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Out & About
Updated Dec. 8
2013 holiday calendars filled with fun
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Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Communications
The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation opens its 2013 Holiday Lights in the Gardens Nov. 29.
Holiday excitement grows as communities and organizations throughout Pinellas County celebrate with events designed to delight young and old alike. December calendars are filled with the unique and the traditional, including the following.

Holiday boat parades

• Boca Ciega Yacht Club's Lighted Christmas Boat Parade

GULFPORT - The Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s 28th annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, starting from the Gulfport Municipal Marina at about 6 p.m. The parade will travel past the William's Pier in Gulfport and into the canals of Town Shores Condominiums and Pasadena Yacht Club Estates. The parade then will cross the bay to Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club and pass by the club docks before returning to BCYC.

Entry fee for boats is two unwrapped toys or a monetary donation can be made. Each year toys are collected for "Operation Santa" and presented to Gulfport's Police Department for distribution to needy children.

Sail and power boats are welcome to join the fun. Entry forms will be available the night of the parade. Donated prizes are awarded to the participants during the post parade party. For more information, call Capt Richard Walters at 727-235-9070 or visit sailbcyc.org.

• Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade

CLEARWATER - The 2013 Memorial Holiday Boat Parade, organized by the Island Estates Yacht Club, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The decorated boats will assemble in Mandalay Channel located between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the lead boat will proceed northward through Mandalay Channel. Then the parade will weave in and out of many of the Island Estate canals before heading over to Coachman Park around 8 p.m.

From there the boats will go under the new Memorial Causeway Bridge turning into the Clearwater Marina Channel before navigating to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Cash and gift certificate prizes, donated by many area businesses, will be awarded to the best decorated boats. There is no parade entry fee. Anyone interested in participating can call IEYC Fleet Captain Paul Lightfoot at 744-1728 oremail liteft@msn.com.

There will be a pre-parade captain’s meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Clearwater Yacht Club, 830 S. Bayway Blvd., Clearwater. Call 447-6000.

The Island Estates Yacht Club Boat Parade, one of the largest and most popular marine events in the Clearwater area, is celebrating its 39th year. The parade honors the memory of Island Estates Yacht Club members who have passed away during the year.

• Madeira Beach Holiday Lights Boat Parade

MADEIRA BEACH - The city of Madeira Beach’s 47th annual Holiday Illuminated Boat Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14. The boats will gather just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway at 6:30 p.m.

The Madeira Beach Causeway Bridge may be opened for a period of 10 to 15 minutes while the parade cruises under the bridge between 8 and 8:30 p.m. To view the parade route please go to the City’s website at www.madbeachevents.com. For additional information, please call 391-9951.

• Redington Beaches and Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade

REDINGTON BEACHES/INDIAN SHORES - The Redington Beaches/Indian Shores Holiday Boat Parade is Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6 p.m. Participating boats are requested to rendezvous just north of the Tom Stuart (Madeira Beach) Causeway at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The boats will cover a route following the Intracoastal Waterway from just north of the Tom Stuart Causeway Bridge (Redington Beach) to The Pub restaurant in Indian Shores. The route meanders into the creeks and canals that branch off the ICW, passing along the shoreline of each of the participating communities.

The awards ceremony will take place at “The Pub Restaurant,” the major sponsor of the parade, following the arrival of the last boat parade participant. All participants can dock their boats overnight in the restaurant’s marina.

Major prizes, consisting of gifts and cash, are given to the top three boats in each category. The three judging categories are based on the lengths of the participating boats; typically, the categories are “under 25 feet,” “25 to 35 feet,” and “over 35 feet.” Entry forms for the parade are available now at the Town Halls and websites of the participating towns. Entry forms also are available at local marinas for boaters to pick up.

The Captain’s meeting for participating boats is Thursday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., at the Town Hall of North Redington Beach, 190 173rd Ave., North Redington Beach. For more information, call Dave Will, committee chairman, at 459-9710.

• Treasure Island Christmas Boat Parade and Holiday Celebration

TREASURE ISLAND – The city of Treasure Island’s Christmas Boat Parade and Holiday Celebration is Saturday, Dec. 21 at The Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. The holiday celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. followed by the boat parade at 6:20 p.m.

Those attending should bring an unwrapped new toy or provide a cash donation for the Edwards Family Foundation.

The toys will be donated to the Christmas Toy Shop Project. Donations to the foundation can be dropped off at the Recreation Department at City Hall or Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis on Paradise Boulevard by Dec. 18. Those making donations will receive a family pass to watch the parade from a spectacular vantage point and participate in the events at the Club.

