Events to occupy your time this holiday season - East Valley Tribune: News

Events to occupy your time this holiday season

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Posted: Friday, December 23, 2005 5:58 am | Updated: 8:55 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The movies aren’t the only thing open this holiday weekend. If you’re looking for a new Christmas Eve tradition or a place to send your relatives while you put the finishing touches on Christmas dinner, there’s plenty to do:


Maybe you need to kill a little time before opening presents or attending midnight Mass. Do what 10,000 other people have done — head to the Phoenix Zoo for ZooLights.

The holiday display features more than 2.5 million lights and nearly 400 light sculptures. New to the event is an 18-foot lighted rattlesnake on the Arizona Trail and animated penguins in honor of the film "March of the Penguins." If you’re interested in seeing live animals, walk through the tropical jungle in the Rainforests of the World exhibit.

Buying your tickets in advance will save you time in line. Tickets are available at the zoo or at Fry’s stores. You’ll also save $1 per ticket if you buy them in advance.

Details: 455 N. Galvin Parkway. $8 at the gate, $7 in advance. Open 6 to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve. (602) 273-1341 or


Toast marshmallows by the fire, listen to holiday music and watch gunfighters get into the Christmas spirit.

If you’ve got relatives visiting from back East, send them to Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse for a Cowboy Christmas. The event, held for the first time at Rawhide’s new location near Chandler, will feature 150,000 lights along Main Street and a treelighting ceremony at 6 p.m.

Rawhide’s Six Gun Theater has a holiday stunt show planned, and carolers will perform.

Details: 5700 N. Loop Road (Interstate 10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard), Gila River Indian Community. Free. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve. (480) 502-5600 or


If the gift-wrapping orgy hasn’t made you sick of Christmas, get your final yuletide fix of 2005 at Santa’s — A Christmas Theme Park.

"It’s such a good alternative to the standard going-to-themovie thing," says park spokeswoman Michelle Zimmerman. "The whole family can come."

The amusement park in Chandler features 50 rides in addition to live entertainment, Christmas music and a Christmas tree that, at 78 feet, is one of the tallest in the nation. And, if you’re craving a deepfried Snickers, they’ve got them along with other fair foods.

Details: 20000 Maricopa Road (Interstate 10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard). Open 2 p.m. to midnight Christmas Day. $23 adults, $18 seniors and children age 9 and younger. Price of admission includes park rides and performances. (480) 247-9591 or


You can’t get any more out of town than Goldfield Ghost Town.

"It’s out of the city and out of the rat race," says Jay Zingler, co-owner of the replica of an old mining town from the 1890s.

At one time the town boasted 4,000 people, three saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a school. Today it has LuLu’s Bordello, a museum dedicated to the ladies of the night, an ice cream parlor and several curio shops where you can buy lastminute gifts.

Details: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve. (480) 983-0333 or

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