Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

xtra to do dec 16

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Warm up with art

Winnipeg is known for its bone-chilling winters, but we also have a vibrant arts scene. Let some of that art warm you up at the new exhibit that just opened at the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art. My Winnipeg: Winter Kept Us Warm explores Winnipeg's art underworld, including an installation of back-door entrances of sex stores, and also features the film Cowards Bend the Knee by Guy Maddin. Open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. today. The installation continues until Jan. 12.

View the ancient skies

Our ancestors used to stare up at the night sky and wonder what's out there just like we do. See how ancient cultures tried to understand the movement of the stars at the planetarium show 2012: Ancient Skies, Ancient Mysteries. The show is definitely timely, because it explores astronomical cycles and how they relate to the Mayan prediction of the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012 -- which is this Friday. See it today at noon or 4 p.m.

Take a train ride

The Assiniboine Valley Railway is a charming little train that takes riders through a glorious display of more than 100,000 Christmas lights.

The train has been running every holiday season since 1996, and the display becomes larger every year. As you walk up to the station you will also see a gingerbread village, Candy Cane Lane, and a manger scene. From 6:30-9 p.m. tonight and every day except Christmas until Jan. 6. $2 per ride, at 3001 Roblin Blvd.

See Santa in his element

Santa is normally found in the mall these days. But if you want to see Santa somewhere that more closely resembles his workshop habitat, he's coming to Toad Hall Toys in the Exchange District. Bring the kids and your own camera to get a snapshot with the big jolly guy, and then try to control yourself around the unique toys that this gem of a store offers. It's a good place to find some gifts, but I've also spent some afternoons just wandering around and looking around at all the neat stuff they have. Today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., 54 Arthur St.

Forget the Snow

It's not hard to be sick of the snow already. Our long prairie winter is just beginning, and if you're craving some greenery instead of the white stuff, head over to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Enjoy the over 8,000 plants, flowers, and trees -- and it currently has a huge Christmas display to keep you in the holiday spirits. It's open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and admission is free.

Laugh in the Holidays

Laughing burns calories, and seeing as the holidays are upon us with all the fattening treats, now is a better time than ever to get some laughs in. Check out some gut-busting comedians at the Christmas Comedy Fest this Thursday at the Gas Station Theatre.

Tickets are $10, and the show is in support of the non-profit organization Local Investment Towards Employment (LITE).

See the constellations

At a time when most of our day is spent sitting at a computer or staring at a phone, taking a few minutes to look at the amazing skies that are always available seems to happen less and less. Oak Hammock Marsh invites you to come out on the winter solstice and watch the night sky pass by from its rooftop observatory. Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Admission is $6.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 16, 2012 ??65534

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