With one holiday under our ever-expanding belts, get out your family calendar and highlight some of the best family-friendly holiday parties and parades coming right down Santa Claus Lane. We've got the oh-so-Florida tradition of brightly decorated boats parading down the waterways, to Florida kids playing in snow — quickly before it melts.
These are the highlights, but see t ampbay.com/holiday for hundreds of holiday events, shows and concerts.
SANTA PARADES AND FESTIVALS
• Snowfest and Santa Parade: Begins 10 a.m. Dec. 3 at Central Avenue and Fifth Street and ends at Straub Park where 65 tons of snow are blown in for kids to play in. $5 wristband for some activities.
• Tampa's Santa Fest and Christmas Parade: Begins 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at Pierce Street and Madison Street and ends at Curtis Hixon Park, where the party continues with crafts, games and entertainment.
• Rudolph's Miracle on Cleveland Street: 5 p.m. Dec. 3. Falling snow, a skating rink, horse and carriage rides, pictures with Santa, Clearwater Chorus carolers, free concert by the Fixx and a giant gingerbread house on the 400 Block of Cleveland Street, Clearwater.
• Pinellas Park Holiday Parade: Begins 6 p.m. Dec. 10 down Park Boulevard from 58th Street to the Shoppes at Park Place.
• Snow on Seventh Holiday Parade: Pre-parade entertainment starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. Parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City.
• Dunedin Holiday Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas: 4 p.m. Dec. 10 down Main Street followed by family festival and snow slide.
• St. Pete Beach Holiday Market and Parade: 4 p.m. Dec. 11 along Corey Avenue.
• Dade City Magical Night Christmas Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 2 from Meridian Avenue and Seventh Street, followed by the annual Christmas Tree lighting on the courthouse lawn.
• Plant City Christmas Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 2. Begins at Collins and Alsobrook Streets, ends at the courthouse.
• Hudson Christmas Parade: 2 p.m. Dec. 3. Begins at Hudson Middle School and ends at Hudson First Baptist Church.
• Zephyrhills Festival of Lights: Festival begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 3, followed by a lighted holiday parade at 6 p.m. on Fifth Avenue
• Brooksville Christmas Parade: Begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 down Main Street, with country singer Billy Dawson as grand marshal.
• Largo Old Fashioned Christmas Parade: Noon Dec. 17, Ulmer Park, 301 West Bay Drive, Largo.
• Safety Harbor Holiday Parade: 1 p.m. Dec. 17 on Main Street.
• St. Pete Beach Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 2, St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park.
• Tarpon Springs Lighted Boat Parade: 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at Craig Park.
• Alafia Lighted Boat Parade: 5 p.m. Dec. 3, from Williams Park Boat Ramp in Riverview to River's Edge Bar.
• Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Dec. 3, Dunedin Marina.
• Pasco River Lights Boat Parade: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 from Moonlight Bay to Sims Park, New Port Richey.
• Gulfport Lighted Christmas Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Gulfport Municipal Marina.
• Hernando Beach Christmas Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Hernando Beach Yacht Club.
• St. Pete Illuminated Boat Parade: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Vinoy Park.
• Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade: 6:20 p.m. Dec. 11 from the Club at Treasure Island to Johns Pass.
• Indian Rocks Beach Lighted Boat Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 17, at Holiday Inn Harbourside.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: The theme park's extended-hours select nights begin this weekend with more than 2 million twinkling lights for Christmas-themed entertainment and special treats. New this year is the cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, on hand for pictures. 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday for now; nightly starting Dec. 16. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Included with admission. $99, $79 for ages 3-9. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447. buschgardens.com.
Christmas in the Wild: The Lowry Park Zoo has a new holiday party opening this weekend with carolers, costumed characters, performers, a Christmas tree, holiday treats, music and photo opportunities with Santa and his elves. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday for now; nightly starting Dec. 16. Included with admission, or you can pay $21.95 after 4 p.m. on event days; 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. lowryparkzoo.com.
Snow Days: Dec. 26-31, kids can play with real snow in the play area at the Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Included with admission: $24.95, $22.95 seniors, $19.95 ages 3-12, 2 and younger free. Prices are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them at flaquarium.org.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.