2013 Holiday event calendar
Here's a list of holiday community events for children of all ages. To add your event to this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org
"Let It Snow": Planetarium at South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton
The South Florida Museum will present a new holiday show "Let It Snow," 2:15 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11:15 a.m. Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24. The show features a new variety of festive classic from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, and includes a stunning multi-media finale by the Trans Siberain Orchestra. The soundtrack is visually enhanced with thematic animation, special effect and all-dome scenery. The show is included with general admission tickets to the South Florida Museum. General admission: $15.95 adults, $13.95 seniors ages 65 and older, $11.95 children ages 4-12, free to children ages 3 and younger, military with proper ID and free to museum members. For detailed information, call 941-746-4131, ext. 0 or www.southfloridamuseum.org.
Country Christmas at Dakin Dairy Farms: 30771 Betts Road, Myakka City
Country Christmas at Dakin Dairy features Christmas Carol Hayrides ($5), Live Manger family photo opportunities with costumes ($5), pony rides ($3), roasting marshmallows, hot fresh picnics, use your smartphone to answer hidden scriptures in the maze and geo-nav clue hunt that ends at the Manger with a video. Hours: Open until 8 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 21 with Old Miakka Farmers Market on site 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 5pm Sat. Sunset Tours at 5 p.m. Saturdays through February. Visit www.DakinDairyFarms.com for more information or call 941-322-2802.
Holidays Around the Ranch: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Celebrate the Holidays Around The Ranch on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch 6-9 p.m. Dec. 13. Watch the lighting of the tree over the fountain, work on crafts in Santa's workshop, ice skate on an acrylic ice rink with skates provided, there will also be children's dance and music groups and welcome Santa's arrival too along with more festive activities.
Annual Anna Maria Holiday Walk: along Gulf Drive, Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard
Shopkeepers all along Gulf Drive, Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard will stay open late for the annual Anna Maria Holiday Walk 5-9 p.m. Dec. 13. The shops in the Anna Maria Island Historic Green Village will be among those offering special treats and sales for holiday shoppers. Holiday music will play throughout the day. Information: 941-600-9745.
Winter Wonderland: Old Main Street, Bradenton
A family-friendly street festival featuring kid's crafts, entertainment, food and craft vendors, and a snow mountain with sledding is 5-9 p.m. Dec. 14. Don't miss Santa and Mrs. Claus. Information: Email email@example.com,
Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade: Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto
The Bradenton Yacht Club will host a Holiday Boat Parade viewing party beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14. The parade, featuring boats decorated with holiday lights, will start at DeSoto Point and will end at the Bradenton Yacht Club. A fireworks display will be at the end of the parade. The event is open and free to the public. Information: 941-722-5936 or visit www.bradentonyachtclub.com.
Lighted Boat Parade: Anna Maria Sound
Cortez Yacht Club's eighth annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade begins Dec. 14 near Mar Vista & Moore's Stone Crab restaurants on north end of Longboat Key at dusk (6-6:30 p.m.) and will travel north to the Seafood Shack Marina & Restaurant, 127th Street West, Cortez. Awards ceremony will follow the parade at the Seafood Shack. Grand prize is $500. Boaters interested in participating and competing for prizes are required to pre-register by calling 941-780-3547.
"A 1913 Florida Cracker Christmas," annual holiday festival: Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton
The Manatee Village Historical Park will host "A 1913 Florida Cracker Christmas," a family-friendly street festival 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 15, featuring kids' crafts, entertainment, model railroads, food and craft vendors and live music by The First Brass, Gary Reinstrom, The EZ Keys, The Eighth Notes and more. Admission: $5 adults, children ages 12 and younger admitted free. Information: Christine Brown at 941-741-4075.
Christmas on Bridge Street: along Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Bridge Street will change from its tropical hue into a Winter Wonderland 3-10 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Bridge Street's Christmas on Bridge Street, featuring snow, Santa, live holiday music, special performances and kids' activities. Special sales, gift baskets and wreath giveaways, gift ideas, a lighted boat parade, and a Children's Craft and Cookie Bazaar area where area school children can make and sell handmade holiday items, Christmas crafts and baked goods. Information: 941-713-3105 or www.bridgestreetmerchants.com.
