Saturday, August 18, 2018
Events

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when it comes to winter wonderlands. From neighborhood streets to botanical gardens to waterways, here are some promising places to take the family in search of dazzling displays.

If you know of a grand holiday display that should be added to our list, send information to [email protected] or tweet @TB_Times.

 

PINELLAS

 

Holiday Lights in the Gardens

Stroll through more than 1 million twinkling lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens. It’s set to music with lasers, entertainers and visits with Santa along the pathways. This year, Mondays are "Paw Night." Put your leashed dog in a holiday-themed costume and take them for photos among the lights. Opens Friday and runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. $4 suggested donation, 12 and younger free. 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. (727) 582-5800. flbg.org.

Oakdale Mega Light Display

Featured on HGTV’s All About Christmas special, the annual Christmas display (also known as the Kresge house) in St. Petersburg’s Oakdale neighborhood includes 10 semitrailer truck loads of lights, an 18-train HO scale model railroad, inflatables, flying planes, water fountains, a working carnival, bubble machines, games and a pond. Opens Friday and runs from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 3. Free. 2719 Oakdale St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 822-5562. christmasdisplay.org.

St. Petersburg Waterfront Display

Mayor Rick Kriseman lights St. Petersburg’s official tree at 5 p.m. Friday, setting off a nightly walk-through display in Straub Park that features thousands of snowflake lights, decorations and a display of giant greeting cards created by teens from local recreation centers. Begins Friday and starts at 5:30 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Free. Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7441. stpeteparksandrec.org.

Lights of Lake Park

For more than 20 years, a route of elaborately decorated homes has raised donations for Suncoast Hospice in memory of a neighbor who died of cancer. Motorists have dropped more than $780,000 into buckets as they cruise a 3-mile stretch through the Lake Park Estates, Wieker, Lakeside Estates, and Lake Seminole Village neighborhoods. Runs from
6 to 10 p.m. nightly from Dec.1-31. Route starts at 10742 95th St. N., Seminole. (727) 523-3420. lightsoflakepark.com.

Largo Holiday Lights

See a life-sized blue whle among more than six scenes made with 2 million LED lights. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel to see the lights from above. 5 to 11 p.m. nightly Dec. 2 through Jan. 1. Free, $5 Ferris wheel and carousel rides. Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive. (727) 587-6740, ext. 5014.

Waterfront Light Display

Stroll along a pedestrian only walkway to see thousands of lights and decorations including snowflake lights and a giant greeting card display. Free. Straub Park, at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7441. 5:30-10 p.m. daily.

 

HILLSBOROUGH

 

Wonderland of Lights

This 1-mile drive-through light show at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds has more than 100 scenes. It ends with a walk to Santa’s Village for pony and camel rides, face painting, games, the Wolves of the World educational exhibit, horse-drawn wagon rides through the lights, the Animals of Bethlehem petting farm and a magic show by Santa. It opens tonight and runs select nights through Dec. 30. Times vary by night. $20 per carload, $75 buses. Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 215 Sydney Washer Road, Dover. Toll-free 1-800-377-4625. thewonderlandoflights.com.

Christmas Trail

A walk through woods that have been transformed into several different Christmas storybook themed scenes with thousands of twinkling lights, snow, snowball fights, giant Christmas trees, Santa, Jack Frost, face painting, music and animated characters. Free. Christmas Trail, 2837 S Frontage Road, Plant City. (863) 944-0748. 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

River of Lights

The Pirate Water Taxi on Tampa’s Riverwalk takes guests on a 45-minute cruise up the Hillsborough River to see festively lighted bridges and shimmering downtown skylines. Includes hot cocoa, cookies and Christmas carols. Departs hourly 6 to 10 p.m. select nights Dec. 1 through 30. $25, $15 ages 4-12, 3 and younger free. 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 223-7999. piratewatertaxi.com.

Forbes Family Holiday Light Display

The Masons in Wimauma have more than 250,000 LED lights choreographed to music with a 24-foot decorated tree, leaping arches, 21 singing mini trees and a giant light wall. 5:30 to 10 p.m. nightly Dec. 1 through Jan. 1. Free. Masonic Park and Youth Camp, 18050 U.S. 301 S. (813) 634-1220. facebook.com/forbeschristmaslights.

Chick-fil-A Christmas Lights

A Tampa branch of the fast food restaurant dazzles with its annual lights display, decorations and hourly "snow" falls. Lights come on Friday through Dec. 31 from 6 p.m. to closing Mondays through Saturdays. Free. 6299 W Waters Ave., Tampa.

Holiday Trolley Light Tour

Sit back, sip on egg nog and let the trolley take you to some of Tampa’s best light displays. $21.40, $18.20 seniors, $16.05 ages 12 and younger. OMG Trolley Company, 601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa. (855) 664-8765. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

Streamside Holiday Light Display

Approximately 55,000 LED lights synchronized to music on 88.3 FM with a 17-foot tall Mickey Mouse, the Grinch and more. On through Dec. 31. Free. Tampa Holiday Display at Residence, 11048 Streamside Drive, Tampa. (813) 960-7750. 6-9 p.m. weekendays, 6-10 p.m. Friday-Sundays,

PASCO

 

Celebration of Lights

A drive-through light show at the Concourse in Shady Hills and Safety Town, 11919 Alric Pottberg Road off of State Road 52. It’s $10 per car, open now through Dec. 23, week nights 6-9 p.m. and weekends from 6 to 10 p.m. See CelebrationOfLights.net.

