Ardastra offers outdoor holiday flicks fix

A family creates Christmas ornaments at Ardastra’s tree trimming event held on Saturday, November 30. Photo courtesy of Ardastra Gardens

It’s a rare opportunity to take in a lineup of popular Christmas films at an unusual movie-viewing venue. Ardastra aims to give audiences a unique  filmgoing experience every weekend in December when it transforms into a starlit cinema, featuring silver screen holiday favorites. Moviegoers are invited to step outside of their home and traditional theaters for what could become a new Yuletide ritual for the family. The first movie, set to run on Saturday, December 14, is The Polar Express, a computer-animated adventure film based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name. On Christmas Eve, a pajama clad young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express. On the journey he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. 

MC Sierra Blair hosts a rambunctious game of red light, green light for children five and under. Photo courtesy of Ardastra Gardens.

To get its audience into the spirit of things, guests are invited to come dressed in their PJs. There’s free hot chocolate for the first 50 moviegoers. “Our movie series is a great way to spend the night and enjoy the company of others in a safe environment. Right now, the temperature is perfect for outdoor events,” said Jeffrey Nash, Ardastra’s general manager. “It’s also a great weekend option for price conscious parents with a large family.” Movie night continues December 21, with A Christmas Story. Set in the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie tries to persuade his parents, teacher and even Santa that a BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift, even though they are all convinced he’ll shoot his eye out with it. The first 50 guests attending this showing of one of the most popular holiday films of all time will receive a free cup of Ovaltine. “Movie night will wrap up On December 28, with Disney’s animated film, Frozen.

The first 50 children will receive a cold treat,” said Mr Nash. 

“Moviegoers can bring along folding chairs and blankets for these outdoor screening events held under Ardastra’s pavilion.” Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and Ardastra members. The event runs from 5:30pm to 8pm every Saturday. The movie starts at 6pm. A holiday headquarters of sorts, Ardastra is becoming the place to go for those in search of some Christmas cheer. Its seasonal events kicked off late last month with a tree trimming ceremony. Another holiday highlight, Ardastra’s Sip & Safari was held December 6. It featured live music from Steve Holden and the Loose Crew. 

Other upcoming events include Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree Dance Party for children six to 12-years-old on Friday, December 20. Christmas With The Critters will take place on Friday, December 27, and a Happy Noon Year’s Eve Party is set for Tuesday, December 31. The zoo and conservation facility is also hosting A Christmas Corral Holiday Zoo Camp for six to 10-year-olds from Monday, December 16 to Friday, December 20. The camp runs from 9am to 3pm.

Santa makes a surprise appearance at Ardastra Gardens as little children rush to embrace him. Photo courtesy of Ardastra Gardens

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