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Tampa Bay Guide to Santa, Holiday Events, Lights, Parades, Ice Skating and More!

The holidays are upon us and there are so many fun family things to do across Tampa Bay.
Celebrate the holiday season with a great selection of holiday events, Christmas parades, holiday lights, Santa photos and Ice Skating.

With so much going on, your holiday will be filled with treasured memories and lots of fun.

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Holiday Events

 

1. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

Christmas Town will run on  Nov. 20-25,  Dec. 1-2, 8-10, 15-17, 22-31. 28- Dec. 31- Park closing times will range from 10 pm to 1 am on select days. See exact hours for each day here.
Cost: Included in admission or Annual pass/Fun card

Christmas Town is open until 10 p.m. on select dates.

Busch Gardens Tampa will transform into a holiday wonderland of Christmastime entertainment, holiday shopping, festive treats and more than a million twinkling lights. The Christmas cheer begins at Santa’s house where you can meet and take photos with Santa Claus and other characters.

 

2. Lowry Park Zoo’s Christmas in the Wild & Noon Years Eve

November 24-25, December 1-2, 8-10, 15-17, 21-23, & 26-30
Starting at 4 p.m. 

Tampa, Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 West Sligh Avenue
Cost: Included in daytime admission or zoo membership

The Zoo is brimming with holiday cheer as Christmas in the Wild returns with even more twinkling lights and jolly surprises! Experience 18 wild and wonderful nights. Enjoy seasonal treats, enchanting entertainment and a 50-foot animated Christmas tree! Best of all, visit Santa in his Tree Top Lodge and marvel at the magic of wildlife at night.

Noon Years Eve: December 31, 2017, arrive before Noon to countdown

Ring in the New Year family style at the annual Noon Years Eve daytime celebration. The party includes games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational displays and more. Families can ring in the New Year with noisemakers, hats and a juice toast as they watch the clock strike 12 NOON.

 



November 17, 2017 – January 5, 2018
600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, Florida, 33602
Winter Village is located downtown at the Curtis Hixon Park and is open to all ages. It is a great family-friendly option for holiday shopping, food, activities and ice Skating.
 

4. Big Red Barn Snow Village and Winter Wonderland

November 24- December 31, 2017, varies 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 5-10 p.m. in 3 hr increments.

10070 Fern Hill Dr, Riverview, Florida 33578
Cost: $5.00-$10.00. See the event page for tickets.

Come join us for our Snow Village and Winter Wonderland at The Big Red Barn! Beginning November 24, we will transform a small section of the property into a snow village – complete with tubing, sledding, snow man building, and snow showers every hour! After the lights go down, enjoy our festival of lights trail! This is sure to be a one a kind experience!

 

 

5. Holidays at the Village

December 9-31, 2017 – on normal operating hours.Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, December 25 and January 1 
11909 125th Street N., Largo
Cost: Free, donations welcome

Share the holiday season at Pinellas County’s Heritage Village. Visit this 21-acre living history museum, where historical houses will be decorated true to their time period, locality and lifestyle, from an elaborately decorated Victorian home to a simply adorned 1852 log cabin. Garland and greenery adorn buildings throughout the Village to create a festive experience.

 

6.Oldsmar’s Annual Christmas Wonderland

Friday, December 1st from 5-9 p.m.
R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Dr W, Oldsmar, FL 34677

Cost: Free aadmission

The Christmas Wonderland features a giant snow slope, sledding, pictures with Santa & More! Concessions available on site.

 

7. 15th Annual Holiday In The Park

Friday & Saturday,December 1st & 2nd
Friday 5:30- 10 p.m.
England Brothers Park, 5010 81st Ave. N. Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Cost: Free

Stop by City Hall for a Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1st

This community-wide family event will feature children’s games, entertainment, photos with Santa, hayrides, children’s train ride and much more!

 

8. There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs

Friday, December 1st  from 5:00-10:00 p.m.

