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Holiday highlights for the kids: Holiday and boat parades, Santa festivals and more

The Dunedin Holiday Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas is Dec. 10, starting with the parade down Main Street followed by family festival and snow slide.
The Dunedin Holiday Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas is Dec. 10, starting with the parade down Main Street followed by family festival and snow slide.
Published Nov. 27, 2016

With one holiday under our ever-expanding belts, get out your family calendar and highlight some of the best family-friendly holiday parties and parades coming right down Santa Claus Lane. We've got the oh-so-Florida tradition of brightly decorated boats parading down the waterways, to Florida kids playing in snow — quickly before it melts.

These are the highlights, but see t ampbay.com/holiday for hundreds of holiday events, shows and concerts.

SANTA PARADES AND FESTIVALS

• Snowfest and Santa Parade: Begins 10 a.m. Dec. 3 at Central Avenue and Fifth Street and ends at Straub Park where 65 tons of snow are blown in for kids to play in. $5 wristband for some activities.

• Tampa's Santa Fest and Christmas Parade: Begins 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at Pierce Street and Madison Street and ends at Curtis Hixon Park, where the party continues with crafts, games and entertainment.

• Rudolph's Miracle on Cleveland Street: 5 p.m. Dec. 3. Falling snow, a skating rink, horse and carriage rides, pictures with Santa, Clearwater Chorus carolers, free concert by the Fixx and a giant gingerbread house on the 400 Block of Cleveland Street, Clearwater.

• Pinellas Park Holiday Parade: Begins 6 p.m. Dec. 10 down Park Boulevard from 58th Street to the Shoppes at Park Place.

• Snow on Seventh Holiday Parade: Pre-parade entertainment starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. Parade steps off at 7 p.m. on Seventh Avenue in Ybor City.

• Dunedin Holiday Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas: 4 p.m. Dec. 10 down Main Street followed by family festival and snow slide.

• St. Pete Beach Holiday Market and Parade: 4 p.m. Dec. 11 along Corey Avenue.

• Dade City Magical Night Christmas Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 2 from Meridian Avenue and Seventh Street, followed by the annual Christmas Tree lighting on the courthouse lawn.

• Plant City Christmas Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 2. Begins at Collins and Alsobrook Streets, ends at the courthouse.

• Hudson Christmas Parade: 2 p.m. Dec. 3. Begins at Hudson Middle School and ends at Hudson First Baptist Church.

• Zephyrhills Festival of Lights: Festival begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 3, followed by a lighted holiday parade at 6 p.m. on Fifth Avenue

• Brooksville Christmas Parade: Begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 down Main Street, with country singer Billy Dawson as grand marshal.

• Largo Old Fashioned Christmas Parade: Noon Dec. 17, Ulmer Park, 301 West Bay Drive, Largo.

• Safety Harbor Holiday Parade: 1 p.m. Dec. 17 on Main Street.

BOAT PARADES

• St. Pete Beach Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 2, St. Pete Beach Community Center and Horan Park.

• Tarpon Springs Lighted Boat Parade: 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at Craig Park.

Alafia Lighted Boat Parade: 5 p.m. Dec. 3, from Williams Park Boat Ramp in Riverview to River's Edge Bar.

• Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Dec. 3, Dunedin Marina.

• Pasco River Lights Boat Parade: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 from Moonlight Bay to Sims Park, New Port Richey.

• Gulfport Lighted Christmas Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Gulfport Municipal Marina.

• Hernando Beach Christmas Boat Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 10, Hernando Beach Yacht Club.

• St. Pete Illuminated Boat Parade: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Vinoy Park.

• Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade: 6:20 p.m. Dec. 11 from the Club at Treasure Island to Johns Pass.

• Indian Rocks Beach Lighted Boat Parade: 7 p.m. Dec. 17, at Holiday Inn Harbourside.

ATTRACTIONS

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: The theme park's extended-hours select nights begin this weekend with more than 2 million twinkling lights for Christmas-themed entertainment and special treats. New this year is the cast of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, on hand for pictures. 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday for now; nightly starting Dec. 16. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Included with admission. $99, $79 for ages 3-9. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447. buschgardens.com.

Christmas in the Wild: The Lowry Park Zoo has a new holiday party opening this weekend with carolers, costumed characters, performers, a Christmas tree, holiday treats, music and photo opportunities with Santa and his elves. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday for now; nightly starting Dec. 16. Included with admission, or you can pay $21.95 after 4 p.m. on event days; 2 and younger free. Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa. (813) 935-8552. lowryparkzoo.com.

Snow Days: Dec. 26-31, kids can play with real snow in the play area at the Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Included with admission: $24.95, $22.95 seniors, $19.95 ages 3-12, 2 and younger free. Prices are generally about $2 cheaper if you buy them at flaquarium.org.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.