Live entertainment, a visit by Santa Claus, and complimentary hot dogs, chowder, hot cider and cookies will be served poolside. A rain date is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 22. For additional information, call The Club at 367-4511.

Holiday parades

• Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade

DUNEDIN - Old-Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, 4 to 9 p.m., in downtown Dunedin. Children of all ages can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, kids crafts and games, holiday music, live entertainment and photos with Santa. Free to attend. For more information, call 812-4530.

• Palm Harbor Community Holiday Parade

PALM HARBOR – The 31st annual Palm Harbor Community Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, hosted by the Palm Harbor Rotary Club, the Greater Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the Palm Harbor Historical Society and CSA Palm Harbor. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. next to the Palm Harbor Presbyterian Church at 2021 Nebraska Ave., and proceed westerly on Nebraska to Omaha Street, left a block on Omaha to Florida Avenue, and right on Florida Avenue to Jones Plaza. And of course, bringing up the rear will be good old Jolly Saint Nick, the Santa Claus float that ends the parade each year.

• Pinellas Park Holiday Parade

PINELLAS PARK - 41st annual Pinellas Park Holiday Parade begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, on Park Boulevard at 58th Street by the railroad tracks. It then travels east on Park to 43rd Street at The Shoppes at Park Place. Handicapped seating for the parade is available at the Taylor Family Funeral Home at 5300 Park Blvd., accessible from 53rd Street via 70th Avenue.

• St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade

ST. PETE BEACH - St. Pete Beach Holiday Parade is Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. Parade route and application for entry is on the St Pete Beach Recreation Department’s website at www.spbrec.com. Category awards will be given out. For more information, call Mandy Edmunds at 727-363-9245 or a.edmunds@stpetebeach.org.

• Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade and Candy Cane Hunt

TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade, sponsored by the city and presented by Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, is Saturday, Dec. 14, beginning at 10 a.m., on U.S. Alt. 19 (South Pinellas Ave.) and Morgan Street. Children of all ages are invited to the Candy Cane Hunt at Craig Park, 5 Beekman Lane, immediately following the parade. They can visit with Santa and his elves and hunt for candy canes in the park. The event is sponsored by the city’s recreation department. Call 942-5628.

Holiday events and light displays

• Christmas tree sale

LARGO – Boy Scout Troop 371 is selling Christmas trees, wreaths, door swags and mantelpieces at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 11220 Oakhust Road, Largo. The sale will be open weekdays, 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m. through Sunday, Dec. 22. The trees offered will be 5- to 14-foot Fraser firs. The sale is a troop fundraiser. For more information, call 365-3986 or 585-5089.

• Holiday lights in Largo Central Park

LARGO – Families can enjoy an amazing light display of more than a million lights in Largo Central Park through Friday, Jan. 3. It’s free to stroll through the park and see the dazzling displays of trains, toy bears, carolers, toy soldiers and many more. There will be a campfire each night to enjoy after strolling through the park. Call the Largo parks department at 586-7415 or visit LargoParks.com.

• Holiday Lights in the Gardens

LARGO – The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation’s Holiday Lights in the Gardens continues through Wednesday, Jan. 1, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Stroll through this year’s display of more than 750,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations. A donation of $2 per person (13 years and older) is recommended. The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. The gardens remain open from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours. For more information, visit www.flbg.org or call 582-2100.

• Oakdale Christmas Light display

ST. PETERSBURG – The Oakdale Christmas Light continues through Jan. 3, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., at 2719 Oakdale St. S., St. Petersburg. The display includes about 500,000 lights on a half-acre lot. A walking yard tour includes an 18-train HO scale model railroad, moving and animated items, inflatables, lighted figures and displays. Enjoy hands-on games and bubble machines for the kids. Several trees tower over the display, including one rising to 70 feet.

The free Christmas display started in 1977 and was among the top three finalists on NBC's Today Show, “I'll Be Home for Christmas.” It also was featured on HGTV's All Out Christmas Special and in People Magazine. It takes 10 people about three months to install. About 10 trailer loads bring items from storage. The display is powered by three electrical meters.

To get to the display, take I-275 to exit 22 (old exit 9), which is 175 E. Turn right on Fourth Street, heading south. Go 1 mile, crossing over 22nd Avenue South. The next street on the left is Oakdale. Go two blocks, park or look. For more information, visit ChristmasDisplay.org.

