It’s that time of year again; when kids from 1 to 101 share holiday cheer and excitement. With all the hectic planning and shopping that happens this time of year don’t forget to plan some always-needed family time.
Here in the bay area there is certainly no lack of holiday events and we’ve pulled some of the best ones for your family to visit this season.
Nov. 29 – Dec. 23, various times
Stroll through Busch Gardens Tampa’s winter wonderland and take in the sounds, sights and flavors of the season on 18 select nights (separate-ticketed night event). www.buschgardens.com Everyone
Victorian Christmas Stroll
Dec. 1-23, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Travel to the Victorian Age at the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa. Visit 14 exhibit rooms while sipping cider and nibbling cookies. Tickets: $13 adults and $7 children (ages 4-18). Discount Days are Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10, with $9 and $5 admission, respectively. Proceeds fund preservation efforts. www.plantmuseum.com 4 & Older
Tampa Theatre Holiday Classics
Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, various times
Celebrate the season with some holiday cinema classics at the Tampa Theatre. This month features Elf (Dec. 1), Miracle on 34th Street (Dec. 8), White Christmas (Dec. 15) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Dec. 20-22). Tickets: $10 general public and $8 members. www.tampatheatre.org Everyone
Tampa’s Tree Lighting and Santa Fest
Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
Head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for an evening of live music, a Christmas market, holiday treats, Downtown on Ice and a free movie in the park (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation). Free admission (stuffed animal donations encouraged). And don’t forget to take in a holiday parade and explore the winter wonderland the next day, Dec. 7 in Downtown Tampa. Play interactive games, make and take holiday crafts, go skating at Tampa’s Downtown on Ice for $5 and pose for pictures with Santa. www.friendsoftamparec.org Everyone
The Nutcracker Ballet
Dec. 7, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Visit the University of South Florida Theatre 1 for one of two performances of the holiday classic by the Tampa Bay Triple Threat Theatre, featuring professional guest artists and promising young local performers. Tickets start at $20. www.mjpaa.com .
Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23, 26-30, 6:30-10 p.m.
Chill on the Arctic Blast Ice Slide and enjoy other merriment at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, including holiday treats, rides and reindeer. Tickets: $14 adults and $11 ages 3-11. www.lowryparkzoo.com 3 & Older
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Broadway Family Night
Dec. 19, 6 p.m.
See the world famous Rockettes dance their way through a breathtaking holiday show with an array of glamorous costumes and dramatic lighting at the Straz Center. Parents can purchase one full-priced ticket and receive one child (12 and under) ticket 50% off for this night only. There will be special kids activities that begin at 6 p.m. and special pre-show talkback. Show runs Dec. 12-29 Tickets: $42.50-$105. www.strazcenter.org Everyone
Dec. 13, 7 p.m.
See the Goo Goo Dolls and The Fray take the stage at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg as part of the Mix 100.7 holiday concert. www.themahaffey.com . 10 & Older
Dec. 14, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Head over to The Palladium in St. Petersburg for this special holiday show featuring Entertainment Revue. Come early and visit the Christmas Lane Marketplace for some shopping and photos with Santa! Adults are $17 and kids 12 and under $14. www.mypalladium.org Everyone
Snacking with Santa
Dec. 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Meet Santa when he stops in at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo. Nibble on cookies and cupcakes, do arts and crafts and embark on a scavenger hunt. Tickets: $10 adults and $5 ages 4-12. www.armedforcesmuseum.com Everyone
Noon Year’s Eve
Dec. 31, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Chime in the new year at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, with Radio Disney AM 1380 leading the fun. Party includes games, arts and crafts and live entertainment. When the clock strikes noon, pull out those noisemakers and toast 2014 with juice. Included with zoo admission. www.lowryparkzoo.com Everyone
Dec. 26-30, various times
Visit the Florida Aquarium and continue the holiday celebration with extended hours and a sea of family activities, including a real snow play area, holiday light show and model train display. www.flaquarium.org Everyone
Symphony of Lights
Through Dec. 31, 6-9 p.m.
Watch 250,000 lights dance across enormous trimmed Christmas trees as you listen to 2,000 watts of Trans Siberian Orchestra complete with snow flurries at this mesmerizing musical light display at Center Court at Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel. Shows run nightly on the hour. Free. www.shopsatwiregrass.com Everyone
For a complete list holiday events for the whole family, visit http://TBParenting.com/holiday.