Historic Tarpon Avenue,Tarpon Springs
Cost: Free
There is Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs Returns to Historic Tarpon Avenue for the biggest Christmas event in north Pinellas. This years event features visit with Santa Claus,Carriage Rides, Hayride, Snow Play area, live performances, children activities, holiday shopping, food, drinks and more.

 

 

9. Florida State Fair Grounds Christmas in the Country

Saturday, December 9th from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and children (6-12), children 5 years old and younger will be admitted for FREE.
Parking: Enter the Fairgrounds via MLK. $6.00 per vehicle — Cash Only. Park near Gate 2 (Cracker Country entrance).

Go back in time and experience an old fashion country Christmas in the heart of Tampa. Learn how the holiday traditions of the 19th century. Partake in Holiday crafts and ornament making. Explore the historic structures and experience a lot more festive activities.

 

10. Snowfest A Real Snow Event in St. Petersburg

Saturday, December 2, from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.
St. Petersburg, North Straub Park, 300 NE to 400 Bayshore D/NE
Cost: Wristbands cost $5 and include all activities.

Sixty-four tons of snow is expected to fall on North Straub Park at the annual holiday Snowfest celebration.

Activities include a big and kiddie toboggan slide, art tent, karaoke, moonwalks, reindeer races, giant slide, glice ice skating, and a Kiddyland area designed especially for pre-schoolers with inflatable train, cookie decorating and more.

 

11. LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular

December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-25, 2017
LEGOLAND,1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
Cost: Included in the price of admission

Ring in the holiday season with a 30-foot tall Christmas tree made of 270,000 LEGO bricks, life-size LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh, festive decorations, LEGO building activity, a LEGO Santa Scavenger Hunt and holiday entertainment.

LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier make daily appearances in the park and fireworks in the evening!

 

12. Annual Safford House Victorian Christmas

December 18th and 19th, Friday 11 am-3 p.m., Saturday 5-8 p.m.
Safford House, 23 Parkin Court off Grand Blvd, Tarpon Springs
Cost: $18 Adults, $8.00 Children, $14 Members and Students

Start a new family tradition with the Saffords!Tour the Safford House with the Safford family and friends beautifully decorated for the holidays in grand Victorian style. Enjoy live musical entertainment, refreshments and a festive holiday gift shop. Take a photo with their Victorian Santa! Children will enjoy making crafts, singing carols and so much more!

 

13. Holiday Stroll at Largo Central Park

Saturday, December 2nd and 16th from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Dr
Cost: Free

Come celebrate the holiday season with a movie in the park, visit with Santa, Holiday Craft Fair, carriage rides, kids can variety of crafts and activities for all ages. You won’t want to miss the official Christmas tree lighting at 7pm on Dec. 2nd! Concession available each night. Parking: Limited on-site parking will be available for $10. Free park and walk from Largo Middle School or Everest University.





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Holiday Lights

 

 

1. See our 14 Holiday Lights Around Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo and More!

 

2. See our Drive-Thru Holiday Lights article.


Ice Skating

 

 

  1. See our Holiday Ice Skating options for your family.

 

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Pictures with Santa

 

1. Santa Flight Academy at International Plaza

During mall hours, through December 24, 2017 in Grand Court

2223 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607

Santa’s Flight Academy is a wholly interactive and magical hero’s journey that transforms children into key members of Santa’s Flight Crew as they visit with Santa. Photo packages available.

 

 

2. Santa Photos at Westfield Brandon 

Nov. 13-December 24, 2017, Please see their current schedule. 

Westfield Brandon Mall, 459 Brandon Town Center, Brandon, FL 33511
3. Pictures with Santa at Wiregrass
November 11-December 24, 2017
Center Court at The Shops at Wiregrass 28211 Paseo Drive
Cost: Picture packages available

 

4. Santa Photos at Westfield Countryside

Nov. 13-December 24, 2017 during mall hours

 27001 US Hwy 19 N #1039, Clearwater, FL 33761

Usually 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check out the daily schedule by visiting their website.

