« Back to Blog

Things to do December 17 - 23, 2020

December 18th

Civil War Lecture: Last Days of the USS Monitor

The Mariners’ Museum and Park - December 18; 12 p.m.
Presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of USS Monitor Center. Join us on Friday, December 18 at 12 p.m. for a virtual lecture with author and historian John V. Quarstein! Quarstein will give a presentation live from his home in Hampton, Virginia, on the remaining days of USS Monitor. Viewers are welcome to send Quarstein any comments or questions during the presentation, and he will answer following his talk. About this presentation: On Christmas Eve 1862, the ironclad Monitor received orders to proceed to Beaufort, North Carolina, to join a planned operation against Wilmington, North Carolina. Executive Officer S. D. Greene noted that Monitor was not a “sea-going vessel.” (The ship had almost sunk twice during its March 1862 trip from New York to Hampton Roads.) Monitor left Hampton Roads in clear weather on December 29, but encountered a heavy gale the next afternoon. The ironclad was overwhelmed by the heavy seas and sank in the early morning of December 31, 1862. As crew member Frank Butts noted, “The Monitor is no more.” 100 Museum Drive, 757-596-2222. Click here for more information.

December 19th

Story Time with Santa

The Mariners’ Museum and Park - December 19; 10 a.m.
Free virtual program. Advance registration is required. Yo ho ho, Mariners… young and old! Join The Mariners’ Museum and Park for story time with Santa Claus! Gather around the Christmas tree or find a cozy spot next to the fireplace and listen in as Santa Claus reads A Pirate’s 12 Days of Christmas. Following the story, children can ask Santa questions or tell him and Mrs. Claus about their holiday plans. Be sure to download our coloring sheet for some extra fun! 100 Museum Drive, 757-596-2222. Click here for more information


Dino on the Loose

Virginia Living Museum - December 19; 1 p.m.

Join our walking T. rex for a 15 minute dinosaur parade, photo ops and a roaring good time on the Dinosaur Discovery Trail! Price is included in museum admission. 524 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, 757-595-1900. Click here for more information.

Home for the Holidays: A Virtual Concert starring Queen Esther Marrow

Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center - December 19; 7 p.m.

Enjoy a free concert in the comfort of your own home, starring the incomparable Queen Esther Marrow. Her career began when she was discovered by the great Duke Ellington at the age of 22. He recognized that her exceptional voice would take her very far. If was a journey that would include working with civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., world leaders including The Pope and three US Presidents, and countless celebrities. She has performed on Broadway and the silver screen. Her film credits range from The Last Dragon to Sesame Street. In addition, Queen Esther Marrow wrote, produced, and starred in her own Broadway play, Truly Blessed, where she played her idol, Mahalia Jackson. She has been fortunate enough to share the stage with Ms. Jackson as well as many other icons including Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald. She has spent 26 years traveling around the world and inspiring people with her music. On December 19th, she will take center stage in your living room with this free virtual concert, presented in part by NNTV. 2410 Wickham Avenue, 757-247-8950, Click here for more information.

December 20th

Bird WAlk

Newport News Park - December 20; 7 a.m.

Join other bird enthusiasts and enjoy viewing birds in their natural habitat. No experience necessary! The group meets in Picnic Area 1, behind the ranger station at Newport News Park, but may drive to other areas of the park during the program. Dress for the weather, bring water and hand sanitizer, and don't forget your binoculars! When you get home, share your best photos with us on Instagram. Use #nnvirtualbirdwalk and #nnparks for possible feature! You can also post them here in this event. Co-hosted by the Hampton Roads Bird Club. For more information and special COVID-19 program instructions, visit https://www.hamptonroadsbirdclub.org/sunday-walks. 13560 Jefferson Avenue, 757-888-3333. Click here for more information.

December 21st

Virtual Maritime Mondays: Holiday Edition

The Mariners’ Museum and Park - December 21; 1 p.m.
Fun for both children and caregivers, enjoy an interactive book reading with Lauren Furey, manager of visitor engagement. Designed for children from 18 months to 8 years, Lauren takes you and your little champions on a journey to show how we are all connected to the world’s waters. Be sure to register in advance, and join us for a new book every week! 100 Museum Drive, 757-596-2222. Click here for more information

Coats for Families - 10 On Your Side Coat Distribution

Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center - December 21; 10 a.m.

We are proud to be partnering with WAVY TV 10 for their annual Coats for Families Campaign, an annual effort to provide new or gently used coats to children and families in need. We are one of nine distribution locations in Hampton Roads. Stop by our facility from 10 AM - 4 PM to pick up a warm winter coat. While we would love to provide a coat to everyone, please note that they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and sizing is limited to what we receive. 2410 Wickham Avenue, 757-247-8950, Click here for more information.

