Compiled By Jenny Bennett
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
The holidays come to life at Busch Gardens Christmas Town, the park’s award-winning holiday event. Celebrate the year with holiday cheer and create merry memories for the whole family during this seasonal event which is included with park admission. Guests can enjoy holiday traditions with a twist, from millions of sparkling lights throughout the park to holiday shows and visits with Santa and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town runs daily now through January 2, 2023. Visit its website, www.buschgardens.com, for more information.
Church Street Christmas
Come celebrate the spirit of Christmas and enjoy the sights and sounds of this magical season. All are invited to experience this free annual holiday event along Dade City’s historic Church Avenue, where carolers, choirs, dancers and musicians perform along luminary lit sidewalks and brilliantly decorated homes.
The street closes to vehicular traffic from Wednesday through Friday, December 21-23, 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit its website at www.churchstreetchristmas.org.
The Ultimate Gift Presented By Love First Christian Center
What do snowstorms, time travel and a stubborn donkey have in common? They are all needed in telling the real meaning of Christmas. The Ultimate Gift is a fantastic journey to find out the real meaning of Christmas. It will bring the family together as it speaks to all ages from young to old.
Bring your friends and family to see The Ultimate Gift on Saturday, December 17 at 7 p.m. at Love First Christian Center, located at 12847 Balm Riverview Rd. in Riverview. Tickets are available from www.ultimategiftmovie.com.
Christmas In The Wild At ZooTampa
It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ZooTampa with the return of Christmas in the Wild, featuring one of Tampa Bay’s largest light displays, delectable holiday treats, amazing wildlife and new festive adventures. This year is bigger, better and brighter than ever with entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, including festive realms, holiday shows and a visit with Santa.
Christmas in the Wild runs on selective nights November through December. Visit www.zootampa.org for more information.
A Victorian Christmas Stroll
The Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa celebrates the warmth and spirit of an old-fashioned holiday with its Victorian Christmas Stroll. Allowing visitors a glimpse into the magic of Christmas past, this holiday experience is a wonderful way to celebrate all the season has to offer with a variety of delightful themes and displays in each exhibit room. Decorations include visitor favorites from past years as well as new marvels that are sure to amaze.
The Victorian Christmas Stroll will be available at the Henry B. Plant Museum, located at 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, from Thursday, December 1 through Friday, December 23, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Its website, www.plantmuseum.com, has more information.
Santa Fest Christmas Parade And Tree Lighting
Be part of Tampa’s holiday tradition when Santa Fest returns to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park again this year. It will open on Sunday, December 4, following the popular parade through downtown Tampa. The parade route steps off at 1:30 p.m. and begins at Morgan Street, travels west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turns north and ends at Ashley Drive and Cass Street. After the parade, enjoy the activities and entertainment in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and stay for the tree lighting at 6 p.m. followed by a screening of The Grinch movie to end the day.
Lakeland Christmas Parade
Hosted by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland and the City of Lakeland, the Lakeland Christmas Parade will be held on Thursday, December 1 starting at 7 p.m. Participants step off from the RP Funding Center to begin the 1.25-mile course winding through the city’s streets, around Lake Mirror and back down Lemon Street. The floats are decked out to reflect this year’s theme of ‘Christmas Past, Present and Future.’ The best, of course, is saved for last, as the parade wraps up with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Tampa Area Lighted Holiday Boat Parades
Tampa’s largest lighted boat parade will take place on the Saturday before Christmas, December 17, along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. The parade begins at the southern tip of Davis Island, travels through the convention center basin and up to the Heights, where the boats will turn around and head to Sparkman Wharf. Public viewing locations include Armature Works, Water Works Park and Channel Drive.
The annual Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade takes place on Sunday, December 11. It will leave the south channel at 6 p.m. and proceed towards Lands End Marina before winding around Lake Sunrise Basin, back out around Bal Harbor and then up Flamingo Canal before returning and going around Dolphin House at the end of Grand Kaymen Drive, then up the canal leading to Symphony Isles.
Come and meet the members of the Tampa Sailing Squadron before the parade at its clubhouse, located at 1250 Apollo Beach Blvd. in Apollo Beach.
The Alafia Lighted Boat Parade is always very popular with local residents. It will take place along the Alafia River from the Riverview Civic Center to River’s Edge Bar and Grill on Saturday, December 3, departing at 5 p.m.