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Shake Off the Blahs

School's out for the holidays, but after the first few days, freedom just isn't enough to keep the kids occupied. Here are 101 ideas.


We know what happens on the 12 days of Christmas, but what about the 12 days or so of Christmas vacation?

Once your pint-sized true loves have tried out their new toys, seen "Flubber" 10 times and worn out their favorite videos, there's still an awful lot of time to fill. Homework notwithstanding, we offer 101 suggestions for bored kids and desperate parents, ranging from high-end to cheap to free and from holiday-themed to educational to just plain fun:

1. Celebrate Christmas Victorian-style at Theatre-by-the-Sea's "A Victorian Christmas & Dickens Festival" from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Fisherman's Wharf at Channel Islands Harbor, Channel Islands Boulevard and Victoria Avenue, Oxnard, with carolers, crafts and readings of works by Charles Dickens. Free. (805) 382-9538.

2. Meet the animals at Pierce Farms in Woodland Hills, Jan. 9, as part of a nature walk sponsored by Nursery Nature Walks' Nature Adventures for Kids. $5 donation per family. For children ages newborn to 8 years. (310) 364-3591.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday December 13, 1997 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 14 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 57 words Type of Material: Correction
'Star' Hours--"The Christmas Star" program at the Griffith Observatory can be seen at the following times: today and Sunday, 1:30, 3, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.;Tuesday through Friday, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 20 through Jan. 1, 1:30, 3, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. (except Dec. 24, 1:30 and 3 p.m. only). The Observatory is closed on Christmas Day. An incomplete schedule was printed in Thursday's Weekend Calendar section.

3. Count the sugar plum fairies in one of the area productions of "The Nutcracker." Moscow Ballet, Dec. 23 to 28 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, (714) 740-7878 or (213) 365-3500. $20 to $65. The Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Friday-Dec. 24 at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. $18 to $46. (213) 480-3232.

4. Get a clue when the Pacific Symphony's family series, "String of Clues," continues Saturday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with "The Christmas Caper." The program includes Leopold Mozart's "Toy" Symphony and performances by a hand bell choir. A "musical treasure hunt" takes place in the center lobbies, where kids can meet members of the orchestra. $10 to $12. Performances at 10 a.m. (arrive at 9 a.m. for treasure hunt) and 11:30 a.m. (treasure hunt to follow). (714) 755-5788.

5. Party with the mariachis at La Posada. Fiesta Navidad, featuring Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano and Ballet Folklorico Ollin at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, is the West's newest holiday tradition: a concert of mariachi music and folklorico dancing commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The Dec. 20 event, co-sponsored by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, uses the travel motif to journey through the musical styles of the various regions of Mexico. $15 to $38. 8 p.m. (714) 553-2422.

6. Listen up! Ventriloquist and recording artist Shari Lewis brings her fuzzy friends Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy and a 13-piece orchestra to the Orange County Performing Arts Center for a pair of holiday shows Dec. 18. $6 to $20. 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. (714) 556-2787.

7. Sip tea with Madeline at the Glendale Public Library's "Tea With Madeline." Children ages 4 and older are invited to hear stories, visit with the storybook character and decorate cookies. Dec. 20, 2 to 3 p.m. 222 E. Harvard St., Glendale. Free. (818) 548-2035.

8. Walk through a life-size gingerbread house at the Regal Biltmore Hotel. Sheets of gingerbread line the inner and outer structure, surrounded by white chocolate and royal icing. On display throughout December. Free. Carolers in traditional Olde English costumes will stroll the public areas of the hotel Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. through Dec. 22. 506 S. Grand Ave., downtown, (213) 612-1562.

9. Also at the hotel, meet Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, when he gives a reading of "A Christmas Carol," at "Tea With Scrooge," Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Adults, $30; children, $15. (213) 612-1561 for reservations.

10. Visit the North Pole at Santa's Village, a Christmas-themed amusement park near Lake Arrowhead. California Highway 18, Skyforest. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 4 and weekends only through March 1. Admission: ages 2 and under, free; ages 3 to 59, $12; seniors 60 and over, $8.50. (909) 337-2481.

11. Sport your 3-D glasses for Laserium's "KBIG 104 Laser Holiday 3-D," at Griffith Observatory. Daily at 6 p.m., except Mondays and holidays. Ends Jan. 4. Adults, $8; seniors and children ages 5 to 12, $7. Children under 5 not permitted. (818) 901-9405.

12. Watch a procession of lights at the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. From ancient cave themes to galactic space odysseys, festively decorated yachts will commemorate this year's theme: Holidays--Stone Age Through Space Age. Fritz Coleman is the grand marshal. Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Main Channel, Marina del Rey. Key viewing sites include Fisherman's Village on Fiji Way, Burton Chase Park on Mindanao Way and the north and south jetties. Free. (310) 305-9545.

13. Take a dip in the icy ocean, otherwise known as a polar bear swim, at Mother's Beach, Via Marina, Marina del Rey (in front of Cheesecake Factory). Access to beach is free; public parking is $5 by machine after 9 a.m.

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