Santa Express rolls through South Jersey

What Is It: The popular Santa Express heated train rides have returned this year between Cape May and Atlantic counties.

What To Expect: During each ride, Santa walks through the train and spends time with each child. Patrons are encouraged to bring cameras because there is no staff photographer on the train. Cape May Seashore Lines operates the trains, which run every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23 between Richland and Tuckahoe. The Santa "Starlight" Express operates on the evenings of Dec. 13, 18, 19 and 20.

Event Info: The Richland Village Train Station is located at 1275 Harding Highway, Richland. The Tuckahoe Village Train Station is located at Railroad Avenue and Mill Road. Adult tickets are $15. Tickets for children ages 2 to 12 are $10. Cafe and lounge car tickets are $25 and include light refreshments. All tickets are round trip. Online ticket purchases are highly recommended as train rides sell out quickly. For more information and a detailed train schedule, visit the-santa-express.com

Bay-Atlantic Symphony concert series

What Is It: Bay-Atlantic Symphony will be lighting up the holidays with a concert series that includes festive music by Johann Bach, Josef and Johann Strauss, Jr., Johann Pachelbel, Ottorino Respighi and others today at Cumberland County College and Sunday at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

What To Expect: The program includes Pachelbel's "Canon," Ottorino Respighi's "Trittico Botticelliano," Strauss' Jr's "Pizzicato Polka," Russell Steinberg's "Lights On! - A Chanukah Medley" as well as Johann Sebastian Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Orchestral Suite No. 3." Bay-Atlantic Symphony is the resident orchestra of the Stockton College Performing Arts Center in Pomona and Guaracini Fine and Performing Arts Center at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

Event Info: Music director Jed Gaylin conducts the concerts 8 tonight at the Frank Guaracini, Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center at Cumberland County College, Sherman Avenue and College Drive and 2 p.m. today in the Campus Center Theatre at Stockton, Jimmie Leeds Road. Tickets are $25 for all seats at both venues. Tickets may be ordered by calling the Guaracini Fine and Performing Arts Center box office at 856-692-8499, or Stockton College at 609-652-9000. For more information, call the Bay-Atlantic Symphony at 856-451-1169 or visit bayatlanticsymphony.org

Paula Deen at Tropicana

Who Is She: Chef and TV personality Paula Deen, 65, from Savannah, Ga., hosts the Food Network shows, "Paula's Best Dishes" and "Paula's Home Cooking." An evening with Paula Deen will be held tonight at Tropicana Casino and Resort.

What To Expect: The Food Network star will be doing a cooking demo and sharing her can-do philosophy about life.

Event Info: Deen appears 6 tonight in the Showroom at Tropicana in Atlantic City. Tickets, priced at $35, $40 and $50, are available at the Tropicana box office, Ticketmaster and pressofatlanticcity.com/tickets

Christmas candlelights in Cape May

What Is It: The 39th annual Christmas candlelight house tours, where Victorian inns, homes, churches and hotels open their doors and welcome visitors to share the warmth and hospitality of the season, will be held tonight and Dec. 15 in Cape May.

What To Expect: There will be Christmas carols by candlelight, strolling musicians and vintage holiday decorations. Travel from site to site on board a heated trolley shuttle and stop at hospitality centers for warm beverages and traditional treats. Featured properties include The Bedford Inn, Congress Hall Hotel, The Dormer House and The Emlen Physick Estate.

Event Info: Self-guided Christmas candlelight hours tours will be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and Dec. 15. Admission to the tour is $25 for adults and $20 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. The tour is limited. It is strongly recommended tickets be reserved in advance by calling 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or visiting capemaymac.org. Any remaining tickets on the day of the tour may be purchased at Washington Street Mall Information Booth, Washington and Ocean streets. Properties on tour are subject to change.

Casinos

Kozak the Magician, Tropicana, Comedy Stop, 6:30 p.m., dinner seating 5:30 p.m., $20 show only ($10 age 11 and younger); $30 dinner and show, mature PG-14 material. 609-348-0920.

Divas Do AC Holiday Show, Resorts Casino Hotel, Screening Room, 10 p.m. $25. 800-322-SHOW.

Legends in Concert Holiday Show, Bally's, Palace Theater, 7:30 and 10 p.m. $32.50 adults, $16.25 children. 609-340-2709.