Santa's Magical Workshop: 1703 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton
Visit Santa's workshop with his working elves, tour four unique rooms of Santa magic and fun, and walk the enchanted lighted garden at Gulf Shore Animal League's "Santa's Magical Workshop" 6-9 p.m. Dec. 14-15 and 21-22. Photo opportunities with Santa are $5. Entry donation: $5, children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. All proceeds will benefit Gulf Shore Animal League. Information941-747-2284.
"Star of Bethlehem" Live Star Talk: South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton
Visit the Planetarium and explore the question "What was the Star of Bethlehem" 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 presented by Howard Hochhalter, one of South Florida Museum's staff astronomers. The public will journey to Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago using the Planetarium's ability to travel through time and space and take a look at the skies to see if the star was a comet, a supernova or something else entirely. Admission: $8, $3 museum members. Reservations are required. Information: 941-746-4131, ext. 0 or www.southfloridamuseum.org.
Holiday Lights Bus Tour: Senior Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton
The Senior Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th will host a Holiday Lights Bus Tour 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Guests will begin with dinner at the 9th Street Bistro and then depart on an evening bus tour to view holiday light displays. Cost: $10. Space is limited and reservations are required: 941-749-0100.
Manatee County Area Transit Tour of Lights: State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29, Bradenton
The Manatee County Area Transit will host the popular Tour of Lights 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21. Buses depart from State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29. Riders need only bring a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toy for admission. The food will be donated to local social service networks and the toys will be given to the Toys for Tots program. Seating is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Passengers should arrive no later than 6:30 and should be ready for departure at 6:45 p.m.
Fifth annual Winter Luminary Walk: De Soto National Memorial, 8300 De Soto Memorial Highway, Bradenton
The Fifth Annual Winter Luminary Walk will light its trails with thousands of luminaries 6-8 p.m. Dec. 21. Visitors can enjoy live music by Native American musician Juan R. Leon, classical violist Amberly Waterman of Anna Maria, and G Man's Caribbean Steel Drums, and encounter historical re-enactors along the with holiday luminaries decorated trails. The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-792-0458.
Fifteenth Annual Christmas Golf Cart Parade: Caruso Road to Westwinds Village on State Route 70, Bradenton
Bring chairs and the family to view the Horseshoe Cove Holiday Golf Cart Parade on 6 p.m. Dec. 22 and enjoy a parade of 50 twinkling golf carts leaving Horseshoe Cove and travel down SR 70 to Westwinds Mobile Home Park. There will be candies for the youngsters and doggie treats for the pets. Info: 941-751-3450.
Holiday Nights during Art After Five at the Ringling: Ca'd 'Zan, John and Mable Ringling museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
The Ringling will celebrate the holidays during Art After Five with the following events: a decorated Ca'd 'Zan 5-8 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 26, dance to the music by Yesterdayze Dec. 19. Admission to Art After Five is $10 for adults, $5 for visitors ages 6-17, and is free for Museum members. Information: 941-359-5700 or www.ringling.org.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens annual Holiday Lights Celebration: 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Sarasota Jungle Gardens will show off its annual Holiday Lights Celebration 6-9 p.m. Dec. 13-15, 20-24, 26-29. The gardens' trails and exhibits will be adorned with holiday lights. Holiday-themed activities include roasting marshmallows, visiting with Santa and more. Special dinner menus are offered for purchase. Admission: $11 adults, $6 children ages 6-12, children ages 2 and younger are admitted free. For a complete schedule of events call 941-355-111, ext. 306.
Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights: Centennial Park to Bayfront Park, Sarasota
The annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 and will bring thousands of spectators to the bayfront. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and watch the boats as they parade along the Bayfront Park covered in bright and colorful lights with live bands on decks playing Christmas tunes. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-955-0991 or www.visitsarasota.org.
