Nutcracker in the Castle - Paine Art Center and Gardens

Nutcracker in the Castle

November 19, 2021 to January 10, 2022

The beloved Nutcracker fairytale returns to the Paine "castle" with a mesmerizing array of sights, sounds, and surprises! This holiday season guests are invited to explore the settings of the story on self-guided tours, guided tours, and candlelight tours. Along the way, each elaborately decorated room of the historic Paine mansion reveals a new chapter of the story! 

From the opening party scene with a giant Christmas tree to the Land of Sweets and beyond, follow the adventure of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. As part of your journey, 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.

Drosselmeyer with boy and girl
Dining room with Christmas tree and decorated cakes on table
Ballerina with Nutcracker doll
Room with pink Christmas decorations and a large storybook
Boy with Fairy
Three large Christmas trees

Self-guided Tours

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

On self-guided tours, 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. Throughout both floors, more than 60 mischievous mice are hidden within the settings.

November 26, 2021–January 10, 2022
Mondays–Saturdays | 10:00 am–4:00 pm


Self-guided Tours are not available on Sundays, Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

Self-guided Tours are available during the day on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.

$15 Adult
$11 Youth (ages 5–17)
Free for Paine Members
Free for children ages 4 and under

Join as a new Member now and receive free admission for 15 months!

Reservations recommended.

Make Reservation


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.

November 26, 2021–December 29, 2021
Fridays | 4:30–8:00 pm
Sundays | 5:00-8:00 pm

Additional Candlelight Tour dates between the holidays:
Wednesday, Dec. 22 | 4:30–8:00 pm
Monday, Dec. 27 | 4:30–8:00 pm
Wednesday, Dec. 29 | 4:30–8:00 pm


Candlelight Tours are not available on the evenings of Sunday, December 12, nor on Christmas Eve or New Years Eve.

$15 Adult
$11 Youth (ages 5–17)
Free for Paine Members
Free for children ages 4 and under

Join as a new Member now and receive free admission for 15 months!

Reservations recommended.

Make Reservation

Guided Tours - SOLD OUT

Featuring live musical, acting, and youth dance performances

Please note: Reservations for all Guided Tours are sold out for the season. We’ll hope you’ll visit for a Self-guided Tour or Candlelight Tour!

A guided tour of Nutcracker in the Castle brings the characters and scenes of the fairy tale 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 20, 2021–January 9, 2022
Saturdays | 5:00–8:00 pm
Sundays | 12:00–3:30 pm

Guided Tours are not available on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Additional Guided Tours dates between the holidays:
Thursday, Dec. 23 | 5:00–8:00 pm
Tuesday, Dec. 28 | 5:00–8:00 pm
Thursday, Dec. 30 | 5:00–8:00 pm


Tours begin every 30 minutes and last about an hour. 

$28 Adult
$23 Youth (ages 5-17)
Free for children ages 4 and under

Paine Members:
$22 Adult 
$18 Youth

Join as a new Member now and receive discounted reservations this holiday season and next year, too!

Reservations required. 

If you need assistance with a reservation, please call (920) 235-6903 ext. 30.

Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café

Located in the Conservatory at the back of the Paine property

Visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café for a scrumptious treat before or after tours of Nutcracker in the Castle! With the Sugar Plum Fairy herself as hostess, the café serves cupcakes and hot cocoa in a fairyland setting within the Paine’s Conservatory. 

Please note the hours of the café, and coordinate visits before or after Nutcracker tours.

November 19, 2021–January 9, 2022
Fridays | 5:00–7:30 pm (closed Dec. 24, 31 & Jan 7)
Saturdays | 11:00 am–7:30 pm (closed Dec. 25 & Jan 1)
Sundays | 12:30–7:30 pm (closes at 3:30 pm on Dec. 12, Jan. 2 & 7)

Additional Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café hours between the holidays:
Dec. 22 & 23 | 5:00–7:30 pm
Dec. 27–30 | 11:00 am–7:30 pm


$8 includes a cupcake and hot cocoa, milk or coffee. Cupcakes are made by Tamara’s the Cake Guru.

No reservation is necessary.


Become a Member Now!

Reservations for self-guided tours of Nutcracker in the Castle are free for Members! Members also receive discounted reservations for guided tours. Plus, if you join as a new Member now, the annual membership will be extended by an extra three months, giving you benefits with the Paine for the next 15 months. Enjoy free and discounted reservations to Nutcracker this holiday season and the next one, too!

Join Now


Safety Precautions and Guidelines

The Paine requires that all visitors wear face masks while indoors. (Children ages 2 and under do not need to wear a face mask.) Please plan to bring your face covering with you. If you are unable to wear a mask, we ask that you delay your visit until the risk of the pandemic recedes. In addition, the Paine has implemented safety and cleaning protocols to address the risk of the coronavirus. All staff wear face masks and frequently touched surfaces are routinely disinfected. We encourage you to review all of our safety guidelines before visiting.

Review Guidelines


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, or contact the Paine at (920) 235-6903 ext. 30 or

Review FAQ

Lead Sponsor

11:00 AM–4:00 PM

Reservations recommended.

Make Reservation>

Face masks are not required for admittance to the Paine.