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Holiday fun for kids

Enjoy the animated story

Enjoy the animated story "A Sweet Family Christmas" at Hicks Nurseries throughout December. Photo Credit: Handout

Whatever holiday you celebrate, there's one thing for sure -- there's so much going on throughout the month of December for children. From tea parties to holiday storytime, tree lightings and more, celebrate and enjoy the season with your family at these festive events:

December 2011
Animated Christmas Holiday Story
WHERE | WHEN Hicks Nurseries, 100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury; 8 a.m.-9 p.m. (Mon.-Sat.); until 8 p.m. (Sun.)
INFO Free; 516-334-0066; hicksnurseries.com
The animated Christmas story, "A Sweet Family Christmas," features child-size moving figures, elves, mice, snowmen and Santa and Mrs. Claus enjoying holiday treats. Donations for nonperishable food items for Long Island Cares Food Bank.

Holiday Light Show
WHERE | WHEN Camp Edey, 1500 Lakeview Ave., Bayport; 5-9 p.m.
INFO $12 per car (Mon.-Thurs.), $15 per car (Fri.-Sat.); 631-472-1625; holidaylightshow.org
Join the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County for a drive throughout a wooded trail filled with light displays and holiday vignettes. Proceeds benefit the Girl Scout program and outreach services.

Wednesday, Dec. 21
Menorah Lighting Party
WHERE | WHEN Merrick Jewish Centre, 225 Fox Blvd., Merrick; 7 p.m.
INFO Free; 516-379-8650; merrickjc.org
The Merrick Jewish Centre is rallying its members, friends, neighbors and the broader community to break the Guinness World Record set in 2009 by a group in Moscow for lighting 358 menorahs at one time. Participatns are asked to bring one menorah and three candles per person to the giant menorah-lighting party.

Saturday, Dec. 24
Cookie Bowl: Christmas Eve Junior Bowling Bash
WHERE | WHEN Bowl Long Island, 138 West Ave., Patchogue; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
INFO $20 per child with adult; 631-475-5164; blicookiebowl.eventbrite.com
Open to kids ages 4 to 12 with an adult. All skill levels are welcome. Price includes bowling, snacks, activities and a Christmas special screening. Parents can have presents wrapped at gift wrapping stations.

Hanukkah Wonderland
WHERE | WHEN Long Island Sports Complex, 103 Mill Rd., Freeport; 4-5:30 p.m.
INFO 516-833-3057; chabadjewishlife.org
Enjoy open play and activities for all ages with Grand Coin Menorah and lighting.

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Celebrating Kwanzaa
WHERE | WHEN Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City; 1-3 p.m.
INFO $3 with museum admission ($2 LICM members); licm.org
Kwanzaa is the time when many African American families get together to give thanks, and to enjoy the blessings of family. The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and LICM explore this unique holiday that celebrates African American culture. Get hands-on as we learn about the rich traditions and the meaning behind Kwanzaa, and make your own Kinara to take home.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 (and Thursday, Dec. 29)
New Year's Art Celebration
WHERE | WHEN Art League of Long Island, 107 E. Deer Park Rd., Dix Hills; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
INFO $140; 631-462-5400, ext. 222; artleagueliregistration.org
Children ages 6 to 12 celebrate the New Year by creating multimedia projects. Registration is required.

Friday, Dec. 30
Indoor Snowball Fight
WHERE | WHEN Smithtown Library Nesconset Branch, 148 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset; 3-3:45 p.m.
INFO Free; 631-265-3994; smithlib.org
Children in kindergarten through second grade can enjoy an indoor snowball fight, with materials to take home. Registration is required with a Smithtown Library card.

Saturday, Dec. 31
Fishes & Wishes Family New Year's Event
WHERE | WHEN Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, 431 E. Main St., Riverhead; 6:30-11 p.m.
INFO $85 adults; $49 children 3-12 and seniors 62 and up, children under 2 are free; 631-208-9200
Kids are invited to a Winter Wonderland, which includes unlimited Submarine Simulator rides, animal encounters, Ray Bay feeding, face painting, crafts and more. The evening also includes a cocktail hour, dinner buffet, dessert and ice cream bar, mock-midnight champagne toast and a DJ.

"Noon Year's Eve" Celebration
WHERE | WHEN Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City; noon-4:30 p.m.
INFO $11 for adults and children over 1; under 1 is free; $10 seniors; 516-224-5800; licm.org
Throughout the day families have a variety of activities to choose from including wild animal-inspired top hats and noisemakers, yummy cookie clocks, silly straws, 2012 necklaces or animal face painting. The day will also feature a fun dance party with DJ Michael B from All Star Party LI. At 3:45 p.m. families will gather together to count down to a 4 p.m. ball drop as they ring in 2012 with the Times Square tradition. Visitors will also be able to get a sneak peek at the Feasts for Beasts gallery and discover the amazing ways the animals find and eat their food.

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