Symphony in Lights

The Shops at Wiregrass’ holiday light show has been running for more than a week already, featuring snow and a 55-foot tree with more than 250,000 LED lights choreographed to holiday favorites by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Runs hourly from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31. Free. 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel. (813) 994-2242. theshopsatwiregrass.com.

HERNANDO

 

Candy Cane Acres

The annual Christmas event includes photos with Santa, cookie decorating, a Parade of Trees and holiday lights, Lego and model train display and more. Continues Fridays and Saturdays Dec. 1 to 16. $10 per carload, includes 10 free tickets. Additional tickets are 50-cents each. Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. (352) 796-4552. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

ELSEWHERE

 

Holiday Lights Spectacular

With 18 homes at the Family Village draped in holiday lights and synced favorite holiday tunes. Opening Dec,.5 at 7 p.m. for a kickoff with cookies and hot cocoa. The light show will continue each evening in December until the end of the year. Cars will be able to tune their radios to an FM channel and listen to the music as they watch the lights dance. Lee Wetherington Family Village, 2720 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Sarasota. harvesthousecenters.org.

 

By Kelly A. Stefani, Times Staff Writer

Comments
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Aug. 20-25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Aug. 20-25

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs take on the Detroit Lions in their first pre-season home game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Friday. Tickets vary by game. buccaneers.com.Monster Jam Triple Threat Series: Competitors challenged to drive speedste...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida Holocaust Museum takes rock ‘n’ roll detour with exhibit on legendary promoter Bill Graham

Florida Holocaust Museum takes rock ‘n’ roll detour with exhibit on legendary promoter Bill Graham

ST. PETERSBURGThe apples in the barrel aren’t real. Even if they were, you couldn’t just grab one and munch it, like Jimi and Jerry and Janis likely did decades ago.But rest assured, it is the very same wood and tin barrel that sat by the door of San...
Published: 08/17/18
I studied Taylor Swift lyrics for three years. Then she invited me to meet her.

I studied Taylor Swift lyrics for three years. Then she invited me to meet her.

TAMPA — The Florida sun burned through my black pleather top as I hurried around Raymond James Stadium. I tried to grip a set of metal plates used at the Tampa Bay Times printing press, but my hands kept slipping. The sweat had little to do wit...
Published: 08/17/18
How ‘Disenchantment’ is completely different from what Matt Groening has done before

How ‘Disenchantment’ is completely different from what Matt Groening has done before

First he came for the family sitcom. Then he came for the science-fiction adventure. Now he’s back for the medieval fantasy, and he’s grabbing the Disney princess movie while he’s at it.Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, has brought...
Published: 08/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 19

Summer Classic Movie Series: The series continues with 1974’s Blazing Saddles (R). 3 p.m., Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin St., Tampa. $10, $7 members. (813) 274-8982; tampatheatre.org.Alonzo Bodden: The winner of Season 3 of Last Comic Standing is a reg...
Published: 08/17/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday, Aug. 18

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday, Aug. 18

Journey and Def Leppard: Two of the world’s most popular rock bands team up to co-headline a sold-out show at 7 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500; amaliearena.com.Alonzo Bodden: The winner of season three of Last Comic...
Published: 08/17/18
Why did it take so long to see a cast like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’?

Why did it take so long to see a cast like ‘Crazy Rich Asians’?

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. In January 2017, the director Jon M. Chu announced an open casting call for Asian and Asian-American actors for his movie adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. Recorded in the kitchen of his West Hollywood home (you can see his frid...
Published: 08/17/18
In ‘Mile 22,’ Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg go hog-wild without a real-life basis to hold onto

In ‘Mile 22,’ Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg go hog-wild without a real-life basis to hold onto

How was your latest drive to the airport? Hopefully a lot less complicated and violent than the one Mark Wahlberg undertakes in his latest outing with frequent collaborator Peter Berg in Mile 22. Working from a wordy, wham-bam script by debut screenw...
Published: 08/17/18
Cridlin: Aretha Franklin, world’s greatest singer, transcended cultural barriers

Cridlin: Aretha Franklin, world’s greatest singer, transcended cultural barriers

Aretha Franklin wore her crowns like no other.At the Grammy Awards in 1972, where she won the fifth of her 18 trophies: A regal scarlet shawl embroidered with gold, swirled around her sturdy Afro. At the first Divas Live concert in 1998: A golden wra...
Published: 08/16/18
Review: James Swain’s ‘The King Tides’ a swift Florida mystery

Review: James Swain’s ‘The King Tides’ a swift Florida mystery

Most parents of pretty teenage daughters are prepared to see boys mooning over their girls.But the parents of Nicki Pearl are not prepared for the growing number of adult men — all of them strangers — who seem to be stalking their daughter in the thr...
Published: 08/16/18