It all started 20 years ago on a string and a prayer. In November 1983, the Great Arizona Puppet Theater gave its first performance -- The Elves and the Shoemaker at the old Los Arcos Mall. The puppet masters raise the curtain on their 20th Anniversary Weekend Celebration this Friday, November 28, and Saturday, November 29. Both days feature family shows -- Frog & Toad Together, Hotel Saguaroand Silly Bunny's 20 Year Celebration-- plus an adults-only Best of the Slams performance at 8 p.m. Guests also can check out a retrospective exhibition of GAPT puppets, purchase vintage and collectible puppets, and try their hand at making their own.The theater is located at 302 West Latham. Admission is $10 for daytime activities; tickets to the slam are $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 602-262-2050 or see www.azpuppets.org for a schedule of events.- Jill Koch
The Arizona Puppet Theater celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Creature comfort: ZooLights cast a glow over the animals.
The big top sets up shop in the Valley this weekend, when the Shrine Circus rolls into WestWorld's Equidome, 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. And the greatest show on Earth just got even better: Families can experience the in-tents entertainment without breaking the bank. With a paying adult -- grandstand tickets are $12, box seats are $15 -- children under 12 are treated to a free-ring circus. Showtimes are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 28; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 29; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, November 30. Call 602-231-0300 to reserve tickets. - Jill Koch
Captivity and electricity have never blended so beautifully. This Thursday, November 27, the Phoenix Zoo gets all wired up for ZooLights, and all is merry and very, very bright in the wild kingdom, as two million holiday lights take animal form. ZooLights highlights include a dancing trees light show, several new characters and nightly "animal encounters." Kids can get musical with mushroom drums, a chime tree and gong fence; get literary with storytelling in the Enchanted Forest; and get dirty with sheep, goats and rabbits in the petting zoo.
ZooLights shines from 6 to 10 nightly through January 4. Early birds can catch special entertainment, refreshments and pony cart rides in the new Festival Plaza outside the zoo's entrance, 455 North Galvin Parkway. See www.phoenixzoo.org or call 602-273-1341 for advance tickets, $6. Tickets at the gate are $7. - Jill Koch