2022 Holiday Activities for Kids in Scottsdale

By local contributor
Christina La Porte

As if the sunny days and mildly chilly nights aren’t enough reason to head to Scottsdale during the holidays, our resorts and attractions pull out all the stops to transform into winter wonderlands sure to cheer even the most Grinch-y members of the family – from tykes to teenagers.

 


SCOTTSDAZZLE

Scottsdazzle

This holiday extravaganza returns to Old Town with a host of activities for the whole family! Highlights include photos with Santa at the Old Town Farmers Market, a Live Nativity at the Old Adobe Mission, and the festive holiday Sing-Along & Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Dates: Nov. 26 – Dec. 31, 2022
Times: Vary by activity – see website for details.

 


ZOOLIGHTS

zoolights

One of the area’s most cherished holiday traditions, ZooLights, returns this season with millions of twinkling lights, new animal lanterns and light displays, a new Lake Light Show featuring a 50-foot LED tree and nightly snowfall, live entertainment and visits with Santa in the Polar Park. Admission to ZooLights also includes entrance to Dinosaurs in the Desert! On November 9, 2022, and January 9, 2023, enjoy Sensory Friendly ZooLights, which features the same fantastic experience with modifications to make the event more sensory-friendly, including smaller crowds, quieter music and reduced flashing lights.

Dates: Nov. 23, 2022 – Jan. 15, 2023
Times: 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

 


CHRISTMAS AT THE FAIRMONT SCOTTSDALE PRINCESS

fairmont holidays

Celebrate the splendor of the season at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where holiday festivities and an enchanting winter wonderland are found at the 13th Annual Christmas at the Princess. The fun starts with the four-story, musically animated Christmas tree, aglow with 70,000 LED lights that twinkle to the tune of 18 classic holiday songs. Next, try your skills at ice skating on the resort’s 6,000-square-foot Desert Ice Skating Rink. Other holiday highlights include S’mores Land, Mrs. Claus’ Story Time, sledding on Snow Mountain, Princess Express Train Rides and the Ultimate Santa Experience, where you can experience the Elf Academy, enjoy milk and specialty cookies, and meet the big guy himself during Santa storytime.

Dates: Nov. 18, 2022 – Jan. 2, 2023
Times: Vary based on attraction; see website for details.

 


HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT MCCORMICK-STILLMAN RAILROAD PARK

Holidays at McCormick-Stillman

This event’s centerpiece is the Paradise & Pacific Railroad, which takes visitors on a magical ride through thousands of holiday lights and fanciful displays. This 5:12-scale train is an exact replica of the Colorado narrow gauge railroad and features three steam locomotives, two diesel engines and one electric engine. Before or after the train ride, hop aboard the historic Charros Carousel or delight in some hot cocoa at Hartley’s General Store. The event features limited capacity in two 90-minute time blocks each evening.

Dates: Daily from Nov. 25 – Dec. 30, 2022 (except Dec. 24 and 25)
Times: Timed ticket options are 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. OR 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 


ENCHANT

Enchant

This new event welcomes you to an illuminated winter wonderland where you can experience more than 4 million sparkling lights that create an immersive, walk-thru, story-themed maze. Enjoy ice skating, live entertainment, dining, holiday shopping, Santa & Mrs. Claus, and much more in the Village. Enchant is a spectacular annual event produced on the playing fields of major league sports stadiums and iconic outdoor spaces, like Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Make plans to bring family and friends to Enchant for a heartwarming evening of Christmas cheer!

Dates: Nov. 25, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
Times: Gates open daily at 6 p.m.

 


IMMERSIVE NUTCRACKER: A WINTER MIRACLE 

Immersive Nutcracker

“The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle” is an enchanting holiday experience the entire family will love. For nearly 130 years, The Nutcracker has enchanted children around the world. Now your family can experience the timeless holiday tale like never before – brought to life on a majestic scale! Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s sweeping music, including iconic selections like “The March of the Toys” and “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” surrounds you as images of The Nutcracker are projected on the walls, floor and ceiling, immersing you in holiday wonder!

Dates: Nov. 19, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023
Times: See website for date and time options

 


THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS JOURNEY AT VERDE CANYON RAILROAD

Magical Christmas Journey

Embark on a magical train ride from Verde Canyon to the North Pole! This Christmas-themed experience features a miniature village at the train depot for even the tiniest tots to explore and a train ride with open-air viewing cars that will pass through an illuminated mystical tunnel before stopping at the North Pole. Passengers can soak up the Christmas spirit as the train slowly passes by Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Bakery and the Ugly Sweater Factory, to name a few. Santa will board the train for the return trip and gift each child with a small memento to commemorate their journey!

Dates: Nov. 25 – Dec. 24, 2022 
Times: Trains depart at 5:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

 


The Polar Express with Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express

Every winter the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of the “North Pole” where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl! On the ride, you’ll enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate cookies while listening to the timeless holiday story of “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg.

Dates: Nov. 11 – Dec. 30, 2022 (no trains Nov. 14-15, 22, 24, 29 and Dec. 6, 13, 25)
Times: Trains depart at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (no 7:30 p.m. departure on Nov. 11)

To plan your Scottsdale holiday getaway, click here!