Holiday history. The Lord Mansion, a 1923 building that’s home to the State Capital Museum, is tricked out for the holidays with a big tree decorated in the style of the ‘20s. On Dec. 12, the kids can get their picture taken by the hearth with Santa, listen to music, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the South Capitol neighborhood, and visit a petting zoo hosted by local 4-H students. New exhibit “Washington Then and Now” will be opening today — view images of local cityscapes as they were and are. The curators, Seattle Times columnist Paul Dorpat and historian Jean Sherrard, will be on hand to talk to the public. Noon–3 p.m. $7, family of four $25. The museum is located seven blocks south of the Capitol campus; visit Washington State Historical Society for directions.
Free Third Thursday at TAM. The Tacoma Art Museum is open until 8 p.m. every third Thursday, and it offers special programming during the event — but it’s usually adult oriented. This month, though, the museum throws something out there for the younger crowd. On Dec. 17, from 5 to 8 p.m., teens can make art and dig into snacks while examining the artistic rebellion of 19th-century Impressionist painters. 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma. 253-272-4258.
Noon Year’s Eve party. Want to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the kiddos — without bedtime getting in the way? The Hands On Children’s Museum has a solution for that. Head over on Dec. 31 — but at 10 a.m. instead of 10 p.m. — to make art projects and play games, get your faces painted, and welcome 2010 with lots and lots of noise. $10, members $8, accompanying adults free. 106 11th Ave. S.W., Olympia. 360-956-0818.