OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – For those families looking to find something suitable to do with the season, why not take a step back in time?

The Paine Castle in Oshkosh is doing just that with the return of their annual ‘Nutcracker in the Castle.’ Guests embark on a self-guided tour through rooms decorated as scenes from the story.

The beloved Nutcracker fairy tale returns to the Paine “castle” in Oshkosh with a mesmerizing array of sights, sounds and surprises! This holiday season guests are invited to journey through the settings of the story on self-guided tours. Along the way, the tale will be revealed within each elaborately decorated room of the historic Paine mansion. From the opening party scene to the Land of Sweets and beyond, follow the adventure of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

On the first floor, each setting features a large storybook with illustrations that depict a portion of the fairy tale. On the second floor, the rooms portray the home of Clara’s family and the workshop of her mysterious godfather, Drosselmeyer, along with a fascinating variety of his finely crafted wooden Nutcrackers. Throughout both floors, more than sixty mischievous mice are hidden within the settings. What surprises will you find? The adventure awaits you within the castle!

“It’s a great privilege to bring the community to a place where they may feel safe and enjoy the holiday,” says Laura Rommelfanger, Director of Events at the Paine Arts Center and Gardens. “That we’re able to bring a little bit of joy to both children and adults alike. It’s so fun to see their faces light up as they visit the different rooms of the mansion and see all of the beauty.”

Due to the risks of the ongoing pandemic, this year the Paine Art Center and Gardens is only offering
self-guided tours of Nutcracker in the Castle, and reservations are required. No guided tours with live performances or candlelight tours will be offered, and the Cupcake Cafe will not operate this season.

From November 20-January 11, self-guided tours of Nutcracker in the Castle are offered Monday – Thursday from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM and Friday-Sunday from 10:00 AM-8:00 PM. Additional extended hours will be offered near Christmas and New Year’s.

To ensure the safety of guests and staff, group sizes for self-guided tours are limited to 9 people or less, and entry times are spaced out. The Paine requests that all guests wear a face mask or covering and maintain social distance from visitors not in their group. All staff will wear face masks and frequently touched surfaces will be routinely disinfected.

For more information about Nutcracker in the Castle and to make reservations, you can head over to the thepaine.org.