1. Archive

Santa arrives - with snow!

A parade with Santa and tons of snow in the park is on the wish list of kids in downtown St. Petersburg and in Centennial Park in Ybor City on Saturday.

In addition, a number of parks across the bay area will have winter activities this weekend that don't require bundling up in snowsuits.

The elaborate Lions Club Santa Parade and Snowfest in St. Petersburg steps off at 10 a.m. at First Avenue S and Fifth Street, then goes to Bayshore Drive and north along the waterfront to North Shore Pool.

After the parade, winter comes to North Straub Park at Bayshore Drive and Fifth Avenue NE from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with kids' snow activities, including ice-skating, tobogganing, crafts, pony rides, inflatables and more. A $6 wristband covers all Snowfest activities.

At night, the lights will be on and kids can visit with Santa from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 23 in North Straub Park.

Tampa Parks and Recreation's annual holiday event, the Santa Fest and Krewe of Venus Holiday Parade on Saturday, will feature tons of snow, an outdoor ice-skating rink, continuous entertainment on five stages, crafts, Santa Claus, kids games and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., along Eighth Avenue, between Centro Ybor and Centennial Park. The parade is at 4 p.m., with the best viewing on Seventh Avenue from 15th to 19th streets. It's all in Ybor City and free.

Other holiday highlights

LARGO HOLIDAY STROLL AND PARADE: Largo Central Park will be jumping with music and strolling entertainers Friday and Saturday, all set off by 250,000 lights, from 7 to 9 both nights. A parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday along West and East Bay Drive, ending at the park.

DUNEDIN HOLIDAY BOAT PARADE AND TREE LIGHTING: The floating parade leaves from Marker 1 Marina at 7 p.m. Saturday and heads south to Union Street, then returns around 8:30; Santa and tree lighting follow at 8:45 at Edgewater Park, Edgewater Drive and Main Street.

PLANT CITY WINTER LIGHTS SPECTACULAR: There will be 12 tons of snow and lots of kids' activities at Plant City's McCall Park on Saturday at 100 N Collins St. Free. HOLIDAY IN THE PARK WINTER FESTIVAL: Pinellas Park's family festival from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday will have singers, lights, hayrides and photos with Santa at the England Brothers Band Shell, Town Square Plaza Park, 5121 80th Ave. N, Pinellas Park. Free.

WINTER WONDERLAND: The annual spectacular starts Friday in Clearwater and runs through Dec. 22 with entertainment, a petting zoo, pony rides, pictures with Santa, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, a hot chocolate shop and more. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at Drew Street and Fort Harrison Avenue, downtown Clearwater. Free.

HERITAGE VILLAGE TREES AND TRADITIONS: On Saturday, the village looks at Christmas around the world, with multicultural dance performances by SPIFFS member groups, trees decorated in global themes and village structures decked out for the holidays. It runs from 1 to 4 p.m., and the decorated trees and buildings will be on display the rest of the month at 11909 125th St. N, Largo. Free. WILD WONDERLAND: Lowry Park Zoo's evening winter festival starts Saturday and runs through the end of the month with holiday lights, reindeer, a children's snow play area, free rides, holiday-themed games, a preview of African penguins and visits with Santa. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 8-10, 14-17, 20-23 and 26-30. The zoo is at 7530 N Boulevard, Tampa. $13 adult, $11 ages 3-11. (813) 935-8552.

For more holiday fun, see the Diversions Calendar.