Gordie Brown, Golden Nugget, Showroom, 8 p.m. $19.95, $29.95. 800-777-8477.

Morrissey, Showboat, House of Blues, 8 p.m. $69.50, $89.50. 800-736-1420. 800-736-1420.

Peppino DiCapri, Trump Taj Mahal, Xanadu Theater, 8 p.m. $85, $95. 609-449-5150.

Comedy

Kelly Howard, Melvin George, Alan Havey, Borgata Comedy Club, The Music Box, 9 p.m., $20.

Rahn Hortman, Manny Oliveira, Jay Black, Tropicana Comedy Stop, The Quarter, must be 18 or older, 9 p.m., $27; 11:15 p.m. $25.

Nature

N.J. Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory, Research & Education Center, 600 Route 47, Middle Township, and North-wood Center, Lily Lake, Cape May Point, Avalon Seawatch continues 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Seventh Street and ocean, Ava-lon, free; birding trip, $10 show and go: Cape May Point State Park, 8 a.m., meet at Hawkwatch Platform. 609-861-0700.

Wetlands Institute, 1075 Stone Harbor Blvd., Stone Harbor, crafts 1 p.m.; animal program, 2:15 p.m. $8 adults, $6 ages

3 to 12, includes activities. Call 609-368-1211.

Events

Holiday Light Show, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., on Lake Meone, Historic Smithville Village Greene, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township, free. 609-748-8999 or ColonialInnSmithville.com

Holiday model train display, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Atlantic County 4H Model Railroad Club, Shore Mall, Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, across from Children's Museum and DMV. 609-703-5975.

Diving Santa Claus, 11 a.m., live diver feeding show, Atlantic City Aquarium, Historic Gardner's Basin, 800 N. New Hampshire Ave., Atlantic City, visitors watch and interact with Santa in scuba gear inside 25,000 gallon tank, show included with admission, aquarium open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 ages 4 to 12, free to ages 3 and younger, coupons for discounted admission available on website. 609-348-2880 or acaquarium.com

"Light Up The Holidays," 6 to

8 p.m., Absecon Lighthouse,

31 S. Rhode Island Ave., Atlantic City, entertainment by "Holiday Cheer," wine and beer, light refreshments, lighthouse night climb, official lighting of Christmas Tree, $20.

609-449-1360 or

Brunch, Bingo & Lace, 9:30 a.m., Aleathea's Restaurant, Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., Cape May, for ladies only, brunch buffet, fashion show, bingo, $25. 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or capemaymac.org

Homespun Holiday traditions, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Historic Cold Spring Village, Route 9, Cape May, meet Father Christmas noon to 2 p.m. at Country Store, model railway exhibit, carriage rides through village. 609-898-2300 or hcsv.org

Community Open House Candlelight Tour and Christmas Concert, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Cape May Stage, Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Bank and Lafayette streets, Cape May, tours of theater, carolers from Cape May Lutheran Church, part of the theater's "Meet Your Seat" series, for all ages, free. 609-884-1341 or capemaystage.org

Santa Paws, pet photos with Santa, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Ocean City Humane Society, Shelter Road, off Bay and Tennessee avenues, Ocean City, $10.

609-399-2018.

Human Rights Day Celebration, 7 p.m., poetry reading by Lamont Steptoe, Bayside Center, 520 Bay Ave., Ocean City, free, donations accepted. 609 442 2407.

Photos with Santa in lifeguard boat, noon to 3 p.m., Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace and Boardwalk, Ocean City, $10. 609-399-1412.

Laser Holidays, light show, 8:15 p.m., Robert J. Novins Planetarium, Ocean County College, main campus, College Drive, Toms River, holiday music, special effects, $10.

732-255-0343 or tickets.ocean.edu; recorded show information 732-255-0342 or ocean.edu/planet.htm

Eighth Annual International Gift Fair, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Richard Stockton College, Campus Center, main campus, Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township.

Holiday Open House, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sea Isle City Historical Museum, first level, Cape May County Library, 4800 Central Ave., Sea Isle City, light refreshments, tour of Bridal Exhibit, Military Exhibit, gift shop open. 609-263-2992.

