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    The animal kingdom lights up at Stone Zoo

    26nocalendar - Celebrate the season and get close up to reindeer with Stone Zoo’s annual ZooLights celebration taking place Nov. 24 through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25). (Zoo New England)
    Zoo New England
    Celebrate the season and get close up to reindeer with Stone Zoo’s annual ZooLights celebration.

    LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE ZooLights, a treasured holiday tradition for hundreds of families, celebration at Stone Zoo in Stoneham, begins Friday, Nov. 24.

    The lights will be on from 5 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25).

    Stroll inside the winter wonderland and meet Mrs. Claus from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Dec. 6, 13, and 20, and Sunday, Dec. 24. Forget bedtime. Take a moonlit spin on rides — carousel, Jungle Fun, Safari Jeep, and Turbo Tub — for $3 per ride, or $10 for four.


    Snap a photo with Jolly Old St. Nick in Santa’s Castle through Dec. 23. Get up close to one of Stone Zoo’s reindeer during nightly photo opps. Don’t forget to visit the zoo’s newest stars: black bears Smoky and Bubba, and over in the Yukon Creek exhibit, bald eagles, Canada lynx, and arctic foxes.

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    During ZooLights, the zoo, which is located at 149 Pond St., will close daily at 4 p.m., then reopen at 5 p.m. The price range for ZooLight tickets is: $10 nonmember adults/$9 members; $9 seniors (62+)/$8 members; Children $8 (ages 2-12)/$7 members; and free for children under 2. Order order at or call 617-541-LION.

    Meghan Moore
    Rebecca White (Musician), Joel Colodner (Charles Dickens), and Nathan Leigh (Music Director) in the Merrimack Repertory Theatre's "A Christmas Carol."

    BAH, HUMBUG! Find the true meaning of Christmas when you see “A Christmas Carol,” the holiday classic being staged in Lowell from Wednesday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 24 at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.

    Adapted by Tony Brown from the Charles Dickens novella written in 1843, its message is still relevant now, said MRT artistic director Sean Daniels.

    “What is our responsibility to take care of others if we have ‘enough?’ Scrooge at the beginning wants to know why the poor don’t pull themselves up by their boot straps,” said Daniels. “Do we hear that same argument in our modern day rhetoric? The question that Dickens asks — how can we improve the lives of our fellow man? It’s the most important question we should be asking right now, and the joy we see in Scrooge in the end, when he invests in others, should be a lesson to us all.”


    Joel Coldner, as Dickens, brings Ebenezer Scrooge to life both reading and performing the classic tale.

    All performances of the nearly two-hour show will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre, 50 East Merrimack St. Tickets range from $26 to $73, and include $15 student tickets and a 10 percent senior discount. Call 978-654-4678 or visit .

    CALM DOWN If there was ever a stressful time, it’s the holiday season. Learn how to reduce your stress through the use of meditation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan St., Danvers.

    Let Eileen Carlotto, a teacher with 35 years of meditation experience, guide you through the ages-old practice. Learn techniques to foster a deeper sense of fulfillment and greater physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

    This free event is open to the public. To register, call 978-774-0554 or visit


    SEW NICE Fabulous unique wreaths, centerpieces, decorated boxwood trees, homemade gourmet food items, handcrafted gift items, and more can be discovered in Gloucester on Saturday, Dec. 2, during the annual Annisquam Sewing Circle Christmas Fair.

    Founded in 1837, the Annisquam Sewing Circle is believed to be the oldest continuous independent society of women on Cape Ann. The fair and luncheon help raise funds to support scholarships for graduating seniors headed to college, training for a trade, or other educational opportunities and community projects on Cape Ann, such as Cape Ann Animal Aid and Pathways for Children.

    Get there early. It takes place from 8 a.m. to noon the Annisquam Village Hall, 34 Leonard St. Visit

    Crafts like this decorated wreath are available at the Annisquam Sewing Circle Christmas Fair. (handout)
    Crafts like this decorated wreath are available at the Annisquam Sewing Circle Christmas Fair.

    Kathy Shiels Tully can be reached at