Holiday Light Show Extravaganza with Macon Pops. Courtesy of Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

4) Holiday Parades

The annual Christmas parades in Warner Robins and Byron have unfortunately been canceled because of weather, but there are other local parades to catch. The city of Perry will have its Christmas Parade downtown from 4-7 p.m. Dec. 1 and the city of Centerville will have a lighted Christmas parade at 7 p.m.; Macon’s Christmas Parade is set for Dec. 2 from 4-6 p.m.; A Christmas Parade in Gray is set for Dec. 11 from 6-8 p.m; A Christmas Parade in Milledgeville is set for Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m.

5) Christmas on Main and Christmas in the Village

The City of Gray’s second annual “Christmas on Main” event is set for Dec. 1, 2018, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.. Food trucks and more than 50 handmade crafts and Christmas gifts are part of the celebration. Pictures and donuts with Santa also will take place from 2-5 p.m. at the W.E. Knox Civic Center at 161 W. Clinton St. https://business.jonescounty.org/events/details/christmas-on-main-3647

Also, in Macon’s historic Ingleside Village, many shops will be participating with sales, specials and more. Santa will be in the village for photos with shoppers. Bring your own camera to catch Santa at Kay-Lynn Massage Studio on Dec. 1 from 12-3 p.m.

Guest walk near the Earth Lodge at the Ocmulgee National Monument during a guided lantern tour in 2011. Jason Vorhees jvorhees@macon.com

6) Holiday Lantern Light Tour

Take a guided one-mile, lantern-lit walk around the Ocmulgee National Monument, from the Visitor’s Center to the Great Temple Mound, on Dec. 1. This is a free event. Gates open at 6:15 p.m. and the one-hour walk begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call 478-752-8257.

Reese, a 6-year-old Shih Tzu owned by Piccola Johnson of Macon looks back at Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shops in December 2017. Jason Vorhees jvorhees@macon.com

7) Story Time with Santa or Scuba with Santa

The Rose Theater in Forsyth invited Santa to come visit Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. to read to kids. Fun activities are planned after. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture precious moments. The cost is $10 per child and $5 per adult with a paying child. For more information, call 478-994-0443.

Santa is set to scuba dive at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry on Dec. 3 from 6-7 p.m. Mrs. Claus will be on hand to help make Christmas crafts and other fun activities. The cost is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children ages 3-12. The event is free for children 2 and younger. For more information, call 478-988-7187.

8) Go see a play

Disney’s Mary Poppins is the last show of the 2018 season at Theatre Macon. The classic musical is set to run from Nov. 30- Dec. 16 at the downtown theatre. For more information, visit https://www.theatremacon.com/mainstage-season.

At Macon Little Theatre, by the Museum of Arts and Sciences in North Macon, the fun family musical “She Loves Me,” is set to show from Dec. 7-16. The play centers on two shop clerks who respond to “lonely hearts” ads in the newspaper and find themselves living for the love letters that came from their secret admirers. That is, until the author of the letters is revealed. For more information about the play, visit https://www.maconlittletheatre.org/2017-18-season.

Live nativity scene at Riverside United Methodist Church in 1999. Beau Cabell bcabell@macon.com

9) Nativity Scene Experiences

Visit Oakland Baptist Church in Warner Robins for a free outdoor Nativity scene performance. Live animals and characters will be available to pet after performances, which begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 8 and 9. For more information call 478-923-3533.

Travel through Bethlehem and experience a free Drive-Thru Nativity Scene at Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon on Dec. 7 and 8 from 7- 9p.m. For more information, call 478-746-9688.

John Berry Xmas

10) Christmas Songs and Stories with John Berry

Listen to holiday favorites at the Grand Opera House for John Berry’s 22nd annual Christmas performance in Macon on Dec. 22. Tickets cost between $37.50 and $80. For more information, visit www.thegrandmacon.com or call 478-301-5470.

11) Downtown Macon Tacky Christmas Crawl

Visit downtown Macon for a night of tacky sweaters, Christmas lights, holiday cocktails and discounts at local stores. Check in at Just Tap’d, at Poplar and First streets, wearing your ugliest holiday sweater and pick up a free “Christmas Crawl” wristband. Also Grab a “Crawl Card” to collect stamps as your eat, drink and be merry. Collect five stamps and be entered to win a Tacky Christmas gift basket. Dec. 8, 6 p.m.-midnight.

Jalani Lee, 7, views the Festival of Trees exhibit with his cousin Katelynn Valera, 4 and grandmother Dona Reid at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Jason Vorhees The Telegraph

12) Festival of Trees at the Museum of Arts and Sciences

Check out the annual exhibit of almost 50 unique and stunning holiday trees decorated by regional designers and artists. The exhibit started Nov. 8, 2018 and will remain open through Jan. 15, 2019. For more information, visit the museum’s website www.masmacon.org.