Family Holiday Celebration, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, shopping, crafts, face painting, school children's choruses and bands, music, magic show, holiday movies, visit from Santa Claus, free. 609-729-9000 or WildwoodHoliday.com

Kids

Breakfast with Santa, 10 a.m., Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., Cape May, $15 adults, $10 ages 3 to 12. 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278 or capemaymac.org

Magical Talking Tree, noon to 5 p.m., Historic Smithville and Village Greene, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township, free. 609-748-8999.

Christmas Train Ride, 10 a.m. to closing, Historic Smithville and Village Greene, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township, $2. 609-748-8999.

Story Time with Mrs. Claus, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Christmas Cottage, Historic Smithville and Village Greene, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township, free. 609-748-8999.

Breakfast with Santa, Fred & Ethal's Lantern Light, Historic Smithville and Village Greene, Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township, buffet breakfast and photo with Santa, reservations required.

609-652-0544 or ColonialInnSmithville.com

Breakfast with Santa, 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., Hamilton Mall, food court, 4403 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday characters, magic of Chad Juros, $5, proceeds benefit Spread the Magic Foundation. 609-646-6392.

Brunch with Santa, two seatings, 9 a.m. and noon, Great Bay Country Club, 90 Mays Landing Road, Somers Point, $6.95 children, $16.95 members, $18.95 nonmembers. Reservations required.

609-927-5071, ext. 127.

Breakfast with Santa, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Latz's By The Bay, 801 Bay Ave., Somers Point, entertainment by Northfield Choir, donation of children's gift for Salvation Army requested, $17.95 adults, $12.95 children, portion of proceeds donated to NEF. 609-788-8838.

Music

Big Band dance, Tony Deluca & The Paisans, 8:30 to 11 p.m., doors open 8 p.m., Community Hall, 30th Street and Avalon Avenue, Avalon, $7.50. Reservations suggested.

609-967-3066.

Package Goods Orchestra, holiday concert, 7:30 p.m., Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave., Cape May, desserts and beverages courtesy of City of Cape May, free admission, guests encouraged to donate one unwrapped gift to benefit Sgt. Bill Alvarez Memorial Toy Drive. 609- 884-9565.

Angelus Chorus, 4 p.m., Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave., Ocean City, sacred and secular holiday music, free-will offering. 609-399-1915.

Old Spirituals and Gospel Concert, 7:30 p.m., Wheaton-Arts, Event Center, 1501 Glass-town Road, Millville, Whittington Family of Port Norris and South Jersey Community Men's Gospel Choir, $10 advance, $15 door, $9 WheatonArts members, age 12 and younger free but require a ticket. 800-998-4552 or 856-825-6800, ext. 100, or wheatonarts.org

Theater

"Scrooge, The Musical," dinner theater, 7:30 p.m., various dates, Elaine's, 513 Lafayette St., Cape May, matinee shows available, $44.95 adults, $34.95 teens, $24.95 children, reservations required. 609-884-1199.

Christmas Spectacular, musical production, 3 p.m., Eagle Theatre, 208 Vine St., Hammonton, family entertainment, $12 adults, $8 ages 12 and younger. 609-704-5012 or theeagletheatre.com

"A Christmas Carol," 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., High School Drama Club, Hughes Performing Arts Center, 6th and Atlantic Avenue, Ocean City, $15 adults, $12 students, senior adults. 609-399-1290 ext. 1442.

"The Nutcracker," Atlantic City Ballet, 1 and 5 p.m., Richard Stockton College, Performing Arts Center, main campus, Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township, $20, $35; children $10 when accompanied by adult. 609-652-9000 or

"Play in a Day" for Hurricane Relief, 24-hour theatre festival, kickoff 7:30 p.m., Richard Stockton College, Campus Center Theatre, main campus, Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township, five new short plays written, directed and rehearsed over a 24-hour period, admission is two food items, also donation of $10 ($5 students) encouraged, proceeds benefit the Stockton Student Relief Emergency Fund.

609-652-4950.

"Home for the Holidays,"

2 and 7:30 p.m., Ocean Professional Theatre Company, OceanFirst Theatre, Stafford Township Arts Center, 1000 McKinley Blvd., Manahawkin, Stafford Township, $35 adults, $20 children 12 and younger. 609-312-8306 or oceantheatre.org

"Carl's Kris Kringle," 3 p.m., Cape Island Theatre Company, Old Grange Restaurant, Historic Cold Spring Village, Route 9, Cape May, family-friendly theme, doors open 2:30 p.m., seating limited, in lieu of ticket sales donations collected for Volunteers in Medicine of Cape May County. 609-408-6595.

