THINGS TO DO FOR CHRISTMAS IN TAMPA BAY
The events and descriptions below were compiled by Tampa Bay Times entertainment and events reporter Sharon Wynne. To check out all of the Christmas-related events courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times, click here.
Enchant Christmas: Tropicana Field will be a winter wonderland when Enchant Christmas, billed as the world’s largest Christmas light maze, opens Friday with ice skating, an ice bar and more. It runs nightly through Dec. 29 and there event two nights you can bring your dog. Dec. 1 and Dec. 16. Tickets: $19.99-$32.99, depending on the date (Tuesdays are cheapest), $14.99-$25.99 for kids 4-14. There are discounts for military, emergency workers and students. A family four-pack is $58-$88 depending on the night, and you can get a season pass for $70. Tickets for animals on the dog-friendly nights are $18.99 and must be purchased in advance.
Check out the event preview here:
Christmas Town: Since 2012, Busch Gardens has transformed the Tampa theme park into a twinkly wonderland with a tropical twist. You’ll find bright pink flamingo lights and giant poinsettia trees. The Sing-Along Train has gotten a makeover this year, and there’s a new show called “The Most Wonderful Time,” “a classy Christmas soiree, complete with jazzy piano solos, a live band and heart-melting vocal performances.” The “Christmas on Ice” show returns, as does the song-filled “Elmo’s Christmas Wish.” The park’s new launch coaster Tigris is also dressed for the holidays with new light displays inspired by the attraction. The event runs nightly through Jan. 6 and is included with admission.
Winter Village Ice Skating in Curtis Hixon Park: Outdoor ice skating in balmy Florida? Yes. Virginia, this tale is true. This weekend marks the opening of Winter Village Ice Skating in Curtis Hixon Park, as well as a popup shopping experience with 10 area boutiques and crafters selling items from booths made from Pods containers. There will also be food and drink stations. A winter staple of the area since 2011, the ice rink will attract up to 20,000 people through the holidays. Skate rental is $15 and includes 90 minutes of skating. Socks are required. Opens at 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday through Jan. 5.
The Lion in Winter: Opening at Freefall Theatre this weekend, is of medieval proportions. King Henry II of France decides to be a nice guy and let his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine out of prison to spend Christmas with the family. But things get all Game of Thrones when they disagree about which of their sons should inherit the crown. Despite the scheming and warring, the play is actually a comedy. Runs through Dec. 22.