 

5. Santa Photos at WestShore Plaza

Nov. 17-December 24, 2017, times vary

250 WestShore Plaza, Tampa, FL 33609

Santa times vary. Check out the daily schedule  by visiting their website.

 

6. Santa Photos at Westfield Citrus Park 

Nov. 17-December 24, 2017, times vary

8021 Citrus Park Town Center,Tampa, FL 33625

Santa times vary. Check out the daily schedule by visiting their website.

 

7. Santa at Bass Pro Shops (FREE Photo)

Sunday, November 12th – Sunday, December 24, 2017

10501 Palm River Rd, Tampa, FL 33619

FREE Photo with Santa (Free Bass Pass Required)
Weekdays, 5-8 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sundays, Noon-5 p.m.

 

 

8. Santa Visits Pottery Barn at Hyde Park Village

December 2, 2017 from 1PM-5PM

802 S Village Cir, Tampa, FL 33606, (813) 253-0904

Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa returns to the Hyde Park Village for the Holiday season!

 

 

9. Santa is coming to IKEA (Free Pictures)

December 3rd & December 10th from 9:30am-11:30am 
1103 N 22nd St, Tampa, FL 33605

Kids 12 and under can enjoy a delicious Swedish pancake breakfast absolutely FREE! After breakfast, children will have the opportunity to share their wish list with Santa!

Parents, bring your cameras for pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus!

10. Saturdays with Santa at The Florida Aquarium

Nov. 25; Dec. 2, 9, 16 & 23; 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Bring your family and friends to celebrate the holidays at our place. Santa will be here for photos on select Saturdays after Thanksgiving. His elves will join him and dive in the Coral Reef habitat during our daily schedule.



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Holiday Parades

 

1. 28th Annual Tarpon Springs Illuminated Boat Parade


Friday, December 1, 2017 between 8 and 8:15 p.m.

Vessels will proceed down the Anclote River and into the bayous where Santa will give out treats to the children in Spring Bayou. Best viewing is from Craig Park/Spring Bayou. Boats enter Spring Bayou between 8:00pm and 8:15pm.

 

2. St. Petersburg Annual Santa Parade

Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 10 a.m.

St. Petersburg’s Annual Santa Parade route starts at Central Ave. and 5th St. travels east to Bayshore Dr. then turns north ending at 5th Ave. N. Free family fun, bands, floats and much more will delight the spectators.

 

3. Santa Fest & Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 2, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The annual Santa Fest and Tampa’s Christmas Parade continues at Curtis Hixon Park for a festive parade and fun family activities. Activities include free photos with Santa Claus , holiday crafts, games and more.

Parade Route: (Last year’s parade route)
The parade will begin at Morgan Street and Madison Street and travel west on Madison Street to Ashley Drive, turn north and end at Ashley Drive and Cass Street.

 

 

4. Festival of Lights & Zephyrhills Christmas Parade

Saturday, December 2nd from 4-9 p.m., Parade at 7 p.m.
On 15th avenue, from 7th to 10 streets

The Main Street Zephyrhills Christmas Parade is the main feature of the Festival of Lights event, a fun-filled day & night for the whole family. There will be live, local entertainment plus lots of food, merchandise and craft vendors to choose from at the event.

 

5. Dunedin Old Fashioned Christmas and Holiday Parade
Saturday, December 2, 2017 from 4-9pm 
Downtown Dunedin, 500 Main St, Dunedin, FL 34698,
dunedinparade
Parade begins at 4 p.m. on Douglas Ave from Beltrees to Monroe. Watch Santa arrive during the Holiday street parade then stay downtown for free carriage rides, train rides, snow slide, kids crafts, old fashioned games, live music, entertainment and snow flurries! 

 

6. Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting

Saurday, December 2, 2017 from 6-9pm at Dunedin Marina/Edgewater Park

The Dunedin holiday parade of boats begins at the Marina at 7 p.m.. Enjoy holiday music and smores while waiting for Santa to arrive by boat and lead the countdown in the lighting of the City’s Christmas tree. Limited seating, please bring lawn chairs.

