TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2013) – From swimming elves and trampoline jumping with Santa to outdoor ice skating and an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas Stroll, a holiday in Tampa Bay includes tons of fun for visitors of every age and interest.
Thanks to the AirHeads Trampoline Arena, you can see Santa fly this year without the help of his reindeer. Hit the trampolines and jump along with jolly old St. Nick himself on select Sundays in December (Dec. 8, 15 and 22) from noon to 5 p.m. Unlimited jumping is just $16.95 per person.
Christmas Town transforms Busch Gardens® Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas for 18 select nights, Nov. 29 through Dec. 23. Special Christmas entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling lights will fill the senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors to create a memorable new family tradition. Everyone’s favorite attraction, SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola®, returns with three times as much snow! Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special $10 advance tickets for their youngest members.
The Florida Aquarium will host Holiday FantaSea, a family-friendly celebration featuring real snow, dazzling holiday lights and more. From Dec. 26-30, Santa and his swimming elves, as well as special holiday mermaids, will swim throughout the massive tanks alongside all the amazing aquatic creatures each night during Holiday FantaSea. In addition, the Florida Aquarium will host two dazzling light shows each night, a huge holiday model train display, and extended hours during the Holiday FantaSea event.
Enjoy ice skating at Tampa Downtown on Ice – the area’s only outdoor ice rink. The rink is open daily (except Thanksgiving Day) from Nov. 22, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Admission is $10 per person for a 90-minute session and includes rental skates.
Meet Santa and his merry mammals – real reindeer – at Wild Wonderland at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats create a whimsical world of holiday magic from 6:30-10 p.m. on Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23 and 26-30. On Dec. 13, you 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.
If you’re traveling with your dog or cat, stop by the International Plaza to get your pet’s photo with Santa on Nov. 17 and 24 from 7 to 9 a.m.
Shop more than 150 merchants at The Junior League of Tampa’s 10th Annual Holiday Gift Market, A Tampa Tradition. Located at the Florida State Fairgrounds, the Market includes merchants selling everything from clothing, jewelry, and handbags to food, art, and children’s items.
If you can’t make it to New York, you can still catch The Rockettes in their Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Dec. 12-29 at the Straz Center.
Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 32nd annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, Dec. 1-23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There are 14 exhibit rooms, each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories. This year there will also be a special exhibit, Toys Then and Now, showcasing antique toys and toys from modern times. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 10 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths.
Ybor City’s historic holiday spirit kicks off with a Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 20. Festive crowds will enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and listen to the sounds of the season from live carolers and performers as they count down to the dramatic lighting of the 34-foot tree in Centro Ybor. On Dec. 14, arrive early for front row seats for the Snow on Seventh Holiday Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. Floats, marching bands and more entertain as snow falls throughout the parade route.
Football fans and families from across the country can root on the home team during the Outback Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade and Pep Rally and Battle of the Bands competition on Tuesday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve), starting at 5:30 p.m.
Attend Tampa’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6 in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the dynamic sounds of the Late Night Brass. The evening will also include a Christmas Market and free movie in the park featuring National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The next day is Santa Fest, complete with a holiday parade, make-and-take crafts, hands-on games and activities, and more.
Other events include Snacking with Santa at the Armed Forces History Museum, holiday concerts by the Opera Tampa Singers, The Nutcracker performed by The Great Imperial Ballet, and The Florida Orchestra’s Holiday Pop Series.
For more information and events calendar, go to VisitTampaBay.com, or follow us on Facebook (Visit Tampa Bay) or Twitter (@VisitTampaBay).
ABOUT VISIT TAMPA BAY
Visit Tampa Bay leads the effort of economic development through tourism. The mission of Visit Tampa Bay is to create vibrant growth for the Tampa area by promoting, developing and expanding a united visitor industry. The independent not-for-profit organization represents more than 700 businesses throughout Tampa Bay and promotes the area as a choice destination for conventions and visitors.