Jack Hanna: The animal lover shares stories from his world adventures and gives audiences the chance to meet his furry friends Sunday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. $22.50-$42.50. (727) 892-5798.
Outback Bowl: Before the big game on Jan. 1, there's a Players Night Friday at 6 p.m. at Splitsville in Tampa's Channelside District ($6 per game, $3 shoes) as players from South Carolina and Michigan compete off the field in bowling. Beach Day is Sunday starting at 11 a.m. at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach with the teams, their marching bands and cheerleaders competing in beach games with live music and even skydivers. Free.
Vodka Latke: For young Jewish professionals, this Christmas Eve gathering is the not-to-be-missed party of the year, with drinks, red carpet photos, desserts and heavy appetizers. It starts at 9 tonight at Mangroves Seafood Grille and Bar, 208 S Howard Ave., Tampa. $36.
Mary Poppins: The award-winning Broadway musical — one of the biggest successes in recent years — returns for a limited run Wednesday through Sunday at the Straz Center in Tampa. $46.50-$81.50. (813) 229-7827; strazcenter.org.
Bobcat Goldthwait: The scratchy-voiced comedian and director is still doing standup (albeit without the signature voice), and has become almost as well-known for directing indie films. See him at the Improv in Centro Ybor Saturday through next Monday, including a special New Year's Eve show. $32-$55. (813) 864-4000.
Music lineup: Bradenton pop-rockers We the Kings play a hometown holiday show in Palmetto on Thursday. Get free or $45 VIP tickets at showclix.com/event/3735444. There's a free concert by Molly Hatchet and a fireworks display at the Blast Friday street party in the 400 block of Cleveland Street in Clearwater on Friday.
Kids and Family
Christmas at the Pier: The Pier in downtown St. Petersburg remains open today and Christmas Day — the last Christmas before it is torn down for a swanky new design. Opens 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at 800 Second Ave. NE.
Pachyderm Picasso: See a Ringling Bros. elephant paint a work of art. The first 50 kids can paint along, but there's plenty of room for spectators in Curtis Hixon Park at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Circus performers will be there, too. Free.
More to explore
Make your New Year's plans now with more than 70 parties, concerts and events for you to consider at tampa bay.com/things-to-do.