Boat Parade Route:From Marker 1 south to Dunedin Marina. Boats arrive at Dunedin Marina at approximately 7:00pm. Limited viewing along Bayshore and Edgewater Drive.

 

7. Alafia Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 2, 2017, 5-8 p.m.

Riverview Park & Civic Center, 11020 Park Drive, Riverview, FL 33560

See all the lighted boats and Santa will be there.

 

8. Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade & Candy Cane Hunt

Saturday, December 9, 2017 10:00 am 
Downtown Tarpon Springs

The annual Tarpon Springs Holiday Parade starts at Manatee Plaza (Old Winn Dixie) Goes North to E. Lemon St., turns right, goes to S. Ring Ave., turns left, goes to E. Tarpon Ave., turns left, and takes Tarpon Ave., all the way to Spring Bayou.

Following the parade, meet at Craig Park for the annual Candy Cane Hunt. Children up to age 12 can hunt for the lucky candy cane. They will have crafts, hot chocolate and even a visit from Santa.

 

9. Ybor City’s Snow on 7th Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. (pre-parade at 6 p.m.)
East 7th Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets in Ybor City

Catch a great viewing spot and watch the pre-parade entertainment starting at 6 p.m. along historic 7th Ave. Enjoy seeing all the floats, marching bands and sounds of local performers.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and family will kick off the parade and snow turning the city into a winter wonderland!

 

 

10. The Annual Apollo Beach Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 6 p.m.

The  parade starts at the docks of The Tampa Sailing Squadron, located on Apollo Beach Boulevard. The event is free. All boaters in the surrounding communities are invited to participate.

See the full Parade route.

11. Madeira Beach Festival of Lighted Boat Parade

December 10, 2017 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Lighted and decorated boats will light up the waterways. The parade will begin at Johns Pass Village and Boardwalk. It will continue through the waterways and end at American Legion.

 

 

 
 

12. 16th Annual Hillsborough River Holiday Boat Parade

Sunday, December 17, 2017 6-9 p.m.
Lowry Park, 7525 N Boulevard St
All boaters and paddlers of canoes, kayaks, etc. in the Tampa Bay area are invited to join the FUN at the Hillsborough Boat Parade for Everyone! Paddlers and boaters are needed to help create this FREE community event.Boaters assemble at Lowry Park Boat Ramp. Parade begins at 6:00 pm, arriving upriver at Sulphur Springs Park. Parade ends at Sulphur Springs Park, 701 E. Bird St. Tampa, FL 33604.
 
13. Holiday in the Harbor (Palm Harbor)
Saturday, December 16, 2017  starting at 3 p.m.
Palm Harbor, Westlake Road & Nebraska Avenue
Community Parade Begins at Westlake Road & Nebraska Avenue at 3 p.m. Party at Harbor Hall immediately following the parade. Games, music & Santa!

 
 

14. Clearwater Lighted Boat Parade

Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 8:30 p.m.
Coachman Park, 301 Drew St.

An annual Clearwater holiday event that’s not to be missed! Festively decorated boats will parade past Coachman Park around 8:30 p.m. From there, the fleet will cruise under the Memorial Causeway Bridge turning into the Clearwater Marina Channel, then proceed south through the navigable canals to Clearwater Point. Free and family-friendly!

 

15. Safety Harbor Holiday Parade

Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 1 p.m.
Main Street – Closed from Bayshore to 9th Avenue from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Floats, old fashioned cars, Shriners, and Santa are just a few of the highlights that will be rolling down Main Street.




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Winter Break Camps

Check out our featured list of Winter Break Camps that will entertain your children when school is out.

 

 

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Get these Holiday Events in your mailbox!

Want to know of these events as they come up? Sign up for our weekend newsletter and get all the best holiday events in your mailbox.

Become a fan on Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest, and Instagram for daily updates.

Check out our Community Event Calendar for daily events.