Universal Orlando Holiday Celebration
Families can celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando’s Holiday Celebration featuring the 15th anniversary of Macy’s Holiday Parade, holiday cheer of Who-ville at Grinchmas, a delicious holiday breakfast buffet on select dates, and electrifying classics performed by renowned Christmas sensation Mannheim Steamroller Dec. 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, and a spectacular New Year’s Eve party with endless entertainment and fireworks. Nickelodeon Way, Orlando, universalorlando.com. Dec. 3-Jan. 1.
Lowry Park Zoo “Christmas in the Wild”
For 19 delightful nights, the Zoo will transform into a winter wonderland and guests can enjoy a merry and memorable evening with this unique, but traditional holiday event, from the sights of stunning lights, the seasonal smells of holiday treats, the excitement of festive entertainment and the magic of wildlife at night. Park will be open on event nights until 10 p.m. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.org. Weekends through Dec. 30.
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LEGOLAND will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2016 and brings an exciting lineup of special events, including LEGO Club Weekends featuring Christmas Bricktacular on select dates in December, featuring lots of hands-on experience, sparkling fireworks, meet-and-greet opportunities with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier, holiday themed scavenger hunt, a live-holiday-themed stage show starring the LEGO Friends, storytime with Mrs. Claus, live performances of classic Christmas music by the LEGO brickettes, and a Kids’ New Year’s eve on Dec. 31. All events are designed for kids 2-12 years old and offer incredible entertainment with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions in 13 themed lands. 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven. florida.legoland.com.
Busch Gardens “Christmas Town”
The annual holiday tradition, “Christmas Town,” returns to Busch Gardens with more than two million twinkling lights, festive treats, holiday entertainment and unique attractions, including the all-new addition of the beloved Rudolph the red-nosed-reindeer, Santa’s house, thrill rides at night, and fan-favorite shows that ring in the season, including Christmas on Ice, Carol of the Bells light show and the Holiday Hills Brass Band. The event takes place on 23 select dates starting Nov. 23-Dec. 31. Busch Gardens, 10165 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa, 888-800-5447 or seaworldparks.com/buschgardens. Through Dec. 31.
Santa’s Workshop at MOSI
Kids can come to the Idea Zone creativity lab and make real toys to take home and give to family and friends as Santa’s Workshop is open for business and Santa himself will visit the workshop Dec. 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18. Kids can create cardboard creatures, join retro-toys building classes, become Santa Sleuths to find lost toys, and enjoy live science shows. Reservations are not required. General admission: $26.95. 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-987-6000 or mosi.org. Through Jan. 3.
Bearadise Ranch, home to the famous Welde family bears, is offering Fall/Winter tours 11:30 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through May 2017. Educational presentations are part of the tour offering plenty of photographic opportunities for the nature lover or bear enthusiast. Donation: $8 children, $12 adults. Reservations are required. 6908 245th St. E., Myakka City, 941-322-2464 or bearadiseranch.com.
‘Museums on Us’
Bank of America’s "Museums on Us" is offering cardholders free admission to some of the most exciting cultural venues in the United States. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can get free access to more than 150 participating museums in 94 cities and include the Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa and the Florida Holocaust Museum and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain free general admission. The offer is valid for cardholders only, guests are not eligible. museums.bankofamerica.com. First weekend of each month, Dec. 2-3.
Annual “Celebration of Harry Potter”
Harry Potter fans will once again unite at Universal Orlando Resort for the fourth annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter.” Fans can experience and participate in interactive and unique exhibits, enjoy special panels and demonstrations regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter stories, attend Q&A session with select film talent, visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, and ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket. 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, universalorlando.com. Jan. 27-29.
African Penguins at Lowry Park Zoo
Peer into the life and plight of the endangered African penguins at the newly renovated Penguin Beach campus at the Zoo. Eleven birds have returned to their outdoor beach-themed habitat following an extended “staycation” during construction, welcoming new colony member “Marcus,” a 1-year old male. The new facility is critical to the Zoo’s role as a leader in African penguin conservation. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.org.
For a limited time Florida residents can ride the Orlando Eye, a 400-feet observation wheel at a special rate of $18 for adults, and $13 children ages 3-12. Proof of residency is required. Restrictions apply. 8401 International Dr., No. 100, Orlando, officialorlandoeye.com.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
Palma Sola Botanical Park features landscaped grounds, specialty gardens, a rare fruit tree section, lakes, a gazebo, a screened pavilion and play ground. Restroom and picnic tables are provided. Sidewalks and paths wind through the 10 acre grounds. The Galleria building features a large room, suitable for weddings, parties and other celebrations and is for rent through the administrative office. Admission to the park is free. 9800 17th Ave. NW., Bradenton, 941-761-2866 or palmasolabp.com. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
RealRail Train Displays
Come enjoy the operating train displays. Admission is free. 6804 14th St. W., Bradenton, realrail.org. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, except on holiday weekends.