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Get in the Christmas spirit the Tampa theme park with millions of lights, a decorated sing-along train, an ice skating show and visits with Santa. Rudolph is also at Christmas Town along with his friends Clarice and Bumble. The Christmas Town Village is filled with holiday decorations and food and drink stations, including hot chocolate and cookies, festive cocktails and a station just for waffles. The area also has booths to shop for Christmas gifts from local vendors. New this year is the Merry Mint Lane near the Animal Care Center. Guests can get up close to penguins and some of the other animal ambassadors, find new photo opportunities and new treats.
Christmas Town is included with park admission and runs nightly through Jan. 6.
Oakdale Christmas House
One of the biggest Christmas light displays in Tampa Bay for more than 40 years is an annual tradition for locals and visitors alike. The dazzling display in south St. Petersburg features half a million lights and hundreds of displays covering the house and property. Good luck finding where the lights end and the house begins. The Christmas House also has projection and light shows, animated holiday characters, festive trains and dozens of Christmas trees. The owners of the house say the electricity bill usually runs around $5,000. It’s free to attend, though donations are accepted.
Holiday Lights at Largo Central Park
One of the biggest light displays in Pinellas County returns to Largo Central Park beginning Thanksgiving night. The park is filled with more than two million LED lights, holiday displays, music and a Ferris Wheel and carousel for $5 per ride. Enjoying the lights is free, but there will also be holiday treats for sale.
The Holiday Lights is open nightly through Jan. 1, 2020.
Enchant Christmas debuts in three cities this year -- and St. Petersburg is one of them. Tropicana Field is outfitted with a massive light display in the outfield and a Christmas market with more than 60 local food and product vendors. In the infield, there’s an ice-skating trail with lit archways. And, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at their workshop for photo opportunities. The theme is year is “The Great Search,” where a mischievous elf named Eddie accidentally sets Santa’s reindeer free. So, it’s up to guests to find them all among the twinkling lights.
Ticket prices vary for select nights and times.
Symphony in Lights
The Shops at Wiregrass brings back its iconic holiday light show this year with dancing lights, festive decor and even some “snow.” The light show is choreographed to music from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. On Thanksgiving, the shopping center is open 6-midnight. The light show runs nightly through Dec. 31.
Holiday Lights in the Gardens
Another light display in the Largo area sees more than 1 million LED lights twinkle around the Florida Botanical Gardens at 12520 Ulmerton Rd. The light displays highlight the plants or are nature-themed. Nightly entertainment includes visits with Santa and holiday gifts at the Botanical Bounty Gift Shop. It’s free to attend, but a $5 donation is encouraged. The event runs through Jan. 4, 2020.
Wonderland of Lights & Santa’s Village
Christmas light-lovers can drive through a mile of displays at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Brandon. At the end of the tour is Santa’s Village, featuring a circus-style show every night, visits with the Animals of Bethlehem and plenty of holiday fair food. You can also take carriage rides around the grounds for $5 per person and get photos with Santa. Perhaps the shining star of Santa’s Village is Rudolph the camel, whom you can ride for $10 per person. Admission to the Wonderland of Lights and Santa’s Village starts at $25 per car.
The event runs through Jan. 5.
Lights of Lake Park
The neighborhood Christmas light display has raised more than $800,000 for Suncoast Hospice since 1993. Attendees can walk or drive through the more than 3 miles of lights in the Lake Park Estates area at 109th Avenue N in Largo. Kids get candy canes and dogs get special treats. The lights are on 6-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. It’s free to attend, but donations for Suncoast Hospice are encouraged.
St. Petersburg Waterfront Light Display
Thousands of holiday lights and decorations cover North Straub Park, South Straub Park, Pioneer Park, Al Lang Park and Albert Whitted Park in downtown St. Petersburg. If you start at the giant greeting card displays at Vinoy Park along Bayshore Drive and end at Albert Whitted Park, you’ll see almost two miles of holiday displays. If you’re looking to meet Santa Claus, find him 6-9 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Dec. 12 and Dec. 23. The lights are on display through Jan. 1.
Several thousand lights and displays fill a quarter-mile walking trail at 2837 S Frontage Rd in Plant City. Photo opportunities include a 25-foot decorated Christmas tree and even some snow. Santa Claus is also there nightly for pictures and wishes. The trail also includes vendors, face painting and places to buy hot chocolate and marshmallows for roasting. Returning this year is the Jack Frost Ice Show every night. A VIP package ($5 per person) includes a reserved spot at the show, hot chocolate, marshmallows and an autographed picture with Jack Frost. Admission is free. Parking is $5 per car.
The Christmas Trail is open 5:30-10 p.m. select nights through Dec. 23.
River of Lights
Tampa’s Pirate Water Taxi turns festive with the Dickens Carolers as you tour along the Hillsborough River to see the lighted bridges and downtown area. The 45-minute rides also feature festive narration from the captain, hot chocolate and holiday cookies.
Departure times are at 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. select nights through Dec. 30. Tickets are $28 for adults, $18 for kids.
Celebration of Lights and Wilderness Wonderland
Along with the mile-long drive-thru of holiday lights and displayers is the Wilderness Wonderland at The Concourse in Shady Hills. The attraction has games, inflatables, photo opportunities with Santa, local food vendors and ice skating. Both events run 6-10 p.m. nightly through Dec. 21. $10 per car. Train rides are $4.
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