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Things to do planner: Snow play at the aquarium, fun for Outback Bowl and St. Petersburg Bowl fans

COOL KIDS: Snow play at the aquarium

Florida kids get to play in the snow this week when the Florida Aquarium brings back its popular Snow Days with 65 tons of snow spread out in a play area with a snow slide. The play area opens at noon Saturday through Wednesday and is included with admission ($23.95, $20.95 for 60+, $18.95 for kids 3-12). The aquarium elves suggest wearing gloves for the snow play, and closed-toe shoes can't hurt. They have even set up a room around the play area for parents to take pictures and get out of the way of cold stuff. Tickets for the aquarium, at 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them at flaquarium.org.

BOWL GAMES: Fun before Outback, St. Petersburg Bowl take the field

With the St. Petersburg Bowl on Saturday and the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day, the runup to the bowl games includes fun for fans with the players, bands and cheerleaders. After you open presents Friday, you can head to St. Pete Beach for the St. Petersburg Bowl Battle of the Bands at the Sirata Beach Resort from 2:30 to 5 p.m. where fans of the University of Connecticut and Marshall University compete in tug-of-war, flag football, boxing and more. Then head to downtown St. Petersburg for the St. Petersburg Bowl Block Party at Ferg's starting at 5 p.m. with live bands, interactive games and displays. The game is at 11 a.m. Saturday at Tropicana Field. Tickets are $40-$200 at stpetersburgbowl.com. Before the Tennessee Volunteers face the Northwestern Wildcats in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on New Year's Day, the teams, marching bands and cheerleaders will have an Outback Bowl Beach Day at Clearwater Beach on Wednesday at the Hilton next to Pier 60. The public is invited for live music, skydivers, tug-of-war and other contests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Dec. 31, the Outback Bowl Parade steps off at 5:30 p.m. with marching bands and cheerleaders from the two teams as well as floats and walking units along Seventh Avenue between 14th and 20th streets in Ybor City.

SCI-FI: Fantasy ball cosplayers

In a bit of counter programming to all the gum drops and holiday festivities, the Yuletide Fantasy Ball at the Carrollwood Players Theater, 4333 Gunn Highway, Tampa, invites cosplayers, fantasy fans and sci-fi fanatics to come in costume for a "fairy tale evening of music, entertainment and food" from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Billed as a fantasy holiday party in an ice castle, guests might be elves, wizards, fairies, princesses or any festive creature. There will be live music from the students at Jim Chambers Music Box, a raffle and prizes awarded for best costume. Proceeds benefit Carrollwood Players Theatre, Tampa's longest-running community theater company. $15 online, $20 at the door. carrollwoodplayers.org/yuletide-fantasy-ball. (813) 265-4000.

Things to do planner: Snow play at the aquarium, fun for Outback Bowl and St. Petersburg Bowl fans 12/23/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 11:03am]
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