2020 update: Tickets and masks required and limited activities, but still happening!
One of our favorite things to do around Christmas time is visit living nativities. We love the focus it gives our family–not on presents. We visited at live nativity called Night in Bethlehem held at Stone Gate Weddings in Pleasant Grove. For one weekend, volunteers help you travel back in time to the night that Jesus Christ was born. You are spending a night in Bethlehem.
When you arrive, you are asked to bring one canned food as your tax to pay to enter the city of Bethlehem. Then you gather in a large room where you are told some history of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. After the history lesson, you enter the town of Bethlehem. There are lots of activities going on…so many that we didn’t have to participate in all of them. There is weaving, pottery, baking, carpentry, and a school. You can also help weave a blanket, play dreidels, and dress up as people during this time period. There was also a snake charmer and children dancing.
After you spend some time in Bethlehem, everyone gathers to witness the events of the night of the Savior’s birth. You watch as Mary (very pregnant) and Joseph find no room in the inn and finally find refuge in a stable. Then you visit shepherd’s hill where the angel tells them of the birth of Jesus Christ. You also see the wise men arrive with their gifts for the baby. There are musical numbers and a narrator as you watch the actors reenact this story. It was very touching to watch Mary and Joseph try to calm their screaming baby who wasn’t too happy about playing the part of baby Jesus. 🙂
Finally they usher you out to a room where there are nativities on display as well as a box for a donation if you feel so inclined. We loved this portrayal. It only took about 35 minutes from the time they started until the time we walked out. We did arrive about 15 minutes before our start time. They start sessions every 30 minutes between 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm. For current information, visit their website. They ask that you reserve a time beforehand, but admission is free.
Stone Gate Weddings in located in Pleasant Grove, about 1/2 mile east of the Mt. Timpanogos LDS temple at 886 West 2600 North. From 1-15, take American Fork Main Street/Pioneer Crossing east toward the mountains. Turn north (left) onto 1100 East (North County Blvd). Drive past American Fork Hospital up the hill to 700 North in American Fork. The temple will be in front of you on your left. Turn right on 700 North which changes to 2600 North when you cross into Pleasant Grove. Stone Gate is located on the left (north) side of the road.