"Holiday Happenings Around the World": Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, hosts the latest installment in its yearlong festival "The Celebration of the Natural World," which continues through September. Through December 30, kids learn about the seasonal celebrations of other cultures. Highlights include the "Ho! Ho! Holiday Hay Maze," gift-making sessions and art classes. These and related events are free with regular admission: $7, $6 for seniors, $3.50 for kids ages 4 to 12, free for younger children and zoo members. For details call 273-1341 or 273-7771.
Holiday Stories: Leticia Pizzino tells seasonal tales, augmented with songs, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in the community room at Superstition Springs Center, 6555 East Southern inMesa. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and they must be picked up by Tuesday. For details call 644-3184.
Holiday Toy Sale: City of Tempe hosts this second annual sale of used playthings from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Kiwanis Park Recreation Center, 6111 South All-America Way. Admission is free. For details call 350-5201; TDD number for the hearing-impaired is 350-5050.
Santa's Castle: A house full of holiday joy awaits kids of all ages at the Clauses' desert digs, 4237 West State (off 43rd Avenue, three blocks north of Glendale Avenue). Eight of the home's rooms have been transformed into thematic wonderlands, including the North Pole, the South Pole and an ice cave. Hours are 6 to 10 nightly, through Christmas. Admission is free. For details call 937-3482.
"Wild Winter Nights": Wildlife World Zoo has zoo lights, too. Like Phoenix Zoo's popular ZooLights event (see Thursday in Pic Hits), the display features thousands of lights placed strategically around the grounds at the menagerie, 165th Avenue and Northern in Litchfield Park. Unlike Phoenix Zoo, Wildlife World Zoo allows some of its critters, including white tigers Sir Lunge-a-Lot and Mrs. Lunge-a-Lot, to stay up late and enjoy the show. Other highlights include visits by Santa and his reindeer, special Wildlife Encounters shows and live entertainment. "Wild Winter Nights" continues from 5:30 to 9:30 nightly, through February 3. Special admission is $4, free for kids age 2 and under. For details call 935-9453.
at the museum
"Ornament Geometry" and "Computer Works": In the former, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Arizona Science Center, 147 East Adams, children create seasonal ornaments based on geometric forms; participation isfree with regular admission, plus a fee to cover the cost of materials. "Computer Works" explores the elements required to run a computer and how they relate to one another; it continues indefinitely. Call 256-9518.
"Southwestern Ornaments": In these workshops at Heard Museum, 22 East Monte Vista, kids ages 8 to 12 create their own holiday designs based on elements from the area in which we live. The sessions are slated for 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The fee is $5, $4 for members. Preregistration is required; call 251-0212. For general information, call 252-8840.
on the stage
Annie: Desert Stages, Inc., presents final performances of the musical at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at the group's home, 8473 East McDonald in Scottsdale. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12at the door. Call 483-1664.
Great Arizona Puppet Theater: This week's performances of The Elves and the Shoemaker are at 10 a.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Wednesday at the theatre, 3302 North Seventh Street. The production continues through December 24. Tickets are $4, $3 for members. For details call 277-1275.
The Littlest Christmas Tree: Phoenix Theatre's Cookie Company continues its season with this tale about the tiny tree that could. Final performances are at 2 and 4p.m. Saturday and noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday at Playhouse on the Park at Dial Corporate Center, Central and Palm Lane. For details call 254-2151.
A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail: Valley Youth Theatre presents a seasonal version of the A.A. Milne story in which Eeyore misplaces his tail. Final performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the group's venue at Tower Plaza Shopping Center, 3883 East Thomas. Admission is $4.50. For details call 267-3880.