Holiday Traditions

12/8/19 Heather Sell, ShoutOUT® Tampa Bay

The holidays bring with them so many traditions with family and friends. One of my family’s annual traditions during the holiday season is going out to see all of the twinkling, floating, dangling lights and displays.

Dandelion Image: H. Sell, ShoutOUT®

There’s something magical, don’t you think, about the sparkly white and multi-colored lights and all of the creative decorations people adorn their homes and front yards with. Not to mention all of the incredible displays so many parks and attractions have.

Here are a few of our favorite places we head out to each year and a new one we new to the area.

One of our favorite spots to visit annually is the Holiday Lights in the Park at Largo Central Park. The expansive park has lights dripping from everywhere and a wide area to walk and kids to play. This definitely comes in handy if you’re pushing a stroller or wheelchair or have kids. There’s a carousel, Ferris wheel, fire pit for s’mores, and of course, lots of lights; over 2 million in fact. It’s free to attend with a small cost ($5) to ride the carousel or Ferris wheel. Last year, the Boy Scouts were serving up hot chocolate (for a small charge), which was nice since there was a slight chill in the air. The view from the top of the Ferris Wheel taking in the view across the park is a must-see. Free admission and when we went last year, parking was free in the adjacent lot on East Bay directly across from the park.

If you prefer driving through neighborhoods, I’d recommend visiting The Lights of Lake Park Estates in Largo. The neighborhood pulls together to deck their homes, trees, and front yards with an amazing array of lights, sculptures, and animated displays.  This magical drive-through experience is about 3-miles altogether. Donations are requested upon entry benefiting Suncoast Hospice.

White-lit Christmas Tree at Enchant Christmas
Image: H. Sell, ShoutOUT®

We tried something new this year by heading to Tropicana Field for Enchant Christmas. The massive white decked glowing lights Christmas tree that took center stage was breathtaking. I’m not sure how tall it was, but it seemed to almost touch the ceiling. The branches and limbs resembled dragon’s wings. Was very cool!

There were 3 different mazes drenched with various colored lights, magnificent sculptures, and places to sit and linger. Off to the left near the Christmas Market was Santa’s Landing and just beyond was an ice-skating rink. Flanking the mazes on either side were the Christmas Market and Food Market. Simply stunning displays! It’s a tad pricey to go and parking is an additional $10. Drinks and food are also a bit pricey, though we did discover Kahwa Coffee which maintained their reasonabe prices and delivered incredibly tasty cappuccinos (thank you, Kahwa). You do need to purchase your tickets in advance and select the date/time you plan on attending. If you live in St. Petersburg, use code STPETE2019 for an additional $15 off per person up to 4 people (thanks to the City of St. Petersburg for providing that).

And last but not least, the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Every year, they adorn all of their palm trees, shrubs, plants, and walkways with thousands of lights.  This year, they’ve upped the ampage with the glow of over a million LED lights. You can also find vendors, entertainment, food/beverages, and Mr. & Mrs. Claus. If you go during the weekend, just be aware that the slim walkways can become congested making it hard to push a stroller, wheelchair, or to stop and view the lights along the pathway. If you can make it during the week, you’ll find the pathways a bit more navigable. Cost is a recommended donation of $5 / person and of last year, there was free parking.

What are some of your family traditions? Do you have a favorite place to view the holiday lights? Drop a comment and let us know so we can go explore.

Happy holiday light viewing everyone!

Links to above-mentioned places with additional information:

  • Holiday Lights in the Park at Largo Central Park, 12211 Walsingham Rd, Largo, FL. Open daily 6pm-11pm through January 1, 2020. Free admission.
  • The Lights of Lake Park Estates, 109th Avenue N Lake Park Dr, Largo, FL. Open daily until Dec. 31st. Donation admission.
  • Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, FL. Open daily 5:30pm-9:30pm through January 4, 2020. Admission: $5 suggested donation
  • Enchant Christmas, Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive, St. Pete, FL. Open daily 4pm-11pm until December 29th. General Admission: 14.99-$32.99 / VIP $55.99-84.99. Parking $10. Purchase tickets online before going.

About ShoutOUT

In 2009, I started sharing my experiences, food, travels, and events, along with all of the incredible people and businesses I was meeting and discovering. What began as a fun hobby had such an overwhelming response, in 2010 ShoutOUT was born! I continue to stretch the boundaries locally, regionally, and nationally, discovering, sharing and connecting as I go.
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