St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Mayor Kriseman flips the switch to illuminate the city's Christmas tree at this celebration with live entertainment, interactive games and food available for purchase. 5 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue NE and Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 893-7441.
Christmas in the Wild: The animals come out at night for the zoo's new holiday party with carolers, costumed characters, performers, a Christmas tree, holiday treats, music and photo opportunities with Santa and his elves. Included with admission, or $21.95 after 4 p.m. on event days. 9:30 a.m., Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. $29.95, $27.95 seniors, $22.95 ages 3-11, 2 and younger free. (813) 935-8552.
Santa's Workshop: MOSI's Idea Zone is transformed into a Minecraft-inspired winter wonderland. Join elves to create cardboard creatures and retro toys, see live science shows and search for lost toys hidden around the museum. Daily through Jan. 3. Included with admission. 10 a.m., Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $26.95, $25.95 seniors, $20.95 ages 3-12; 2 and younger free. Member discounts available. Separate pricing for IMAX-only admission. It's $15 for the zip line only, or $10 with admission. Ropes course is $10 by itself, or $7 with admission. Parking is $5. (813) 987-6000.
Holiday Lights in the Gardens: Stroll through the gardens with more than 1-million twinkly lights, lasers, Florida-style displays, animated figures, visits with Santa and entertainers lining the pathways. 5:30 p.m., Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Donation of $4 suggested; 12 and younger free. (727) 582-5800.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: More than 2 million twinkling lights transform the park into a holiday wonderland with Christmas-themed entertainment. This year, indulge in treats as you meet and take photos with Rudolph, Clarence, Yukon Cornelius and Bumble in "Rudolph's Winter Wonderland." Also, enter the North Pole home of Santa. Included with admission. 6 p.m., Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. $99, $79 for ages 3-9. (888) 800-5447.
Candy Cane Acres: The annual Christmas event includes photos with Santa, decorating Mrs. Claus' homemade cookies, Parade of Trees and light displays, crafts to make and take home, magical playground, Florida-style sleigh ride, live nativity scene, pony rides and Lego display. Continues Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 17. Additional tickets are .50 cents each. 6:30 p.m., Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad St., Brooksville. $10 per carload, includes 10 free tickets. (352) 796-4552.
Flotsam and Jetsam: The legendary thrash metalers will be joined by Helstar, Hatchet, The DooD and Arakasia. 6:30 p.m., State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $18 advance. (727) 895-3045.
Michael Ray: One of Florida's hottest country stars thanks to hits like Kiss You in the Morning and Think A Little Less. 7 p.m., The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa. $10. (813) 987-2855.
Earthquake: Name a television show that features comics; he's been on it, including Def Comedy Jam,. Comedy Central Presents, ComicView and Jamie Foxx's Laffapalooza. He also played Uncle Mike on Everybody Hates Chris. 8 and 10 p.m., Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 864-4000.
Steve Vai: To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, Passion and Warfare, the guitarist will perform the entire record from top to bottom, with some surprises in store. 8 p.m., Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $40-$65. (727) 822-3590.
Stevie B: A flashback '80s and '90s freestyle party with the King of Freestyle singing hits like Party your Body and Spring Love. 9 p.m., Round Up, 10051 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. $25. (813) 855-1229.
MORE TO EXPLORE
Find more family-friendly events at tampabay.com/things-to-do.