2013 Holiday event calendar

December 19, 2013 

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 calendar@bradenton.com

"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 32-minute program is a fun and entertaining experience for all ages, especially families. 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.

Live Nativity at Big Cat Habitat: 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary will have a full live nativity with help from its resident camel, Nomad, along with donkeys, goats and other animals at the sanctuary 12:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 20-24. Special holiday admission will admit two children for the price of one. Visitors also may view the exotic and other animals at the sanctuary with special exotic animal encounters at 2 p.m. daily. The sanctuary will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Admission: $15 adults, $7 children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-371-6377 or http://bigcathabitat.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., Sunset Tours at 5 p.m. Saturdays through February. Visit www.DakinDairyFarms.com for more information or call 941-322-2802.

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. 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 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 Horseshoe Cover Holiday 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.

SARASOTA

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. 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 noon-2 p.m. Dec. 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: It's the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando Resort. 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 ParadeTM and hear Christmas music sensation, Mannheim Steamroller, perform beloved holiday classics with a modern twist. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, guests will smile from ear-to-ear during the heartwarming live show, "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular," featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. 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. Guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with the big man himself, Santa Claus. Following the parade, the acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios on Dec. 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. 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. 19-23, 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.

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