The Three Bears Holiday Bash in Central Park

The Three Bears Holiday Bash

If you’re looking for holiday entertainment in the city that doesn’t require chorus girls, or a second mortgage, look no further than Central Park.  The City Parks Foundation is once again proud to announce the holiday launch of The Three Bears Holiday Bash, a marionette production at the historic Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park.

The Three Bears Holiday Bash, is a variety show that celebrates the holiday season in song, dance, and puppetry. This production quickly becomes a comedy of errors when Baby Bear invites Santa to star in Mama and Papa Bears’ annual holiday show.  Drawing from the stories of Hanukkah, the Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a great way to get in the season spirit.

“We are very excited to announce the return of The Three Bears Holiday Bash,” said David Rivel, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation.  “As one of the most fascinating children’s theatres in the country, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park is the perfect place to tell this vibrant seasonal story.”


Show times for The Three Bears Holiday Bash, beginning Tuesday, November 16, 2010 are Tuesday through Friday at 10:30am and 12:00pm, with an additional performance at 2:30 pm each Wednesday; and Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm.  The production will run through December 30, 2010.

Reservations are required.  Tickets are $5/children and $8/adults.  Group rates are available for schools and other large groups.  For reservations, please visit the City Parks Foundation. For group rates, and information on birthday parties, please call 212-988-9093.

Swedish Cottage

The Cottage is located in Central Park at 81st Street and Central Park West, just south of the Delacorte Theater.  For more information, please visit

Generously supported by: The Weininger Foundation; The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation; Historic House Trust.

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre was imported to the U.S. in 1876 as Sweden’s exhibit for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The enchanting Swedish architecture and craftsmanship of the structure, suggestive of a model schoolhouse, caught the eye of Fredrick Law Olmsted, who brought it to Central Park in 1877.

Beginning in 1947, the Cottage served as the home of a marionette theater troupe that traveled across the city performing on playgrounds and school auditoriums. Under the direction of City Parks Foundation, citywide puppet shows in parks continue to this day through the CityParks PuppetMobile.

In 1973 a permanent theater was constructed inside the Cottage, precisely designed for marionette performances. Since then, hundreds of thousands of children and families from around the world have enjoyed its original marionette productions. The Theatre’s productions are based on classic fairy tales and offer an enriching theatrical and educational experience for children ages 3-9. The Cottage is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.


City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization to offer park programs throughout the five boroughs of New York City. We work in over 750 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of free arts, sports, and education programs, and empowering citizens to support their parks on a local level.  Our programs and community building initiatives reach more than 600,000 people each year, contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods throughout New York City. For more information, please

The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater

The Swedish Cottage

The Swedish Cottage

For over fifty years, puppeteers have been bringing to life magical tales of princesses, paupers, genies, and giants to hundreds of youngsters and their parents at Central Park’s Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater.

The Marionette Theater originated as a 19th century schoolhouse designed for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia as an example of Swedish building design. At the end of the exposition, the NYC Parks Department purchased the schoolhouse for $1,500 and moved it to its present site.

For many years the cottage was used as a tool shed. It was then converted into a comfort station, much to the chagrin of Swedish-Americans everywhere. After numerous complaints were lodged over this use the building was remodeled as the Park’s entomological laboratory. Finally, in 1947, the building was redesigned as a small children’s theater and design workshop. The company formed in 1939 is one of the few public marionette companies left in America. The production is created completely at the theater. The puppeteers write their own scripts, design and construct their own puppets and produce every show themselves.

In the fall of 1997 a complete restoration of the building – interior and exterior – was undertaken; it was rededicated in May 1998. Today visitors can enjoy the whimsical Scandinavian details inside the theater, along with seating for 100 children, central air conditioning, and a larger, state-of-the-art stage for more sophisticated productions. The original Baltic fir exterior was completely refurbished and details such as the second floor balcony were reconstructed.

The building is easily identifiable by the American and Swedish flags flying from its roof. It is presently the headquarters for the Citywide Puppets in the Parks program, which is supported by the not-for-profit City Parks Foundation.

Location: West Side at 79th Street

Video: NBC News video about the Marionette Theater

Click here for current schedule information
RESERVATIONS Reservations are required. Tickets are $8/adults, $5/children. Group rates are available for schools and other large groups. For reservations, group rates, and information on private birthday parties, please call 212-988-9093.