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Kids & Family

  1. Where to find fireworks, parties for New Year's Eve in Tampa Bay

    Events

    New Year's Eve parties

    We have lots of ways to welcome 2015 on Wednesday, from fireworks to fashionable galas and bedtime-friendly parties. This list is merely the highlights, however. For a complete look at the many ways you can ring in 2015, see tampabay.com/things-to-do.

    Lots of places plan to start 2015 off with a bang. 
If you are a fan of explosions in the sky, here’s where to find them:  Channelside Bay Plaza: Live music and DJs start at 11 p.m.  in the courtyard, as well as dancing, a ball drop and fireworks at midnight, 615 Channelside Drive. Free. Downtown St. Petersburg: The family friendly alcohol-free First Night celebration will have two fireworks displays, at 8 p.m. and midnight. Free, but $5-$15 for buttons to participate in First Night activities. Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach: After the daylong party on the beach, a fireworks display at midnight, 10 Pier 60 Drive. Hogan’s Beach: Fireworks are part of Hulk Hogan’s annual masquerade party at his restaurant, 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. 8 p.m. Wednesday-3 a.m. Jan. 1. $45-$50, 7700 Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (813) 281-8900; hogansbeachtampa.com. Apollo Beach: Circles Waterfront Restaurant and the South Shore business community say their fireworks display will be three times bigger than the one at Channelside and set to choreographed music viewed at midnight from Circles, 1212 Apollo Beach Blvd., and several adjacent empty commercial lots. 
(813) 641-3275.  Busch Gardens: The park will stay open until 1 a.m. and have fireworks at midnight. Included with daily admission: $95, $90 for ages 3-9. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. (813) 987-5600.
  2. Watch otters play in the snow Monday at Florida Aquarium

    Events

    If you are visiting the Florida Aquarium in Tampa on Monday, make sure you head to the otters on the Wetlands Trail on the second floor because handlers are going to be giving the critters a big pile of snow to play in. They really went to town on the snow pile last year, aquarium spokeswoman Katherine Claytor said, and …

    Times files (2011) An otter at the Florida Aquarium.
  3. Disney World announces dates for Star Wars Weekends

    Florida

    Star Wars actors, stormtroopers and other characters will once again be stationed at Walt Disney World in May and June for the 2015 edition of the popular Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The lineup of celebrities hasn't been released yet, but nerds at least know now that on Fridays, Saturdays and …

    Walt Disney World guests of all ages are attracted to the annual sci-fi fan-fest Star Wars Weekends with meet-and-greets, Star Wars parades, autograph sessions, Jedi Training Academy and more. Walt Disney World Resort
  4. Review: 'Annie' makeover is adorably different (w/video)

    Movies

    The first face on screen is the Annie to whom we're accustomed: carrot-haired, freckled and white. "Annie A.," to classmates ignoring her corny show and tell. Might be an orphan but not for long with that chipperness.

    Wealthy candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) figures Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) can help his campaign.
  5. Legoland offers some Christmas deals

    Florida

    Legoland Florida is offering a couple of Christmas deals that will get you a free second day. If you visit the Winter Haven theme park by Dec. 27, you get a free ticket to return between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. Simply show your paid ticket at the park turnstiles for processing before Dec. 27 to claim your free ticket. And …

  6. Your guide to holiday parades by land, sea

    Events

    This weekend is packed with holiday parades, both by land and by sea. So if you are wondering why all of Pinellas Park's traffic around Park Boulevard will come to a halt Saturday afternoon or why the bridge at Johns Pass is tied up Saturday night, you might as well stop and watch.

    
Boats light up the night Dec. 5 on Boca Ciega Bay, South Pasadena, during the annual St. Pete Beach Holiday Boat Parade.
  7. Christmas musical all about 'Heart'

    Events

    A New Heart for Christmas, a Broadway-style Christmas musical on stage Monday at the Mahaffey Theater, will feature a choir of 150 voices from area churches.

  8. Dazzling Chinese lantern exhibition coming to Tampa zoo

    Events

    The Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa will get a dazzling display of custom-made light structures in February for a three-month exhibition called Zoominations, A Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights. Anticipated to be one of the largest lantern festivals ever held in the United States, Zoominations will also feature performances by …

    The Lowry Park Zoo is going to be getting huge Chinese lantern structures, like these built for the Longleat Safari & Adventure Park in Wiltshire, England, for a three-month exhibition called Zoominations, A Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights. It debuts Feb. 28 in Tampa. Credit Longleat Festival of Light for photos
  9. Find the snow, holiday parades in Tampa Bay

    Events

    To kick off the holiday season, Clearwater and St. Petersburg will let Florida kids play in the snow and Tampa will have its popular Rough Riders parade this weekend.

    You'll find snow around the bay area this weekend. [Douglas R. Clifford, Times]
  10. Review: 'A Christmas Carol' is back with new thrills at Freefall Theatre

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — To best measure the strength of a holiday classic, watch it unfold on the faces of young people.

    David Mann lends a gruff bark as Ebenezer Scrooge with Daniel Schwab as Fred in A Christmas Carol at Freefall Theatre.