Three Ways for Kids to See ‘Polar Express’ This Holiday Season

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Darien kids can experience the animated Christmas-themed movie “Polar Express” in three different ways this month — either for free this coming Saturday at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, or on the big IMAX screen at the Maritime Aquarium, or at the aquarium with a pajama party.

Here’s a rundown of the options:

(1) For free at the Avon, 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10

As the Avon Theatre announced on its Facebook timeline, you get more than just a free movie:

Join us for a magical journey to The Polar Express (2004) on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. FREE to the public.

Free tasting of delicious treats from Pilar Artisanal Chocolate at 9:30am.

Tickets are available at the box office only on the day of the show.

For more information, visit: www.avontheatre.org

[Actually, this is the Web page you want.]

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(2) See it on the big IMAX screen at the Maritime Aquarium

The film is playing on Saturdays and Sundays at 5 p.m. through Dec. 18. More shows will be offered at 5 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 23 and daily Dec. 26-Jan. 2.

Darienite.com has more information on the aquarium’s holiday movie here. (There’s more information on admission and dates at the bottom of Part 3, just below.)

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(3) Go all out: Polar Express Pajama Party at the Aquarium

Here’s an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium:

Make a magical milk-mustached memory this holiday season with tasty treats, visits with Santa Claus and a giant-screen thrill ride to the North Pole during “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Parties” offered by The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

On the weekends of Dec. 10-11 and 17-18, the Aquarium is inviting families to roll out of bed and come in their jammies for special morning screenings of the animated Christmas IMAX® movie “The Polar Express,” showing on the six-story screen. Each day, the movie starts at 10 a.m. but come at 9 a.m. to first enjoy a hot-chocolate bar, cookies and other baked treats, a special holiday craft, and visits – and pictures – with Santa Claus.

“In a busy, stressed-out time of year, here’s the chance for a relaxed easy morning for family fun,” said Dave Sigworth, the Aquarium’s spokesman. “We’re especially thrilled that Santa will be here, so bring your Christmas lists and your camera.”

Bankwell is presenting the “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Parties” and all other screenings of “The Polar Express” in Connecticut’s largest IMAX Theater this holiday season.

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Each “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Party” begins at 9 a.m. with a hot chocolate bar featuring all-natural cocoa complements of Sillycow Farm. Guests can top their hot chocolate with whipped cream and a selection of exotic toppings. Plus, they can choose from a delicious spread of decadent cookies provided by SoNo Bakery in Norwalk (Dec. 10 & 11) and Sunny & Frankies in Stamford (Dec. 17 & 18).

“Pajama Party” partiers also can visit with Aquarium educators, who will help them make a holiday ornament and explore some of the strategies that animals use to keep warm in winter – all before the movie starts at 10 a.m.

Featuring Tom Hanks as the voices of five characters, “The Polar Express” expands on the 1986 Caldecott Award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg. The story follows a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, a locomotive magically arrives to take him and other doubtful children to Santa’s North Pole headquarters.

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IMAX is the world’s largest film format. Outstanding image clarity and the enormous screen size, combined with The Maritime Aquarium’s 12,000-watt surround-sound audio system, results in an immersive thrill that is so unique it’s been trademarked.

Tickets for a “‘Polar Express’ Pajama Party” are $17 for adults and $15 for kids 3-12 ($15 and $13 for Aquarium members). Each show is limited to 310 seats, so advance purchase is strongly recommended. Buy online at www.maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

Can’t make it to a morning “Pajama Party” but still want to see “The Polar Express” in the IMAX Theater? The film is showing at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18, and also will play at 5 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 23 and at 5 p.m. daily Dec. 26-Jan. 2. Because it is an hour and 40 minutes long, it’s specially priced: $11.50 for adults; $10.50 for youths (ages 13-17) & seniors (65+); and $9.50 for children 3-12. Maritime Aquarium members save $1.

Besides the weekend shows and the “Pajama Parties,” screenings of “The Polar Express” are available for preschool and elementary-school students on weekdays at 9 and 10 a.m.

Get more details or reserve your tickets in advance at www.maritimeaquarium.org or by calling (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.