Nutcracker in the Castle

November 16, 2018 to January 7, 2019

The Paine presents a dazzling display of sights, sounds and surprises this holiday season with Nutcracker in the Castle. The tale unfolds with each room of the historic estate transformed into scenes from the beloved Nutcracker fairy tale, from the opening Party Scene with a giant Christmas tree to the magical Land of Sweets and the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy.

There are three different ways to visit and enjoy the fantasy experience of Nutcracker in the Castle. Guests may take Self-guided Tours, Candlelight Tours, and Guided Tours, with each style of tour offered at separate times. In addition to tours, guests are invited to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café for a scrumptious treat!  See below for more details about the types of tours, their dates and times, and the hours of the café.

Self-guided Tours

Featuring 20 decorated settings and 70 Christmas trees in the historic Paine mansion

On Self-guided Tours, guests journey through more than 20 rooms and spaces elaborately decorated as the fantastic scenes of the Nutcracker story. On the first floor, each setting features a large storybook with illustrations that reveal a portion of the fairy tale. On the second floor, the rooms portray the home and lifestyle of the Stahlbaum family, as well as the workshop of Godfather Drosselmeyer and a wide variety of finely crafted wooden Nutcrackers. 

November 16, 2018 through January 7, 2019
Mondays–Saturdays, 11:00 am–4:00 pm
Closed Nov. 22 & Dec. 25
*Please note: Self-guided Tours are not offered on Sundays; only Guided Tours are offered, which require a reservation.

$13 Adult, $9 Youth (ages 5–17)
Members Free
Free for children ages 4 and under 
No reservation necessary


Candlelight Tours

Featuring the decorated settings illuminated by Christmas trees in the evening

Candlelight Tours offer guests an especially entrancing way to take a Self-guided Tour of the Nutcracker display in the evening. The lights of the “castle” are dimmed and the settings are illuminated by the glow of more than 70 Christmas trees. As guests enter, they are handed electric candles to carry as they wander through the glowing rooms. This special, Fridays-only experience is popular with people of all ages, especially children and couples. 

November 23, 2018 through January 4, 2019
Fridays Only, 4:30–7:30 pm
Plus: Wednesday, Dec. 26, 4:30–7:30 pm

$13 Adult, $9 Youth (ages 5–17)
Members Free
Free for children ages 4 and under 
No reservation necessary

Guided Tours 

Featuring live musical, acting, and dance performances

A Guided Tour of Nutcracker in the Castle brings the characters and scenes of the fairytale to life. The tour begins with a festive party in the “Ballroom” and live performances by a string quartet. Guests enjoy punch and cookies while Godfather Drosselmeyer tells the story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

Afterwards, he leads guests through the elaborately decorated rooms of the mansion. The story culminates in the “Lands of Afar” where youth dancers from Valley Academy for the Arts perform selections from the Nutcracker ballet. Guests then tour the second-floor rooms, which are fancifully decorated as Clara’s family home and Drosselmeyer’s workshop. 

November 17, 2018 through January 6, 2019
Saturdays, 5:00–8:00 pm 
Sundays, 12:00–3:30 pm
Plus: Thursday, Dec. 27, 5:00-8:00 pm

Tours begin every 30 minutes and last about 1 hour.

$26 Adult ($21 Member)
$21 Youth (ages 2-17; $17 Member)
Free for children under age 2
Reservations required. If you need assistance with a reservation, please call (920) 235-6903 ext. 30.

Make Reservations

Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café

Located in the Conservatory at the back of the Paine property

In addition to tours of Nutcracker in the Castle, guests are invited to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café for a scrumptious treat! With the Sugar Plum Fairy herself as hostess, the café serves cupcakes and hot cocoa in a fairyland setting within the Paine’s Conservatory. 

No reservation is necessary to visit the café. Please note the café has special hours and coordinate visits before or after Nutcracker tours.

November 16, 2018 through January 6, 2019
Fridays, 5:00-7:30 pm
Saturdays, 1:00-3:30 pm & 5:00-7:30 pm
Sundays, 1:00-3:30 pm
Plus: Wednesday, Dec. 26 and Thursday, Dec. 27, 5:00-7:30 pm

$7 for Cupcake and endless pour of Hot Cocoa, Milk or Coffee. Cupcakes are made by Tamara’s the Cake Guru.


Holiday Workshops for Families

Located in the Studio in the lower level of the Mansion

On select Saturdays, workshops inspired by the Nutcracker story are offered in the Studio. Children can make puppets, ornaments, masks, and more! Workshops take place 11:00 am–4:00 pm and are free with paid admission (free for Members).

Learn More About Holiday Workshops >


Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a visit to the Paine for Nutcracker in the Castle has many facets to consider. Let us make it easy for you! Use the button below to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. You also shouldn’t hesitate to contact the Paine at (920) 235-6903 ext. 30 or

Lead Sponsor

Cupcake Café Sponsor


Monday - Sunday
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Paine Art Center and Gardens

1410 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI 54901

(920) 235-6903