Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

Check out fun events happening in Boston this weekend, including Bill Nye at the Wilbur and the 4th Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause.

gardner courtyard holidays

The Gardner Museum courtyard dressed up for the holidays. / Photo by Siena Scarff, 2012, Provided

Third Thursday at the Gardner Museum

The Gardner’s Winter Solstice-themed Third Thursday event will be an elegant evening that invites guests to explore several corners of the museum. In Calderwood Hall, Alain Mallet, former pianist for Paul Simon, will conduct a group out of Berklee performing lyrical jazz pieces. In the courtyard—now decked out for the holidays—warm up with music from Ricardo De Lima. In the studio, work on a simple gold leaf project, and in the Tapestry Room, meet Gardner staff members for a fireside chat.

$15 admission, Thursday, December 18, 5:30 p.m., Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, 617-278-5156,

The Little Prince

Bring the kids to experience the New Rep’s take on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story. The Little Prince has been adapted time and again, with an animated film set for release in 2015 with James Franco, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard among the voice actors. New Rep’s musical is a bright, colorful telling of the French novella about an aviator who meets a special little boy with quite the stories to share.

$30+, various showings through Sunday, December 21, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, 617-923-8487,

Through a Lens Darkly at the ICA

This month, the ICA hosts the New England debut of Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, a documentary by Thomas Allen Harris. The ambitious film explores the role of photography in portraying and shaping the identity of African Americans from slavery to the present, and was inspired by the book Reflections in Black: Black Photographers from 1840-Present by Deborah Willis.

$10 tickets, Thursday, December 18 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 21, 3 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-478-3100,

Bill Nye at the Wilbur

Bill Nye, everyone’s favorite Science Guy, is coming to Boston. When he’s not explaining evolution to us with emoji, he’s promoting his new book, titled Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. Hey Bill, how can we naturally select the emoji language into extinction?

$35-68, Thursday, December 18, 8 p.m., Wilbur Theatre, 246 Tremont St., Boston, 617-248-9700,

4th Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause

Calling all cookie monsters. If you bake, this event is for you. If you don’t bake but like eating cookies, this event is still for you. The Boston Food Swap will once again host their annual Cookie Swap this weekend at District Hall, where bakers and eaters can help raise money to fight cancer. This year, Brownie Brittle will donate one dollar for every cookie swapped to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

$20 for non-bakers, Sunday, December 21, 1-4 p.m., District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., Boston,