Continuing Events


The Mariners’ Food Drive

The Mariners’ Museum and Park - December 12 through December 19; 9a.m.

Join The Mariners’ Museum and Park in this season of giving as it partners with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank! From December 12 through December 19, the Museum will host a food drive to assist the Foodbank in providing sustenance to thousands of our neighbors across the greater Peninsula. During this critical time of need, please consider a donation of nonperishable food items that you can conveniently drop off at the Museum’s Business Entrance from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily without face-to-face contact with Mariners’ staff. The food drive will conclude on December 19 where a drive-thru, contact-free drop-off is available by the Museum’s main front entrance. The Mariners’ Museum is committed to being an active community partner as part of its mission is to connect people to the world’s water. Help us support the Foodbank in its fight to provide hunger relief, especially this holiday season. 100 Museum Drive, 757-596-2222. Click  here for more information.

WPCT on Air

Peninsula Community Theatre - Continuing through December 20; Streaming via YouTube

This collection of 3 radio plays by Eric Coble can be related to by every theatre lover. This funny, witty and old-time approach to the Golden Age of Radio will make for a fun time. Join us as we bring you MUSICAL THEATRE GEEKS – Before there was “Glee” there was the game show where fanatical fans face off with such questions as “Who was the costume designer on the 1914 production of “Banjo Eyes”? Sudden Death features an Lloyd Weber song. “LOST” ON BALI HAI – A group of castaways including Nathan Detroit, Maria, Tevye, and Sweeney Todd find themselves on a mysterious island…who will eat who first…? PROMETHEUS AND THE GOD(FATHER)- A look at Greek Gods as the “Family” they really are, along with a couple of humans plopped on each with no means to cook a monkey.
Produced by Special Agreement with Eric Coble. 10251 Warwick Blvd, 757-595-5728. Click here for more information.


Holidays at Endview

Endview Plantation - Continuing through December 31

Learn about historical holiday customs on a guided tour of the house. Greenery and period decorations add a festive seasonal touch to the historic home’s interior. The holiday tour is included with regular admission. 362 Yorktown Road, 757-887-1862. Click here for more information.


Lee Hall Mansion’s Christmas Through the Ages

Lee Hall Mansion - Continuing through December 31

Learn about the origins of holiday traditions while exploring nineteenth and twentieth century period decorated rooms set amidst the splendor of the Victorian Era. The holiday tour is included with regular admission. 163 Yorktown Road, 757-888-3371. Click here for more information.


Lights at the Fountain

City Center at Oyster Point - Continuing through January 1

Step into a winter wonderland at City Center Fountain Plaza with festive decorations and dazzling lights. Every half hour (from 5 to 9 p.m.), enjoy a show with lights and falling “snow,” set to holiday music. Be sure to take photos at the “Instagram-able Moments” sites around the fountain. 701 Town Center Drive, 757-873-2020. Click here for more information.


Celebration in Lights

Newport News Park - Continuing through January 1

Celebration in Lights, Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event, opens for its 28th season on Thanksgiving night (November 26, 2020). Newport News Park will be transformed by over a million individual lights, creating animated holiday and fanciful scenes. For its 28th year, the event will add new magical trees and upgrade the entrance arch in the Santa’s Enchanted Kingdom area, add candy theme display pieces and upgrade the brightness of the bulbs in the Candyland area, add additional deer display pieces and 3D trees to the deer arch area, and upgrade the rope lighting at the event entrance. The event will be open each evening, 5:30 - 10:00 p.m., through January 1, 2021. This year, admission on weeknights (Monday – Thursday) will be $12.00 per car, a savings of $3.00 off the weekend night (Friday – Sunday) rate of $15.00 per car. Additionally, advance purchase tickets (good any night) can be purchased for $10.00 at the Newport News Visitor Center at Newport News Park. 13560 Jefferson Avenue, 757-888-3333. Click here for more information.


Nature Nights Holiday Lights

Virginia Living Museum - Continuing through January 2; weekend days

Enter an outdoor trail glittering with lights and holiday spirit. Take a nature walk on the outdoor trail and through the Dinosaur Discovery Trail village!  This new experience is right in time for the holidays and is sure to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. Receive a candy cane treat, cookies and cocoa. Cost: VLM Members $9/ Non-Members $12 – ages 2 and under are free. ADD your own Glow! Light up toys and wearables available for purchase. Credit card only. NOTE: all COVID-19 CDC recommendations will be enforced – social distancing observed on trail. 524 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, 757-595-1900. Click here for more information.