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KEY Oklahoma City

Spend your holiday exploring downtown Oklahoma City during the fourth annual Downtown in December winter celebration. Only in downtown Oklahoma City can you experience the thrill of outdoor ice skating, water taxi excursions along the winding Bricktown Canal, a magical botanical garden, exhilarating snow tubing rides, holiday windows and abounding holiday cheer.

This month-long adventure attracts nearly half a million revelers to the City's 10-block polar playground. Festivities run through January 1. The focal point of Downtown in December is the state's tallest cut Christmas tree – The Oklahoman Christmas Tree, More than 20,000 multicolored lights are draped on the majestic 45 foot-tall, Colorado Blue Spruce, located along the east end of the Bricktown canal, across from the SBC Bricktown Ballpark.

Glide into the holidays with the Braum’s Ice Rink located on the grand lawn at the Civic Center Music Hall. Rink hours are noon to 10 p.m. daily through January 1, including holidays.

Cost to skate is $8, which includes skate rental and a two-hour session. Skating is just $5 for those who supply their own skates. Every Friday night from 6 – 10 in December is Disco Night on the frozen ice arena. A fog machine, disco lights and live DJ will set the mood for an entertaining trip back to the 1970's and early 80's.

Not much of a skater? We understand. The Ice Rink is also home to bustling performances including expert ice sculptor Ken Burkemper who will enthrall audiences by chiseling whimsical holiday art from massive blocks of ice from 6 – 9 p.m. on December 1, 8, 15 and 22. The Civic Center is located at 201 N Walker.

There’s no business like “snow business” at Downtown in December’s newest attraction. Presented by Bob Howard Auto Group, Snow Tubing at the Brick has visitors “laughing all the way” down a towering slide of snow at SBC Bricktown Ballpark.

“Over the field we go” has a new meaning as riders soar from the upper deck all the way to second base at the Brick. Sound a bit daunting? A second, smaller and shorter slide has children and the less adventurous “dashing through the snow” from the concourse level to first base. Land lovers and those just dying to build a snowman are in luck, too! An area devoted to snow fun and frolic has revelers of all ages playing in a winter wonderland.

Snow Tubing at the Brick is open through January 1 on most days. The venue will be closed December 5 – 6 and December 12 – 13. Hours of operation are noon to 10 p.m. Admission is $8.50 for each one and a half-hour session.

Exotic island plants, cozy Caribbean breezes and thousands of tiny twinkle lights mingle to create a dramatic, holiday paradise in downtown Oklahoma City's Myriad Botanical Gardens during OG&E Garden Lights. The 17-acre urban garden and architecturally-acclaimed Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory are aglow through January 1.

The Crystal Bridge will open free from 6 – 9 p.m. Sunday, December 4, 11 and 18 for special twilight viewings, courtesy of OG&E. The free nights feature live holiday musical performances by local keyboard king Joel Forlenza.

A playful "Jungle Bells" theme, complete with lighted monkeys, colorful toucans and water-loving alligators virtually come to life among the Crystal Bridge's lush, tropical vegetation. Dozens of scarlet and ivory poinsettias adorn the Conservatory's towering palm trees, blooming flowers and crashing waterfalls.

Outdoors, the 17-acre wooded landscape is trimmed with thousands of richly colored lights, creating a magical, sequin garden – perfect for romantic strolls and memorable family walks. Don't miss the breathtaking view of the illuminated gardens and downtown skyline from the plaza above the Gardens' Water Stage.

Crystal Bridge hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday though Saturday and noon – 6 p.m. Sunday. The Crystal Bridge is closed Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $3 for children ages 4 -12. For information, call (405) 297-3995 or log on to www.myriadgardens.com.

Historic Bricktown offers yuletide excitement with more than 40 restaurants and clubs and a host of holiday-clad destinations including the mile-long Bricktown Canal, Bass Pro Shops, The Painted Door Gallery and Harkins Theatres – all within walking distance.

Visitor's can drift past thousands of twinkling holiday lights along the canal as Sonic’s Bricktown Lights continues throughout the month. The holiday lighting transforms Bricktown into a festive winter attraction for the entire family. Whether you walk or ride a boat through the canal, the spirit of the holiday shines through.

All aboard….for a free adventure cruise on a Bricktown Water Taxi during the Kerr-McGee Holidays on the Canal. People of all ages will enjoy a fun-filled ride through sparkling Bricktown. Ride free from 6-9:30 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday through December 23 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Board the boats near The Oklahoman Christmas tree on Mickey Mantle Drive across from the Bricktown Ballpark.

Downtown’s Oklahoma River will sparkle for the second annual Devon Energy Oklahoma River Holiday Parade. On Saturday, December 10, a parade of more than 40 boats decorated in twinkling holiday lights, and a spectacular shower of fireworks orchestrated to holiday musical favorites, will make a grand family holiday celebration. Activities, entertainment and many more surprises begin 4 p.m. at Wiley Post Park. For information, visit www.okcevents.com or call (405) 602-1531.

Performing arts and culture abounds this season at the historic Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker. Get into the Holiday Spirit with Oklahoma City Philharmonic's "A Very Merry Pops" (December 1 – 3); Oklahoma City Theatre Company's "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" (December 2 – 22); City Rep's "Meshuggah-Nuns" (December 2 – 18); Canterbury Choral Society's "A Canterbury Christmas" (December 4); Ballet Oklahoma's "The Nutcracker" (December 9-11 and 16-18). Call 405-297-2264 or log on to www.okcciviccenter.org for tickets.

Ring in 2006 with family fun during the Arts Council of Oklahoma City's annual Opening Night celebration on December 31. Downtown will come alive with more than 15 entertainment venues hosting dozens of entertainers and children's activities from 7 p.m. to midnight. The evening culminates with the traditional New Year's countdown and fireworks. For information, visit www.artscouncilokc.com or call (405) 270-4848.

Most Downtown in December activities run through the New Year. For a complete schedule of Downtown in December activities, log on to www.downtownokc.com or call the Downtown in December hotline, (405) 236-3640 or 1-888-OKC4Fun.





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