"Louisa May Alcott's Christmas," 2 and 8 p.m., performed by Gayle Stahlhuth, East Lynne Theater Company, First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, $25 general admission, $15 students, free to age 12 and younger when accompanied by adult. 609-884-5898 or

"A Tuna Christmas," comedy, 3 and 8 p.m., Cape May Stage, Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Bank and Lafayette streets, Cape May, $35 adults $30 seniors, $15 students. 609-884-1341 or capemaystage.org

"Kill Me Now: The Ultimate Dance Competition Show,"live reality show, Rowan University, Department of Theatre and Dance, 8 p.m., Eynon Ballroom, Chamberlin Student Center, Route 322, Glassboro, $15 general admission, $10 seniors,non-Rowan students, alumni, free to Rowan students and staff.

856-256-4545.

Nightlife

Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, 3400 Pacific Ave.: The Dizzy Dolphin, 609-340-4636 - Waynard, 6 p.m.; Nameless Few Duo featuring Carrie Walsh, 9 p.m.

Bally's Atlantic City, Park Place and Boardwalk: Blue Martini, 609-340-2000 - DJ Prefer, 10 p.m.; Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood, 609-340-2000 - Live music, 7 p.m.; The Lobby Bar, 609-340-2000 - Jagged, 10 p.m. ; The Mountain Bar, 609-340-2000 - DJ Cool Jon Sprang, 9 p.m.; Vixens, 10 p.m.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, 1 Borgata Way: Gypsy Bar, 609-317-1000 - 52 Pick Up, 7 p.m.; The Zoo, 11 p.m.; MIXX, 609-317-1000 - DJ Riz, 10 p.m.; mur.mur, 609-317-1000 - Mel DeBarge, 10 p.m.

Caesars Atlantic City, 2100 Pacific Ave.: Dusk, 609-345-3875 - Dennis Rodman, 10 p.m.; 21 Bar, 609-348-4411 - DJ Be-Easy, 10 p.m.; Mia, 609-348-4411 - DJ Lu'AP, 10 p.m.; Toga Bar, 609-348-4411 - VJ Benny C and Toga Dancers, 10 p.m.

Golden Nugget,Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard: Rush Lounge, 800-777-8477 - Richie Balin, 6 p.m.; Funkybone, 10 p.m.; 46 Bar, 800-777-8477 - DJ and Dancers, 10 p.m.

Harrah's Resort, 777 Harrah's Blvd.: Eden Lounge, 609-441-5165 - Daddy Pop, 9:15 p.m.; The Pool After Dark, 609-441-5165 - Epic Saturday's, DJ Pauly D, DJ Vito G, 9 p.m.; Xhibition Bar, 800-242-7724 - DJ Hannah Rad and DJ K-Styles, 10 p.m.

Resorts Casino Hotel, 1133 Boardwalk: 25 Hours, 800-336-6378 - Blanche, 4 p.m.; Route 9, 10 p.m.; ProBar, 800-336-6378 - Music Videos, 8 p.m.; DJ Naj, 10 p.m.; Gogo Boys, 11 p.m.

Revel, 500 Boardwalk: The Social, 609-572-6488 - Garden State Radio, 9 p.m.; Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly Burlesque Nightclub, 609-225-9898 - DJs, Classic Burlesque 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.; Rock 'n Roll Burlesque 2 a.m.; HQ, 855-348-0500 - Rob Guson, 10 p.m.