• Safford House Victorian Christmas

TARPON SPRINGS – The Annual Safford House Victorian Christmas is Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 12-14, at Safford House Museum, 23 Parkin Court in Tarpon Springs. Hours are Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 for adults and $6 for members and children age 3 to 18. Ring in the holidays and stroll through the 1883 Safford House beautifully decorated for the holidays in Victorian style. Enjoy refreshments and the unique holiday gift shop and tour the house with “Governor Anson Safford” (Bruce Miller) as he describes Victorian holiday traditions and life. There also will be live performances of holiday music during the tour. Special Victorian games and activities will be scheduled for children on Saturday. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.

• Walking tour

DUNEDIN – The Dunedin Historical Museum’s walking tour along Victoria Drive Friday, Dec. 13, will feature carolers, cider, old-fashioned costumes and Father Christmas. The cost for the walk, which begins at 5:15 p.m., is $30, which includes a wristband for the Dunedin Wine and Art Walk that night. Call 736-1176.

• Dunedin Concert Band

DUNEDIN - Dunedin Concert Band plays for the holidays Friday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m., at Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. Donations accepted. For more information, call 812-4530.

• Holiday Hoopla

GULFPORT - The Gulfport Merchants association present Holiday Hoopla Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Beach Boulevard South in Gulfport. Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights. Stroll through the decorated streets filled with talented exhibitors and unique shops and galleries. 

Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands and Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers.

Donations will be collected for Operation Santa. Requested donations include new toys, gift cards and other items for children and families. The Gulfport Senior Center Foundation needs nonperishable food, toiletries and pet supplies. Collection boxes will be located at the Casino Stage at the intersection of Beach and Shore Boulevards during the event. Prior to the event, drop off locations include Gulfport Police Department and The Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit gulfportma.com or call 727-322-5217.

• Holiday concert

PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Community Chorus will perform a free concert Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m., at the Palm Harbor Public Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave. The theme will be “We Need a Little Christmas.” The chorus is under the direction of Anita Bona.

• Musical Christmas show

PINELLAS PARK – Classic Christian School for the Arts presents a musical Christmas show on Friday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m., at the Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N. The performance will include traditional and classical selections of instrumental and vocal music. Free admissions; donations welcome. Call 547-6820 for more information.

Holiday entertainment

• Holiday Party of One

CLEARWATER - “Holiday Party of One,” by Alison Burns with musical arrangements by Stan Collins, continues through Dec. 20, at New Stage Theatre, inside Country Day World School, 11650 131st St. N., Largo. For performance times and ticket information, call 813-817-2585 or visit newstagelargo.org. This Tampa Bay holiday traditional finds a home at New Stage Theatre after its highly acclaimed run in 2012. Written by local talents Alison Burns and Karla Hartley, this hilarious holiday treat follows three overworked, out of touch, people as they, once again, get caught up in the mad rush of the holidays – that is until Lucky, a Christmas elf, comes to the rescue. The second half of the evening is a unique cabaret of holiday favorites. This production is fun for the whole family.

• Christmas with the Baltimore Consort

TARPON SPRINGS - Christmas with the Baltimore Consort is Sunday, Dec. 15, at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for members and students. The Baltimore Consort has delighted audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and earned their CDs a place on the Billboard Magazine Top 10 list. The Baltimore Consort’s arrangements of early music from England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Spain speak to the heart as well as the mind, and their love for the early music of English/Scottish heritage has led them to delve into the rich trove of traditional balladry and dance tunes preserved in the Appalachian mountains and Nova Scotia. The group features Ronn Mcfarlane, lute; Mindy Rosenfeld, flutes, fifes, recorder, crumhorn; Larry Lipkis, viol, recorder, crumhorn, gemshorn; Mark Cudec, cittern, viol, recorder, crumhorn, guitars; Mary Anne Ballard, viols, rebec; Danielle Svonavec, soprano; and Jose Lemos, countertenor. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.

• Russian Christmas

CLEARWATER - A Russian Christmas performed by the State Choir of Russia is Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m., at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. Tickets start at $29.50. Call 587-6793 or visit largoarts.com. Celebrate the holiday season with this unique cultural experience. This company of 45 singers was founded from the merger of the USSR State Chamber Choir and State Symphony Orchestra of the USSR. Music critics have praised this spectacular group and rave of the flawless vocal technique and crystal-clear, precise intonation.

• Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits

CLEARWATER - Michael McDonald: This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits is Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $82. Call 791-7400 or visit www.atthecap.com. With a career that encompasses five Grammy Awards, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. From ’70s-era Doobie Brothers classics such as “What A Fool Believes” and solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown covers albums and recent genre-busting guest spots with alternative buzz bands “Grizzly Bear” and “Holy Ghost,” McDonald is an artist whose work is both timeless and ever-evolving.

• Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour

CLEARWATER - Trace Adkins: The Christmas Show Tour is Wednesday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Adkins will release “The King’s Gift,” a Christmas album of Celtic carols, in October. He will be touring in support of the album, including a stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The show will be a reverent theatrical and musical production for the whole family. The Christmas Show Tour begins a new Adkins holiday tradition for years to come. Envisioned as a theatrical production, Adkins will alternate between fireside storytelling of anecdotes (both personal and historical) and performances of classic carols with a 12-piece ensemble – a quartet string section, female vocalists, and a range of traditional instruments. The tour is inspired by Adkins’ annual hosting duties at Disney World’s Candlelight Processional, where his deep baritone narrates Christmas stories while a full choir and orchestra performs.

• Sleigh

TARPON SPRINGS - “Sleigh,” written by PB&J Theatre Factory, is presented Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19-22, at Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S. Pinellas Ave. Performances will be Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for members and students. Directed by Rick Bronson, this G-rated comedy will have audiences laughing through the holidays and will do it without the spoken word. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.

• Rockapella's holiday show

CLEARWATER – Rockapella performs Friday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Tickets start at $30. Call 791-7400 or visit www.atthecap.com. The world’s most loved five-man contemporary pop vocal phenomenon is known for its astonishing live performances and Rockapella's holiday show is a “must see” event. With their completely original take on the holidays, Rockapella creates a light-hearted and unforgettable holiday experience as they travel the country spreading musical holiday cheer. From unique takes on classic favorites to brand new originals destined to become classics, audiences of all ages can expect to be charmed by a holiday performance like no other.

• Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet holiday concert

TARPON SPRINGS - Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, Sunday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m., at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for members and students. Attendees will have an opportunity to ring in the holidays with the Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet, who deliver Christmas cheer with virtuoso flair. The ensemble will perform Handel, Bach, and a glorious fanfare of Christmas favorites such as “Joy to the World” and “White Christmas.” Known for their great versatility, entertaining narratives, and musical skill, the quintet is made up of principal players from The Florida Orchestra, including Robert Smith, trumpet; Kenneth Brown, trumpet; Andrew Karr, French horn; Dwight Decker, trombone; and William Mickelsen, tuba. Call 942-5605 or visit TarponArts.org.

• A Christmas Carol

CLEARWATER - Nebraska Theatre Caravan presents “A Christmas Carol,” Monday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Call 791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com. Tickets start at $35. A cherished tradition, this is the longest-running production of “A Christmas Carol” in the United States. In this beloved Dickens classic, ghosts of Christmases past, present and future guide Scrooge on a journey of redemption as he discovers the spirit of Christmas and a new life filled with joy and love. This show is part of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Adults at Leisure Series.

Special community events

• South Pasadena Best of Lights contest

SOUTH PASADENA – The city of South Pasadena is conducting a Best of Lights Contest for 2013. All businesses, homeowners and multi-family complexes (condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) are invited to display lights during the holidays for consideration. Lights can be placed on the storefront or the exterior and need to be visible from the street. Holiday signs, window painting and twinkling lights are allowed.

There will be two winners in each category: first place and first runner-up. First place winners will receive a framed award certification and an official yard sign. Runners up will receive certificates. The first-place winners and runners up will be selected by the Beautification Committee on Dec. 12. Signs and certificates will be presented at the city’s regular commission meeting on Jan. 14. The city’s cable channel 615 will display winners’ names throughout the holiday season.

• Breakfast with Santa

PINELLAS PARK – Residents of all ages and their parents or grandparents are invited to Breakfast with Santa at the Forbes Recreation Center, 6401 94th Ave. N., on Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 to 11 a.m. Cost is $2 per person and $1 for a photo with Santa. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, juice, milk and coffee. Advanced registration is required. Call 541-0776 for more information.

• Breakfast with Santa

TREASURE ISLAND – The St. Petersburg Lions Club plans its annual Breakfast With Santa event Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Lions Club Beach House, 9300 W. Gulf Blvd. Admission is free but those attending are asked to bring a can or bag of pet food for Santa and his reindeer. The pet food will be donated to the PetPal Animal Shelter. Those planning to attend should register by Dec. 6. Call Sally at 813-965-2534 or email LionSally@gmail.com.

