2012: Ancient Skies, Ancient Mysteries explores Mayan prophecies at the Planetarium (Manitoba Museum)
Any parent who's ever dealt with a tired toddler determined not to get left out on New Year's Eve will appreciate Top Hats and Tiaras.
—Alison Gillmor, CBC reviewer
Imagine being confined to a small space with the same people for a long period of time, trying to find ways to pass the time. That's a challenge for astronauts, according to Living in Space, a new interactive exhibition at The Manitoba Museum that replicates the daily routines of the International Space Station.
Coincidentally, this is the same quandary faced by parents with young children over the winter holidays. Here are a few ways to get out of your space pod in the upcoming days.
**After you've visited the Living in Space exhibition, you might want to head to the Planetarium for a screening of 2012: Ancient Skies, Ancient Mysteries, which looks at the ways early cultures studied the stars, including the Mayan prophecies concerning December 21, 2012. The museum has added extra screenings for the evening of December 21, and barring any global apocalyptic event - fingers crossed! -- the shows will continue until January 6. (Suitable for all ages but recommended for 10 and over.)
** At this time of year, Dalnavert Museum showcases all the lo-fi charms of a Victorian Christmas. Saturday, December 22 is the last chance to make your own Christmas ornaments at a hands-on workshop. Also on Saturday, December 22 and Sunday, December 23, there will be interactive family-friendly readings of Charles Dickens' Christmas classic Cricket on the Hearth.
** Young LEGO maniacs will want to check out the LEGO Block Parties at the Winnipeg Public Library. For ages 6-12 and running between December 27 and January 4 at different branches, these get-togethers are free, but you need to call to register.
**Assiniboine Park is organizing day camps for kids in grades 1-6, running December 27-29 and January 3-5. You can sign up for one day at a time to get in on in themed activities, indoors and outdoors, many involving - no surprise here -- snow.
** For young theatre lovers, Magical Mystery Munsch at Prairie Theatre Exchange offers a psychedelic journey through the world of this much-loved Canadian children's author. The play looks pretty trippy, plus PTE offers "pajama party" shows in the early evening, with milk and cookies served afterwards. Runs until January 6.
**The Manitoba Electrical Museum, an intriguing little space run by enthusiastic volunteers, offers All That Glows: Then and Now. The exhibition looks at Christmas decorations from the 1880s to the present day, ranging from lighted candles on the tree (yikes!) to LED-powered extravaganzas. Admission is free for the show, which continues until January 3.
** Any parent who's ever dealt with a tired toddler determined not to get left out on New Year's Eve will appreciate Top Hats and Tiaras. This kid-friendly New Year's party at the Children's Museum offers an "afternoon out on the town," ringing in 2013 at noon with a ginger ale toast. (Genius idea.) Also at the Children's Museum, Eaton's Fairy Tale Vignettes, which features the old-school moving tableaux that were once a holiday tradition on the 9th floor annex of the late, lamented department store. Nostalgic for parents, weirdly exotic for kids, the display runs until January 6.
** There's also lots of free family stuff going on at the Forks on December 31, from skating and tobogganing during the day to kids' crafts in the evening -- make your very own New Year's hat--to live music and fireworks at night.