Showboat Casino-Hotel, 801 Boardwalk: House of Blues Party Pit, 609-343-4000 - Go Go Gadget and Dancers, 10 p.m.; Foundation Room, 609-343-4000 - DJ Jason E, 10 p.m. Sa

Tropicana Casino and Resort, 2831 Boardwalk: Anthem, 609-576-5206 - DJ Luap and DJ B Easy, 10 p.m.; Providence, The Quarter, 609-345-7800 - Jason Smith, 10 p.m.; Ri Ra, The Quarter, 609-348-8600 - Technical V, 11:30 p.m.; Rumba Lounge, The Quarter, 609-340-4000 - Dancers and DJs, 10 p.m.; Cuba Libre, The Quarter, 609-348-6700 - Latin Floorshow, 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and midnight; Firewaters, 609-344-6699 - DJ Dance Party, 10 p.m.; Tango's Lounge, 609-345-7800 - Jynx, 3 p.m.; Johnny & Sherena, 7 p.m.; DJ Ralph D'Amelio, 11 p.m.; Planet Rose Karaoke Lounge, The Quarter, 609-344-6565 - Karaoke, 8 p.m.

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, 1000 Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue: Ego, 609-449-5138 - Almost Angels and DJ Joey, 10 p.m.; Casbah, 609-449-5138 - DJ, 10 p.m.

Atlantic City

Le Grand Fromage, 25 Gordon's Alley, 609-347-2743 - Endless Sacrifice, 7 p.m.

The Irish Pub, 164 St. James Place, 609-344-9063 - DJ Fran, 9 p.m.

Tun Tavern, 2 Convention Blvd., 609-347-7800 - Jon Anthony, 8 p.m.

Bridgeton

The Bridgewater Pub, 22 S. Laurel St., 856-455-9551 - DJs, 9 p.m.

Cape May

Boiler Room, Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, 609-884-8421 - Third Degree, Margie Staples, 9 p.m.

Brown Room, Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, 609-884-8421 - Darin MacDonald, 8 p.m.

Ebbitt Room, The Virginia Hotel, 25 Jackson St., 609-884-5700 - Paul Sottile, 6 p.m.

Mad Batter, 19 Jackson St., 609-884-5970 - Robin & Amy, 7 p.m.

The Merion Inn, 106 Decatur St. at Columbia Avemue, 609-884-8363 - Jim Long, 8 p.m.

The Ugly Mug, 462 Washington St., 609-884-3459 - Live music, 9 p.m.

Galloway Township

Bulldog's Bar and Grill, 743 White Horse Pike, 609-965-4433 - DJ Dance Party, 10 p.m.

Ram's Head Inn, 9 W. White Horse Pike, 609-652-1700 - piano performance by John Arnett, 6 p.m.

Assaggio!, 500 W. White Horse Pike, 609-965-3303 - Live piano music, 7 p.m.

Hammonton

DiDonato's Bowling Center and Cocktail Lounge, 1151 White Horse Pike, 609-561-3040 - Karaoke, 8:30 p.m.

Margate

Sofia, 9314 Amherst Ave., 609-822-9111 - Live music and piano, 7 p.m.

Steve and Cookie's By the Bay, Amherst Ave., 609-823-1163 - Joe Mancini, 7 p.m.

Mays Landing

The Dockside Grille, The Inn at Sugar Hill, 5704 Mays Landing Road, 609-625-2226 - Local musicians Rock The Dock, 6 p.m.

Testa's Good Guys Pub, 5698 Somers Point-Mays Landing Road, 609-625-1926 - DJ dance party, 10 p.m.

Millville

Bogart's Books, 210 N. High St., 856-327-3714 - Soul of the Season - Patty Lax, 6 p.m.

Old Oar House Irish Pub, 123 N. High St., 856-293-1200 - Joe Kozak, 9 p.m.

Richland

The Rail, Route 40 and Cedar Avenue, 856-697-RAIL - Mike Hurban.

Somers Point

Philippe Chin Bistro, 800 Bay Ave., 609-926-3500 -jazz with Shawn Ashley, 8 p.m.

The Crab Trap, 2 Broadway, 609-927-7377 - Higher Ground.

Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Road, 609-927-2759 - Lew London and Bob Mower, 6 p.m.; Bubba Mac, 7 p.m.

Upper Township

Tuckahoe Inn, Route 9, Tuckahoe, 609-390-3322 - Party DJ.

Yesterday's Tavern, 316 Roosevelt Blvd., 609-390-1757 - Live music, 9:30 p.m.

Vineland

Luna's Outdoor Grill at Merighi's Savoy Inn, 4940 Landis Ave., 856-691-8051 - Live entertainment, 8 p.m.

Wildwood

Cattle 'n Clover, 3817 Pacific Ave., 609- 522-3800 - Animal House Band, 8 p.m.