• Breakfast with Santa

LARGO – The 22nd annual Breakfast with Santa will be Saturday, Dec. 14, 8 to 11 a.m., at St. Jerome Early Childhood Center, 10895 Hamlin Blvd., Largo. Advance tickets are $6 each or $30 for a family of five or more. Tickets at the door are $7 each or $35 for a family. The event is open to the entire community. Tickets include breakfast, face painting, kiddie-crafts, and a visit with Santa. Pictures with Santa, a raffle and a gift shop are available at additional costs. For information, call 596-9491 or visit stjeromeearlychildhoodcenter.org.

• Santa tours Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS - Santa Claus will be touring Tarpon Springs again this year courtesy of Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue. Santa will depart from the main station at 444 S. Huey Ave. on December 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 17 and 18 for a tour of different sections of the city. On Dec. 19, Santa will greet children at the main station on Huey Avenue from 6 to 8 p.m. for refreshments and Christmas fun. Find maps of Santa’s routes at www.ctsfl.us/firerescue/santa.html.

• Santa Claus visits Oldsmar

OLDSMAR – Oldsmar Fire Rescue is once again sponsoring a children’s holiday program that features a personal visit from Santa Claus for homes that are in the city of Oldsmar. Santa and his elves, riding a fire truck, will visit the children in the evenings from Dec. 17 through Dec. 21 and Santa will bring the child their present at that time. Dates will be set by a lottery system.

Families should mail a 3-inch by 5-inch card with their name, address and daytime phone number printed on the card. The card should be mailed to Oldsmar Fire Rescue, 225 Pine Ave. N., Oldsmar, FL 34677.

As each card is drawn, that household will be called and their appointment set. After setting an appointment, parents are to bring a small, gift-wrapped present for their child to the fire station through Dec. 13. The gift should have their child’s name, address and the date and time of Santa’s visit written clearly on the outside of the package.

If there is a group of children, packages should be wrapped as above, put into a large plastic garbage bag, with the last name of the host family, address and date and time of Santa’s visit on the outside of the bag.

Events outside Pinellas

• Christmas Town

TAMPA - Christmas Town transforms Busch Gardens Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas through Dec. 23. Special Christmas entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling lights will fill the senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors to create a memorable new family tradition. Everyone’s favorite attraction, SnowWorld presented by Coca-Cola, returns with three times as much snow! Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special $10 advance tickets for their youngest members. Visit www.buschgardens.com.

• Nights of Shimmering Lights "Drive-thru" Light Park

DOVER - Nights of Shimmering Lights "Drive-thru" Light Park continues through Dec. 29, 6 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and 6 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, at 217 Sydney Washer Road, Dover, approximately 8 miles east of I-75 on State Road 60 at the County Fairgrounds. Cost is $15 Monday through Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday.

Nights of Shimmering Lights third season illuminates the night with a million twinkling lights this holiday season. Enjoy the lighted trail with more than 1,000-lighted elements. Ride the new Light Express ride thru the ""mini"" park in the Holiday Village. Watch the Rays and Sox slug it out in lights in our new baseball field. Call 813-389-6858 or visit www.nightsofshimmeringlights.com.

• Victorian Christmas Stroll

TAMPA - Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 32nd annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, Dec. 1-23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There are 14 exhibit rooms, each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories. This year there will also be a special exhibit, Toys Then and Now, featuring antique toys and toys from modern times. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 10 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths. Visit plantmuseum.com.

• Holidays at Lowry Park Zoo

TAMPA - Meet Santa and his merry mammals – real reindeer – at Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats create a whimsical world of holiday magic from 6:30-10 p.m. on Dec.13-15, 17-23 and 26-30. On Dec. 13, you can also celebrate the season with the Zoo’s primate family as the primates open special presents from Zoo staff and docents as part of their enrichment program. The Presents for Primates is included free-of-charge with Zoo admission. Visit lowryparkzoo.com.

• Holiday FantaSea

TAMPA - The Florida Aquarium will host Holiday FantaSea, a family-friendly celebration featuring real snow, dazzling holiday lights and more. From Dec. 26-30, Santa and his swimming elves, as well as special holiday mermaids, will swim throughout the massive tanks alongside all the amazing aquatic creatures each night during Holiday FantaSea. In addition, the Florida Aquarium will host two dazzling light shows each night, a huge holiday model train display, and extended hours during the Holiday FantaSea event. Visit flaquarium.org.

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