The Nutcracker: The Moscow Ballet presents its Great Russian Nutcracker, a family Christmas story featuring 40 top Russian dancers, lavish costumes, Russian puppets and hand-painted backdrops. It's 7:30 p.m. at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $29–$89.
Mummy Day: The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is staging a series of events related to its current exhibit, Ancient Egypt — Art and Magic. We suggest if you're a bit squeamish that you skip this, because today's events will focus on the mummification process using a life-sized fake mummy. On the other hand, this sounds cool: a "Silkscreen a Sarcophagus" coloring T-shirt contest. Free with museum admission: $17, $15 seniors, $10 students. 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg.
Wild Wonderland: Lowry Park Zoo closes at 5 p.m. and reopens at 7 for the annual evening winter festival with twinkling lights, reindeer and penguins, Frosty's Foam Factory (snow alternative) and rides at 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. $13 adults, $11 children.
Tampa Bay Lightning: HBO will be at tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, filming for the network's show 24/7, which is documenting the Flyers and New York Rangers on their way to the NHL's 2012 Winter Classic. The game is at 7:30 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. (813) 301-6600.
Kids and family
Paint Like an Elephant: Fifty lucky children can grab paint brushes and paint with the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus painting elephant. Kids and their parents can begin lining up at 8 a.m. but even if they don't get picked, this should be fun to watch at 10:30 a.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa. Free.
Sunset Cinema at Pier 60: Normally these movies are only on the weekends, but they are being shown every day this week for the holidays, so bring blankets, low lawn chairs or towels to plop on Clearwater Beach and watch Kung Fu Panda 2: The Kaboom of Doom. Concessions for sale. No alcohol. The movie starts at dusk. See sunsetsatpier60.com for schedule.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 8 p.m., TCM: Mashed potatoes and Wyoming and Richard Dreyfuss. It's still a lot of fun, especially when you insist to people who don't know better that there were two movies before this one.
Series premiere: Texas Multi Mamas, 8 p.m., WE: This is like a Real Housewives series, but with women who have twins and triplets, so the drama is multiplied accordingly.
The 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, 9 p.m., CBS: Neil Diamond, Meryl Streep, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and saxophonist Sonny Rollins are on the roster this year.
More to explore
We've got ways to have fun with the kids at tampabay.com/things-to-do.