Top things to do this week in Tampa Bay

Where to see fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Tampa Bay and another high-flying Cirque show.
Published December 26 2018

BANG: New Year’s Eve Fireworks

If you’d rather start the year with a bang and a pow than a Champagne toast, there are several ways to see fireworks at midnight Monday — and even one show at a more friendly time for the kids.

• Clearwater Beach: Fireworks will be shot off Sand Key for a midnight display that can be seen along all of Clearwater Beach.

• Apollo Beach: Circles restaurant in Apollo Beach once again brings a large fireworks display at midnight. Boaters motor over to the east side of Tampa Bay near Sun City Center to watch the show. The waterfront restaurant is at 1212 Apollo Beach Blvd. Free. (813) 641-3275.

• Downtown St. Petersburg: First Night St. Petersburg is on its 26th year of providing a family-oriented party that includes two fireworks shows, 8 p.m. and midnight in Straub Park at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE. See for a schedule and more.

• Rocky Point: With Mario Lopez returning for a second year as host, the Pied Piper Productions party will have its own fireworks display over the bay at the Godfrey Hotel, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. $29-$59. (813) 265-1234.

• Cruises: There are fireworks cruises on the river in Tampa and along Clearwater Beach in Pinellas. Boarding at 10 p.m. Monday, see Yacht Starship, 603 Channelside Drive, Tampa, and also 25 Causeway Blvd. Clearwater Beach. $149.95-$199.95. (813) 223-7999. Also Tropics Boat Tours, 25 Causeway Blvd. Clearwater Beach, has a three-hour cruise boarding at 9:30 p.m. Monday. $50. (727) 442-7433.

• Harbour Island: The city isn’t having a fireworks show this year, but American Social and Jackson’s Bistro, both on Harbour Island, will put on a private show. There’s prime viewing for ticketed partygoers. $55-$150.

• Downtown Tampa: Armature Works is hosting a private midnight fireworks display over the bay for its party at 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa. $185-$250.

• Busch Gardens: The Tampa theme park will run rides until 1 a.m. with fireworks in Gwazi Park. 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. (813) 884-4386.

LOTS OF LIGHT: Cirque Dreams Holidaze

It appears the circus can survive without elephants. Cirque Dreams, a recent incarnation on the “Cirque” circuit, delivers aeralists, jugglers, song and dance. Cirque Dreams Holidaze combines Christmas and Hanukkah traditions and lights to glittering effect, all wrapped up in a family-friendly package. Performers change brightly colored costumes in the flash of an eye and magicians double as acrobats. Expect lots of movement, from jump rope to ballet. $35-$65. 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 893-7832.

SNOW PLAY: for the kids, otters

The Florida Aquarium has revived its popular Snow Days to let Florida kids play in a snow zone this week, but it is also bringing back Otter Snow Days. The playful animals get their own play zone at 10:30 every morning through Monday. The animals get some enrichment and visitors can watch them frolic in the snow at the aquarium’s Florida Wetlands Trail exhibit, home to its river otters. The critters really tore through their snow pile in past years, so expect the snow play area to last a half-hour or so.

Kids also get a snow play area from noon to 5 p.m. today through Monday. Included with admission. $23 and up, free for 2 and younger. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 273-4000.