HomeBlogsPenny Neef's blogWalking in a Winter Wonderland (in Portsmouth)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland (in Portsmouth)

November 23, 2019797Views

Winter Wonderland
Children’s Museum of Virginia, Portsmouth: November 29 right through New Year’s Eve.
Click here for more information.

I was a self-proclaimed Scrooge at Christmas. As soon as my own children grew up and sailed away, I had little interest in the holiday season. Then along came my five grandchildren and holidays could not be ignored.

Portsmouth is my downtown. Although I live in Suffolk, Olde Towne Portsmouth is just 10 minutes away and Portsmouth does Christmas right. The Children’s Museum of Virginia is celebrating the holidays big time this year with “Winter Wonderland at the Children’s Museum of Virginia.” There will be all kinds of holiday fun.

We have taken our grandchildren to Winter Wonderland every year at the Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center down High Street from the Children’s Museum. The city of Portsmouth preserved and reimagined much of the animatronics, elves, carolers, penguins, polar bears and a sleeping Santa from the Coleman Nursery in Portsmouth when it closed. It was a tradition to visit Coleman’s every year for many Hampton Roads families.

The Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center kept that tradition alive, but this year, due to renovations at PAC, much of the Coleman collection is moving down High Street to the Children’s Museum of Virginia and the Middle Street Mall, right outside the Museum.

As a special holiday gift, the Children’s Museum will be offering a $5 per person general admission from November 29 – December 31 this year. That is a 50% discount off the regular admission price. Inside the Museum, besides all the fun, interactive displays that are always there, you can go sock skating. My southern born grandchildren love sock skating at the Children’s Museum. No special equipment required. You just take off your shoes and away you go on a special, smooth surfaced floor that is installed in the “changing gallery” room of the Museum.

“Snow Wonders” will return to the Children’s Museum this season. It is a light, snow and music show that happens right outside the doors of the Children’s Museum in the Middle Street mall on Friday and Saturday evenings from November 29 – December 28 at both 5:30 and 7:00 pm. It is magical. It’s dark and quiet, then the holiday music begins and “snow” starts falling from the sky (or possibly the roof of the Museum). The kids begin to dance and try to catch snowflakes. The Museum will have extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 8:00 pm.

Don’t have kids or you want to get in on the fun without the kiddos? The Children’s Museum is going to have a special adults-only evening this year. Let your inner child run free. On Thursday, December 12 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, NO children allowed at the Children’s Museum.

You can skate in your socks, blow bubbles until you don’t a breath left, play with the toy trains, lift up an elephant, set off a rocket and much more. You can even whisper your Christmas wishes to the man in red. There will be a planetarium show, crafts drinks and light refreshments. Presale tickets are $10 per person through 5:00 pm December 9 and are available at Tickets will be available at the door for $15 per person.

The Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center Gallery Shop will remain open during the holiday season. I love this little shop for its unique and one-of-a-kind items. It is located on High Street right behind the main building of the PAC. The Gallery and the Museum Shop at the Children’s Museum will be participating in Shop Small Saturday on November 30 and Shop Museum Day on December 1. They will be offering a 20% discount on non-consignment merchandise. Olde Towne Portsmouth has a number of unique shops and restaurants all within walking distance of the two museums and just a ferry ride away from downtown Norfolk. Did I mention that parking is always free on the street and in the municipal garages of Portsmouth on the weekends?

The Middle Street Mall is having the second annual Holiday Market and tree lighting on November 22. The Market will be open from 4:00 – 7:00 pm and the tree will light up at 5:30 pm. The Olde Towne Holiday Music Festival and Children’s Christmas Parade will be on Saturday, December 14, beginning at 11:00 am

To round it all off, Portsmouth celebrates the New Year my way with “Countdown to Noon: Noon Year’s Eve Bash.” The glittery ball will drop at noon from the roof of the Children’s Museum with all kinds of fun activities so that you can celebrate with the ones you love and be home in your jammies by 6:00 pm.

Olde Towne Portsmouth

will be sparkly and bright this holiday season. Come on over and celebrate with us.

Words by Penny Neef. Photos courtesy of Portsmouth Museums.