By Darla Shelden
“Downtown in December,” presented by Devon Energy, is a series of holiday events and attractions in the heart of Oklahoma City, happening now and lasting through the holiday season.
This winter holiday experience features outdoor ice skating, snow tube rides down the Southwest’s largest man-made slope, afternoon visits with Santa Claus, a festive 5K and fun run, free water taxi excursions, and a new outdoor winter market. Events are open to the public and most are free of charge.
“SandRidge Energy is proud to sponsor the Tree Lighting Festival for the fourth year in a row in downtown Oklahoma City,” said Greg Dewey, Vice President of Communications and Community Relations for SandRidge. “It’s a fun opportunity for Oklahomans of all ages to come together.”
Santa’s Adventures, on the Oklahoma River, will be open through Jan. 5. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sundays, 1 – 5 p.m. and on New Year’s Eve until midnight. Activities begin at the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower. They include the SandRidge Santa Zip, a 200-foot zip line and the Polar Paddle, a kayak activity for kids ages 3-9.
There are five large Holiday Bounce inflatable toys, a candy cane rock climbing wall, and Rudolph’s Launch extreme air jumper. Cost is $10 per person for a one-time zip line ride with unlimited attractions, or $20 for a day pass that includes unlimited zip line rides and attractions.
Mike Knopp, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation said, “The Boathouse District offers urban adventures throughout the year, and we’re delighted to offer families the chance to celebrate the holidays in an active way. Santa’s Adventures on the Oklahoma River provides something for everyone – whether it’s climbing the 18-foot indoor rock wall, zipping on the 200-foot zip line, launching into the air on the extreme air jumper or playing on inflatable toys, parents and kids alike can get in on the fun.”
Devon’s Saturdays with Santa at the Devon Energy Center, 333 W. Sheridan, will offer free holiday entertainment Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Dec. 22. Meet Santa and his crew, write letters to the North Pole, create holiday crafts and enjoy holiday musical entertainment. Some Saturdays, two of Santa’s live reindeer will join the fun and families can play in snow flurries.
Friday through Sunday, Dec. 7-9, OU Medicine will present The Winter Market in the Myriad Botanical Garden on the Great Lawn. It will feature 40 vendors selling local goods and specialty items along with food booths and live outdoor music.
The 2012 SandRidge Santa Run on Saturday, Dec. 8, will include a 5K race starting at 9 a.m., a one-mile Fun Run at 9:30 a.m., and a free Santa Claus Kid’s Dash at 10 a.m. There will be a warm-up with Rumble the Bison and the Thunder Girls. All runs are held at Leadership Square, 211 N. Robinson with prizes awarded for tops runners and costumes.
From N.W. 4 to 10 St., the historic buildings of Automobile Alley will shine with more than 200,000 LED lights during Automobile Alley Lights on Broadway.
Free Water Taxi Rides down festive Bricktown canal will be available from 6 – 9:30 p.m. on Mickey Mantle Drive across from the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, courtesy of the Downtown Business Improvement District Board.
Every Monday at 7 p.m., Continental Resources will host Free Movie Mondays at Harkins Theatres in Bricktown. Films include “White Christmas” on Dec.10, “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Dec. 17, “Miracle on 34th Street” on Dec. 24 and “Home Alone” on Dec. 31. Registration required online at least 5 days before the screening; good for 1-4 tickets.
Chesapeake Energy’s Snow Tubing will again be held at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. $10 for an hour-and-a-half session.
Free Museum Sundays invites holiday guests to visit one of four downtown museums open from 12 – 5 p.m.
Experience the magic of The Nutcracker, December 7-9 & 14-16, with the Oklahoma City Ballet and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
Conductor Joel Levine leads the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in The Christmas Show starring Michele Ragusa. Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1: Thursday 7:30 p.m., Friday 8 p.m., and Saturday 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
On Dec. 16, the Myriad Botanical Gardens restaurant hosts Breakfast with Santa, where each child will receive a small gift. Seatings at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. are $25 for adults and $20 for children (12 and under). Reservations required by Dec. 11. Guests of the Myriad Botanical Gardens will receive free admission to the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory each Sunday through Dec. 23 from 6 – 9 p.m.
Open 7 days a week, the Devon Ice Rink hosts daily public skating, private parties, and special events all winter. Cost is $10 per person including skates for all ages, $7 for guests bringing skates.
Opening Night once again features live music, roller derby, and impromptu comedy and magic. Opening Night wristbands are available for $8 beginning December 3 at 7-Eleven, metro Homeland stores, MidFirst Bank locations, and Science Museum Oklahoma or $10 at the event. Children under 5 are free.
For more information, visit www.downtownindecember.com.