There are plenty of local holiday happenings to appeal to young and old, but there’s a wide assortment of regional attractions to help brighten the season as well.
If you’re looking for something fun and affordable to do, here’s a list of possibilities.
The 33rd annual Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. — Beneath the towering silver minarets of the former Tampa Bay Hotel, visitors have the chance to peek at 14 rooms decked out in 19th century themes for the holidays.
Carolers sing in the evenings in front of a 15-foot tree, and visitors are invited to sing along. Complimentary spiced cider and cookies are served on the veranda.
The stroll is being offered daily through Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for senior citizens, and $9 for kids between 4 and 18.
Wild Wonderland at Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave. — Enjoy a holiday stroll around the zoo and see a dazzling display of lights synchronized to holiday music, see lighted animal figures and possible snow flurries, enjoy rides, and see some penguins.
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for children between 3 and 11, and free for children younger than 3.
Ice Palace at International Plaza, 2223 N. West Shore Blvd. — The mall transforms into the Ice Palace, a 30-foot dome with snow, a light show, and interactive snow globes depicting scenes from the Disney movie “Frozen.”
Entertainment includes an icy handprint experience, size comparisons with Sven and Olaf — characters from the movie — and photos with Olaf on an ice throne.
The attractions run through Dec. 24 during mall hours.
For information, visit ShopInternationalPlaza.com.
Tampa’s Downtown on Ice at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive — Skaters can enjoy an outdoor rink in the park. Each 90-minute session, including skate rental, is $10.
Nights of Shimmering Lights at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Road — Drive through two miles of dazzling displays, illuminated tunnels, and dancing light-emitting diodes, while listening to holiday tunes on your radio.
The attraction includes more than 2,000 sculpted light displays.
After you drive through the light tunnels, stop at Christmas Village, where you can drink hot chocolate, watch holiday movies, and have a picture taken with Santa.
Admission is $15 per car Monday through Wednesday evenings, and $20 per car Thursday through Sunday evenings.
Holiday Lights in the Gardens at the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road — Every evening through Dec. 31, visitors can stroll through the gardens from 5:30 to 9:30, enjoying laser lights, flora and fauna displays, decorated trees, a 7-foot gingerbread house, and more.
There’s free entertainment, and visits from Santa Claus.
Admission is $4 for those 13 and older
Symphony in Lights at The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive — The shopping center offers nightly synchronized music and light shows on the hour, from 6 p.m. through 9 p.m., through Dec. 31.
The free attraction features a 55-foot tree with more than 250,000 lights and snow flurries.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH
Holiday Lighted Boat Parade at the Holiday Inn Harbourside, 401 Second St. — Come watch a parade of all kinds of boats decked out for the holidays.
The parade is open for all kinds of boats, including canoes and rowboats. It begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20, and starts and ends at the Holiday Inn at Harbourside.
The Celebration of Lights, at Safety Town 15325 Alric Pottberg Road — Drive along a mile-long route to see a dazzling display of animated lights.
The event was the vision of Dave Parrish, a community leader in West Pasco County, who died before his vision could come to life.
The event is open at dusk through Jan. 4. Entry fees are $20 per car, and $40 for a 14-passenger van.
Published December 17, 2014
See this story in print: Click Here