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Top 6 Picks takeover with @TheWestEndMom: things to do with the family in December

Posted at 10:49 AM, Dec 01, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. – Today, we asked Megan (aka @TheWestEndMom on Instagram) to take over our Top 6 Picks! Each week, we share a list of 6 things. The topic always changes, but the goal remains the same – to motivate you to try something new!

The mom of two started the popular social media account in 2019 and shares her family’s adventures. She uses the platform to inspire other families to explore the Richmond area. It’s full of fun activities and outings your family is sure to enjoy.

Since today is December 1, we asked @TheWestEndMom to share 6 local things to do with the family this month! Check out her list below and give her a follow on Instagram for even more great ideas!

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1. Illuminate Light Show: The largest drive-thru Christmas light show in Central Virginia is at The Meadow Event Park until January 3, 2021. Illuminate happens nightly from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., and guests drive through about 30 minutes of extravagant light displays that are synchronized to Christmas music. After the light show, there are concessions and bathrooms. This is a fun, festive activity for any night this December! Tickets can be purchased online or at the gates ($25 per car). To purchase tickets and for more information, click here.

2. Watch Henrico’s Holiday Express Tour: Henrico County is hosting a three-night parade through local neighborhoods the first week of December. Henrico Recreation & Parks, Henrico Police, Henrico Fire, Henrico Libraries and Santa will travel on decorated vehicles through the Brookland & Fairfield Districts on December 1st, the Varina District on December 2nd, and the Three Chopt & Tuckahoe Districts on December 3rd from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Click here to find the parade routes.

3. Visit Ashland, Virginia: Every December, Downtown Ashland illuminates a mile-long portion of the train tracks that run through the heart of town. “Light Up the Tracks” turns the historic district turns into a Christmas village! Families can also explore Pufferbelly Park, walk the paved path at North Railside Park, or watch for trains along South Railroad Ave. For more information about “Light Up the Tracks,” click here.

4. Visit The Market at Grelen: Located an hour away in Orange County, you'll find this nursery, gift shop, outdoor café and miles of trails. There are trails for all skills levels, including children. The market is open on Wednesdays through Sundays with soups, sandwiches, and treats. Families can cut their own Christmas trees on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., children can visit with a socially distant Santa Claus. It is also pet-friendly! For more details, click here.

5. Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights: The Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights is open nightly from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. until January 10, 2021 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Families can enjoy thousands of lights, a train display, and refreshments outside in the garden. This is a walk-thru experience, so make sure to dress comfortably and warmly! There are new safety measures this year that include requiring masks for guests 5 and older and a strict capacity limit. Pre-purchased tickets are required. Tickets range from $5 to $18 depending on the night. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

6. Visit Metro Richmond Zoo for a drive-thru tour: Starting on December 7th, families can experience a drive-thru tour at Richmond Metro Zoo on Mondays and Tuesdays. This experience is 100% contactless – families can purchase tickets online and display them through the car window. The 60-minute tour is narrated and costs $60 per car. This is the perfect adventure for cold December days! The walk-in zoo will still be open on Wednesdays through Saturdays. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

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As we approach the Christmas season and the end of 2020, there are so many wonderful ways for local families to help our Richmond community. Here are two causes @TheWestEndMom is encouraging families to support:

The Salvation Army of Central Virginia provides over 5,000 local individuals gifts each year. Angel Tree tags can be picked up at Stony Point Fashion Park, both Wegmans, Short Pump Town Center, and Chesterfield Town Center, and all gifts should be returned to either Short Pump Town Center or Stony Point Fashion Park by Friday, December 4. On December 5th, volunteers can help sort & prepare all Angel Tree gifts, so they can be distributed to local children and seniors. This volunteer opportunity for families with children 8 and older, and it is from 10-2 at Stony Point Fashion Park.

Little Hands Virginia’s annual holiday drive, Bundles of Joy, is going on until December 14. Locals can donate $40 or donate the following items: a pack of 3-5 onesies, 2 footies, socks, pack of diapers & wipes, baby soap, lotion & diaper cream. They also accept gently used toys and clothing for babies to 3 year olds. Families can donate clothing that is too small or toys that are outgrown to families in need.

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A big THANK YOU to @TheWestEndMom for participating in this takeover! Check back next Tuesday when the Virginia This Morning team shares another Top 6 Picks list!