BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
I hope when you read this you are happily stuffed and enjoying a day with family and/or friends.
Now, on to Christmas!
While full mall parking lots, shopping for bargains and strategizing on how to get the It toy of the year are part of the season, you have a lovely option for getting into its spirit.
A visit to the annual Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum is one of the finest ways to feel all warm and fuzzy, right up there with It's a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The museum, located in the historic Tampa Bay Hotel built by Henry B. Plant that's now part of the University of Tampa, always takes us back in time with its turn-of-the-century period rooms. For the holidays, they are sumptuously decorated. This year, the special exhibition is "Toys Then and Now." To complement it, kids can play Where's Henry? which asks them to find an image of the railroad and hotel magnate among the decorations. If they find them all, they win a prize.
Volunteers serve free cider and cookies on the veranda daily and carolers perform in the evening. A special event is a hand-bell concert in the Grand Salon on Dec. 8 performed by the Clearwater Christian Bell Choir from Clearwater Christian College. It's free, too. There are two performances, from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. No reservations but seating is limited. If you're in a shopping mood, the museum's gift shop is stocked with charming possibilities.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is on the University of Tampa campus, 401 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Through Dec. 23, the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $13 adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths from 4 to 18. On Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10, admission is discounted to $9 adults, $8 seniors and $5 youths.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.