Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Creates a Dazzling Nighttime Experience for the Holidays

Performances, music, and seven acres of Bayou Bend inspired by Zoo Lights


For the first time ever, the MFAH has created an immersive Christmas experience at Bayou Bend to inspire and delight Houstonians of all ages. By night, the house and grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with seven acres of dazzling lights, a 1,200-piece “tent of mirrors,” theatrical staging inside Ima Hogg’s mansion, and even a visit from Santa and his reindeer.

Meanwhile, visitors to the Museum’s main campus can participate in family-friendly activities by seeking out the Sketching Cart that roams throughout the galleries, picking up self-guided resources to explore works of art, and heading to Brown Auditorium for a line-up of kid-friendly films.

Please visit for a full list of activities, programs, exhibitions, and special events taking place during this holiday season. Visit for holiday hours.

Highlights at Bayou Bend

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend, with Santa and his reindeer
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street
Select Evenings: Thursday, December 17–Wednesday, December 30, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m., except Christmas Eve and Christmas
Just in time for the holidays, Santa and his reindeer visit Bayou Bend for 12 evenings of festive fun this December. During “Christmas Village at Bayou Bend,” Ima Hogg’s former home is decked out with merry decorations, a trail of sparkling lights, animated projections, and performances. At the center of the “Christmas Village” will be an elaborate Spiegeltent—a Belgian “tent of mirrors” comprising more than 1,200 separate pieces.

Traveling to Texas for the first time, the Cristal Palace Spiegeltent, with its russet-colored mahogany, faceted mirrors, and stained glass, will provide a nostalgic, old-world setting in the middle of Bayou Bend’s Diana Garden. Guests can gather to sip festive beverages, eat holiday treats, listen to seasonal music, and snap photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In addition to Bayou Bend’s spectacle of lights throughout the grounds, and the Spiegeltent, guests can check out Ima Hogg’s historic house, where creative director Todd Waite stages mischief with spirited cameos by Houston theater personalities.
Admission is $15 for ages 13 and older; $10 for ages 5 to 12; and free for ages 4 and under. Cash bar and light refreshments. Christmas Village will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas. Visit for more information.

Cabaret Da Camera at Bayou Bend
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street
Select Evenings: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 10, 11 and 12, at 7 and 9 p.m.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 7:30 p.m.
On four select evenings this December, Bayou Bend hosts cabaret-style performances by Da Camera Houston artists. Each performance is staged inside of Bayou Bend’s elaborate Spiegeltent—the Belgian “tent of mirrors” situated in the Diana Garden during the holiday season. Utilizing the Cristal Palace Spiegeltent’s intimate stage, each Cabaret Da Camera performance will feature a different musical theme, from gypsy jazz to Weimar Berlin. Twice nightly from December 10 to December 12, with an additional performance on December 15.
Admission is $50; cash bar and light refreshments. Visit for more information.

Bayou Bend Family Day: Festive Traditions
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street
One Day Only: Sunday, December 20, 2015, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Surround yourself in the splendor of the season at Bayou Bend, where a free day of fun and entertainment awaits visitors of all ages. Performances, demonstrations, and art-making activities—including a snowball toss, face painting, and a Christmas-themed puppet show—take place throughout the home and gardens and in the Spiegeltent. Enjoy house tours led by volunteers from Houston Junior Woman’s Club, who will guide visitors through rooms specially staged by creative director Todd Waite.
Admission is free; last admission at 4:30 p.m.

Highlights at Main Campus

Rothko Art Activities
Audrey Jones Beck Building / 5601 Main Street  
Tuesday, December 22, 2015, to Thursday, December 24, 2015, from 1 to 4 p.m.   
Saturday, December 26, 2015, to Sunday, January 3, 2016, from 1 to 4 p.m.

This winter break, join the family fun as you explore a lifetime of art created by American artist Mark Rothko. Sketch Rothko’s masterpieces in the galleries and explore the full range of his career, from early still-life paintings to the bright, vibrant fields of color that became his signature style—like the ones on view in the exhibition Mark Rothko: A Retrospective. Then, step into the gallery studio and create your own work of art inspired by the twisting, winding imagery that Rothko created when using the technique of automatic drawing. Free with general Museum admission. MFAH members always receive free general admission.

Family Flicks: Kid Flix Mix 2015. Recommended for ages 3 to 8.
Caroline Wiess Law Building / 1001 Bissonnet Street
Monday, December 28, and Wednesday, December 30, 2015, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Friday, January 1, 2016, at 11 a.m.

Bring the family for this delightful compilation of international shorts, curated by the New York International Children’s Film Festival. A group of musically inclined ants face off against a lumberjack threatening to take down their tree in Pik Pik Pik. Being different isn’t so bad in Bunny New Girl and Zebra. Sometimes even our family members can feel like strangers in My Big Brother, Eyes, and Oscar®-nominated Me and my Moulton. Fantasies create new worlds and endless possibilities in 5.80 Meters, Larisa Can Fly, and Submarine Sandwich. One special object can inspire anyone, big or small, in The Elephant and The Bicycle and Cookie-Tin Banjo, and a fly and a spider go to war in a common bathroom in Minuscule: The Private Life of Insects – Brushing. Free with general Museum admission.

Family Flicks: Party Mix 2015. Recommended for ages 9 to adult.
Caroline Wiess Law Building / 1001 Bissonnet Street
Tuesday, December 29, 2015, and Friday, January 1, 2016, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 31, 2015, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Old fables and myths are given a new twist in Mythopolis and Tigers Tied Up in One Rope. Fate is in the hands of some surprising characters in Johnny Express and In the Beginning. The human spirit, guided by music, soars against harsh realities in The Trumpeter and Layla’s Melody. The Single Life strikes a playful note when it imagines music as means of time-travel. Dogs take center stage—literally—in Oh My Dog. Free with Museum admission (which is free on Thursdays).


Christmas Village at Bayou Bend venue provided by West Coast Spiegeltents –

Cabaret Da Camera at Bayou Bend is sponsored by Saint Arnold Brewing Company.

Bayou Bend Family Days are presented by:

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment income from funds provided by the Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; the Favrot Fund; and Gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.

General admission to the MFAH is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell.
The MFAH film department is supported by Tenaris; Gensler; Salle and James Vaughn; Nina and Michael Zilkha; James V. Derrick; The ILEX Foundation; Franci Neely; and Lynn S. Wyatt.

Media Contact
Laine Lieberman, publicist / 713.639.7516