Winterfest at the Family Museum -- December 8.

Sunday, December 8, noon – 5 p.m.

Family Museum, 2900 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf IA

Seasonal activities, song and dance performances, Christmas displays, and much more can be found at the Family Museum on December 8 when the venue hosts its annual celebration Winterfest, with this year's event-filled afternoon treating guests to displays, photos, and even visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and a real live reindeer.

Between noon and 5 p.m., Family Museum guests are invited to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and pose for a free family photograph, with one of Santa's live reindeer also making a visit to the Bettendorf venue. Other activities lined up for the day include: “Letters to the North Pole,” with missives written and sent directly to Santa himself; “Jolly! Hands-On! SCIENCE!”, where kids can become present-stacking engineers and make twinkly lights glow; the “Holiday Gnome Hunt,” with kids asked to find the many silly, bearded friends who have made their home in Fox Hollow; and “Arctic Ice Block Excavations,” in which visitors use science to chip away at a chilly block and free a penguin or polar-bear friend they're welcome to take home.

Crafts for the day include: “Snowman Gift Boxes,” in which museum guests can build a snowman that won't melt – complete with buttons and a scarf – that doubles as a festive holiday gift box; “North Pole Scenes,” with kids invited to craft a miniature North Pole landscape featuring a Christmas tree, a snowy backdrop, and the famous red-striped pole; and “Snowman Ornaments,” in which trees at home can be decorated with vistors' very own handmade, Frosty friends.

Musical and dance performances are scheduled with the Quad City Symphony Youth Choir (1-1:30 p.m.), the Family Museum Dance Company performing A Nutcracker “Sweet” (1:30 and 3 p.m.), the Bettendorf High School Choir (2-3 p.m.), and the RiverBend Bronze Bell Choir Quintet (3:30 – 4:30 p.m.). And a 300-square-foot train set will again be set up this year, with the Great Hall decorated with lights, stars, trees, animal displays, and the centerpiece window dressing: the last set of animated figurines from the Petersen Harden Von Maur store in Davenport. Created by the Silvestri Art Manufacturing Company, this Santa’s House scene includes a living room with a decorated tree and fireplace, a kitchen with a very busy stove, a workshop where elves are busy making toy trains, and a snowball battle in the woods among the elves who are gathering firewood. The display was built in Chicago during October of 1966, and was donated to the Family Museum in 1990 when the store was sold.

Winterfest will take place at the Bettendorf venue from noon to 5 p.m. on December 8, admission is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item or monetary donation to the River Bend Foodbank, and more information is available by calling (563)344-4106 or visiting

Support the River Cities' Reader

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993. Now we find our ability to continue providing all the features you love in serious jeopardy without the financial support of our readers.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher