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Unique Holiday Finds

News Story

From Santa diving with sharks to watching wolves open presents, these are some wild and fun winter activities for those looking to add a little bit of something else.

Santa Dive with Sharks at the Maritime Aquarium
Most Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through December 22
If you go further north to Norwalk, you’ll be treated to something a little wild. And we’re not talking about the ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express in their IMAX theater through January 2. We’re talking Santa strapping on scuba gear and taking a dive into the 110,000-gallon “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit, home to seven-foot sharks. Good luck, Santa.

Snow Play After Dark
Friday, December 16
Snow fight in a museum? Sold. The Westchester Children’s Museum invites you to the museum after dark, featuring an indoor snow fight, snow play, and other snow-themed activities. All ages welcome.

A Very Duchess Holiday
December 16–18, 23–25
Anna Gould, the last owner of Lyndhurst, just happened to be the Duchess of Talleyrand and Princess de Sagan. Just like the character in Downton Abbey, Anna Gould was one of the extremely wealthy American heiresses that went to Europe and married into the aristocracy. Anna left all her couture clothing at Lyndhurst when she donated the mansion to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This holiday season, in addition to their lavish holiday decorations throughout the house, they'll be exhibiting Anna's fabulous dresses and a Christmas tree made out of all her hats. Come experience how a real aristocrat lived with the special holiday exhibition "A Very Duchess Holiday."

Brunch with Santa
Saturday, December 17
You, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and some elves enjoying bacon, eggs, and macaroni and cheese at Westchester Broadway Theatre. That’s interesting enough, but add in a sing-along with your new #NorthPoleSquad, and we’ve got a ho-ho-holiday brunch to remember.

Beary Merry Holiday Party
Saturday, December 17
Have a Beary Merry Holiday with the bears of Bear Mountain, located just 35 minutes from the PLV Campus! For just $1, you’ll make tasty holiday snacks for the black bears in the bear den and then you’ll get to see their holiday party, where they’ll unwrap their gift boxes full of delicious treats.

Holiday Howl
December 17 –18, 23 and 26
What’s more fun than opening up presents? Watching wolves open up presents! Join the Wolf Conservation Center in assembling "wolfy" gifts for Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa, Nikai, and Zephyr, and then enjoy watching the wolves tear them open. Guests will also visit the WCC’s critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves.

Unsilent Night: Caroling with a Quirk
Sunday, December 18
Don’t get us wrong, caroling is cool. Really cool. But Unsilent Night New York is cooler. Join hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people armed with boomboxes as they walk from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park creating a sound sculpture of many individual parts. Creator Phil Kline describes it as “a Christmas caroling party except we don’t sing, but rather carry boomboxes, each playing a separate tape or CD which is part of the piece. In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system.”

Do You See What I See?
Wednesday, December 21
Can we see Santa from down here? Join Steve Beyer, Brian Levine, and Ted Williams for a sneak peek at the celestial objects that appear in our winter sky at the Winter Telescope Party. Begin the evening by learning the techniques of observation from inside the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater using its state-of-the-art Zeiss Mark IX Star Projector. Then, weather permitting, head out to the Arthur Ross Terrace, where you can sip hot chocolate as you look through telescopes with members of the Amateur Astronomers Association.

Lighting of the World’s Largest… Fortune Cookie Menorah
Sunday, December 25
Chabad of the Rivertowns is hosting Chopstix Chanukah, a Chinese Chanukah event featuring the lighting of the first-ever Giant Fortune Cookie Menorah and Chinese Acrobat Yan Xio Di, delicious Chinese cuisine, Chanukah crafts, as well as latkes, donuts, and chopsticks.

Be Freezin’ for a Reason
Sunday, January 1
Are you ice, ice crazy? On January 1, the Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day Polar Dip will help raise money to send children with life-threatening illnesses to Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind retreat in Maine. You’ve just gotta take the plunge in Coney Island. If you’re not quite convinced, everyone who registers will be entered to win a trip to Iceland, where winters are much more temperate than New York. Too scared to take a full plunge? Well, the Chicken Dip is for you. All you’ve got to do is get your feet wet. On February 18, Colin’s Crew Plunge will be held in West Haven, Connecticut (an hour from the PLV Campus).

Money May Not Grow on Trees, but Origami Does
Now through January 8
See the tree! No, not the Rockefeller Center tree…you can see that one from space. We’re talking about the American Museum of Natural History’s Origami Holiday Tree, where more than 800 origaments (that’s origami ornaments) hang from a 13-foot tree. This year's theme is Origami Dinosaurs Among Us, with models inspired by upcoming exhibition ¡Cuba! as well as the current exhibitions Dinosaurs Among Us and Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World. Enjoy origami models feathered dinosaurs, alligator hatchlings, and stunning modern birds among other treasured models.. Feeling crafty? Volunteers from OrigamiUSA will be on hand at the Museum to teach paper folding to visitors of all ages.

How Sweep It Is…
Yeah, ice skating and sledding are both fun. But you know what’s even cooler (no pun intended)? Curling and broomball. The Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club (yes, that’s a real thing) in Prospect Park offers both leagues and intro classes, where you can spend 90 minutes learning this Winter Olympics sport, that’s kind of like human shuffleboard. Classes run through late February/early March. Another sweeping Canadian favorite that happens at Prospect Park is broomball. Every Friday night, you can stop by for a pickup game of broomball. In Westchester, the Ardsley Curling Club offers classes and opportunities to participate in bonspiels (or curling tournament for the novices). The Nutmeg Curling Club, located in Connecticut, is another hotspot for curling with upcoming events including Superspiel College Bonspiel and Neon Junior Bonspiel.

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