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 7, 2024. 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 Thursday through Saturday, December 21-23, 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit its website at www.churchstreetchristmas.org.
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 Saturday, November 18 through Sunday, December 31, 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 Saturday, December 2, 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 Frozen 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 7 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 in Candy Land.’ 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 23, 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 Saturday, December 9. It will leave the south channel at 6 p.m. and proceed toward Lands End Marina before winding around Lake Sunrise Basin, back out around Bal Harbor, then up Flamingo Canal before returning and going around Dolphin House at the end of Gran Kaymen Way and finally going 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 2, departing at 5 p.m.
Winter Wonder Wharf At Channelside
Sparkman Wharf in the Channelside District of Tampa will be celebrating with the Winter Wonder Wharf, an extravaganza of lights, music and decorations. This year will include a 35-foot Christmas tree and a colorful forest on the lawn with opportunities for photographs throughout the area.
Holiday-themed performances will take place on Saturday, December 2, 9 and 16. Visit https://sparkmanwharf.com/ for additional information.
Country Christmas At Cracker Country
Bring the family for a great day of experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of an old-fashioned country Christmas on Saturday, December 9 at Cracker Country. Learn how the traditions of the 19th century differ from those of the 21st through hands-on crafts, holiday activities, historical interpretations, carols, decorations and more as you stroll through the site and visit the 13 original buildings.
Cracker Country is located at the Florida State Fairgrounds at 4800 U.S. Hwy. 301 N. Visit its website for more information and to purchase tickets at www.crackercountry.org/events/christmas. Advanced ticket purchase is required.
Dancing For A Difference Performs The Nutcracker
Dancing for a Difference will be performing The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 16. Join Clara and her friends at her holiday party and through the land of sweets where she will meet friends from all over the world and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The dancers performing are of all ages and abilities, including those with disabilities.
Dancing for a Difference is located at 1076 E. Brandon Blvd., Ste. 109 in Brandon. Tickets can be purchased at https://dancestudio-pro.com/tickets/d4d.