We’ve done Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo since the girls were tiny, and we also love the Colorado Symphony Family Series- especially Colorado Christmas. This year we spent a phenomenal weekend at the Gaylord Christmas celebration, and we still have plans for more than 5 more events.
We’ve rounded up 18 of our favorite Denver Christmas Traditions here- but in this post, I’m going to tell you all about the Nutcracker as performed Colorado Ballet- right here in Denver at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
What’s The Ellie Caulkins Opera House Like?
Audiences simply love this production of The Nutcracker is held at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts complex.
There isn’t a bad seat in the house- and because the set of the Nutcracker is so spectacular, it is easy to feel like you are part of the performance even if you sit further from the stage.
The facility has plenty of bathrooms on each floor, and super clean family bathrooms and changing stations for viewers with young children. (We had a close call and had to run- we made it!)
There is a gift shop in the lobby of the opera house, and there are beautiful, one-of-a-kind Nutcracker and Christmas-themed items for sale.
There is also a full bar in the lobby, and you can pre-order and pay for drinks for during intermission. No food or drinks are allowed in the theater, so keep that in mind as you determine whether or not to purchase anything.
Colorado Ballet Nutcracker- The Show
The Colorado Ballet performs its version of The Nutcracker to live music with the Colorado Ballet orchestra- which adds an amazing dimension to the performance. You can see the musicians in the pit, but it is in no way distracting.
The set of the performance is stunning- the magical dances come alive on stage- I especially love the trip to the Sugar Plum Kingdom. The snow falling at the end of the first act is spectacular.
Our 3-year-old had a lot of questions about the performance, (what is happening? what does that mean? Why is he/she…?) and there were tiny synopses of each section that appeared on electronic screens on the seatbacks in front of us.
This was a super helpful way to answer kid questions without having to refer to the program. And of course, when the mouse king and the Sugar Plum fairy take the stage, every kid is enthralled.
The performance and intermission last one hour and 50 minutes- so plan accordingly as far as food and bathroom breaks for young ones.
The Bottom Line
The Nutcracker as presented by the Colorado Ballet is an excellent way to spend the holiday season.
The dancers are phenomenal, and the performance is captivating to young viewers. I highly recommend adding the experience to your family’s holiday traditions.
Every season, this beloved holiday favorite sells out every year, so make sure to secure your seats early for this holiday tradition.
Check here for this year’s complete schedule, and ticketing information for each of the performances.