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5 events for kids on Thanksgiving weekend

Do you have some time off work this weekend to spend with the family? Maybe some relatives in town for the holiday? Here are five Milwaukee-esque ways to spend Thanksgiving weekend with kids.

1. Lighting of the Whale

Friday, November 27th

Milwaukee Public Museum

11:30 a.m.

(Special holiday activities 9:45-4:30)

Cost: Free with Museum Pass admission; Free for MPM members

Spend Black Friday at the Museum and witness a most unusual holiday tradition — the lighting of the massive humpback whale skeleton that hangs over the Grand Staircase. Visitors who get to MPM early will receive a special holiday treat.

Whale Lighting Holiday Film Schedule:

Enjoy some of your favorite holiday feature films in the Dome Theater on Black Friday. Admission is $5 per person, per film (children under 4 free); planetarium shows free with Museum admission. Phone and onsite reservations available. Call (414) 278-2728 to reserve your seat today!

9:45am Muppets Christmas Carol11:30am Wisconsin Stargazing12:00pm White Christmas

2:15pm Wisconsin Stargazing2:45pm Elf

4:30pm Wisconsin Stargazing

2. Holiday Kitchen at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

Friday, November 27th

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Free with regular admission! Celebrate cooking together, healthy eating and the importance of family meal time at this special family workshop at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Collect recipe cards and enjoy delicious samples from Breadsmith, Kemps, Palermo’s, Sargento and Turbana, make conductive play dough in the Be A Maker space, Check out the “Healthy Habits Hullabaloo” with Kohl’s Wild Theater, decorate giant gingerbread cookies ($4 per cookie), and more!

To receive free admission to the Museum for Holiday Kitchen, purchase any of the following products at Sendik’s Food Markets, show your receipt at the Museum on November 27 and receive free admission (one per product): Loaf of Breadsmith bread, Half-gallon of Kemps flavored milk, Palermo’s Primo Thin pizza, any two Sargento items, or Turbana bananas (at least 2 lbs.).

3. Gingerbread Land Holiday Show

All weekend long

The Domes

The holiday floral show will boast gingerbread houses, gingerbread folk, and a giant holiday tree decorated with gingerbread cookies and other sweets.

Even the plants that are featured in the show are connected to gingerbread. The plants included will be those that provide the ingredients for gingerbread, including Cinnamon verum, Sugar Cane, Ginger Root, and Vanilla Orchids.

To top it off, hundreds of dark red, white, and light pink Poinsettias, numerous white Chrysanthemums and Cyclamen, and lime green and maroon Coleus will provide a festive backdrop.

The Gingerbread-themed holiday tree will feature multi-colored lights, gingerbread cookies in the shape of the gingerbread people shown throughout the show, red and white striped peppermints and candy canes, and icing (white garlands).

Check their schedule for kid-friendly entertainment throughout the holiday season, including performances by Kids Korp, students of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and 70 tuba players of TUBACHRISTMAS. The full schedule will be posted and updated on the website.

And, of course, what holiday celebration would be complete without a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus? On Saturday, Dec. 12, Santa will be in the Domes Annex from 11 a.m.-noon and in the Show Dome from noon-3 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 19, from noon-3 p.m., both Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be in the Show Dome.

Entrance to Gingerbread Land is included with regular Domes admission. Admission for adults age 18 and over is $7; Milwaukee County Seniors with ID, persons with disabilities, students of any age with ID, and youth age 6-17 are $5. Children 5 and under are admitted for free. The Domes is free with proof of county residency on most Monday mornings from 9:00-12:00.

For more information, call (414) 257-5611 or visit

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas – opening weekend!

Running November 27th through January 3rd, First Stage presents A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Todd Wehr Theater (Marcus Center for the Performing Arts) starting Thanksgiving weekend. The cherished holiday classic you know and love makes its First Stage debut this season. Christmas lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. Will directing the Christmas play help him get in the spirit of the season? Join Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Visit their website for more info or to purchase tickets.

5. Fox & Branch Free Family Concert

Sunday, November 29th

Anodyne Coffee

A Fox and Branch family show is all about audience participation. The family folk music duo tries to make the entire idea of there being “an audience” disappear. Instead, they want everyone to feel they are just a big group of people having fun. The kids get to sing, clap, dance and play rhythm instruments. Adults get to enjoy the music, clap and sing along.

Some of the music will be familiar to many families, but they also try to introduce new material that will surprise and amuse children and adults alike. The band draws from American roots sources and from world traditions.

For more information, visit their website.

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