"Santa Jaws at Mote Marine": 'Tis the season to meet Gilly, Santa's helper shark at Mote Marine Laboratorium and Aquarium nonn-2 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21. Guests can take pictures with Mote mascot Gilly the Shark, who will be dressed for the holidays as Santa Jaws. Photo ops with Santa Jaws are free with admission to Mote. Aquarium visitors can also see more than 100 marine species, including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and fish of all shapes and sizes. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota. For hours, and ticket prices, call 941-388-4441 or www.mote.org.
Lights in Bloom: Selby Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Explore Selby Gardens and view life-size garden-themed holiday lights presented by Lights in Bloom creator Bob McComb, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20-23 and 26-30. Don't miss the chance to see the new Ann Goldstein Children's Rainforest Garden decked out with holiday lights for the first time. Enjoy festive live music while dining on grilled entrees, delicious kids' "Merry Meals," and delightful holiday snacks. Children of all ages will love exploring the rainforest garden aglow with holiday lights. Kid-friendly activities, such as creating fun crafts, will be available in the Kids' Corner. Santa and his elves make an appearance Dec. 20-23. Admission is $17 for adults, children age 11 and younger admitted free. Information: 941-366-5731 or www.selby.org.
"Ice on the Diamond -- A Holiday Celebration": Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota
SIn a first for Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles will present world-class skaters in "Ice on the Diamond - A Holiday Celebration," a dazzling, holiday-themed show on a specially engineered ice stage on the ballpark's main field at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. The show's cast includes a world-class team of national and international skaters. Soloists are Michael Chack, a U.S. national bronze medalist, and Erica Archambault, a U.S. junior national champion. Triple gold medalists Stephanie Kuban and John Hunt are the lead pair. The storyline is advanced by actors Joe Gnoffo and Casey Peterson as "elves" who narrate the show. Ensemble and specialty skaters are Greg Bonin, Ben Blandford, Dianna Ramos, Rachel Reynolds and Freddy Hernandez. Ticket prices are $5 to $30, with a limited number of Gold Circle seats at $45. Children ages 2 and younger, sitting on a parent's lap, are free. For ticket information and box office hours, visit www.orioles.com/sarasota or call 941-893-6300. Parking is $5 in the East and North Lots, with a portion of proceeds supporting the Sarasota Y.
TAMPA & ORLANDO
Grinchmas, Macy's Holiday Parade: Through Jan. 4, families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando's Holidays celebration. Come face-to-face with The Grinch at Grinchmas, watch larger-than-life balloons float through the streets during the Macy's Holiday Parade and hear Christmas music sensation, Mannheim Steamroller. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, guests can attend the live show, "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular," featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville. Guests can meet the mean, green one himself and the Whos daily and, on select dates, enjoy a special breakfast with the characters. At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy's Holiday Parade will fill the streets with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade. Following the parade, the acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios on Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. Information: www.universalorlando.com.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: The Magic Kingdom will host Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party featuring 19 magical nights0. Guests with special event tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor with lively stage shows featuring Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, USA. The nights include a holiday "Celebrate the Magic" castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular. Party dates are Dec. 12-13, 15, 17, 19-20. The park is at 3111 World Drive, Lake Buena Vista. For park hours, tickets and detailed information visit www.disneyworld.com/christmasparty.
2013 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: Busch Gardens' "2013 Christmas Town," featuring Santa's House, Penguin Point, SnowWorld by Coca-Cola and much more, will transform the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests' senses to continue the beautiful new tradition for families on 18 select nights through Dec. 23. Guests can look forward to special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and regular daytime Busch Gardens admissions is not required or included. For park location, hours and tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com.
Wild Wonderland at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: Meet Santa and his merry mammals, real reindeer, at Wild Wonderland featuring animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats creating a whimsical world of holiday magic 6:30-10 p.m. Dec. 13-15, 17-23, and 26-30. On Dec. 13 zoo visitors 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. For location, hours and tickets, call 813-935-8552 or www.lowryparkzoo.com.