12 Holiday Events for the Whole Family

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By Jill Martin and Kara Franker

Don't miss these family-friendly holiday events in Miami.

December is a time when the Magic City really shines. While most of the nation is downright frigid, here in South Florida, it’s all about warming up your holiday spirit—with more than just the weather.

Here’s a list of happenings for all ages for the 2016 holiday season:

The Nutcracker

Spend a few hours with the Sugar Plum Fairy this holiday season. Catch a performance at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Dec. 2-3, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center on Dec. 9-11, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 17-24, or the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Dec. 30.

A Christmas Carol

In addition to the shimmering decorations along Miracle Mile, head to Coral Gables for a holiday classic: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Nov. 28 – Dec. 24, 2016, Saturdays at 2 p.m. at the Actor's Playhouse at the Miracle Theater

Zoo Lights

Have you ever seen a giraffe lit up in lights? If you have yet to experience Zoo Lights, put this on your wish list. The fun begins on Dec. 16 and runs through Dec. 30. Take a stroll along the pathways and oooh and ahhh over thousands of twinkling lights including giant animal shapes. You can nibble on cookies, sip hot cocoa, listen to the Yuletide Carolers, take a ride on the carousel, snap a photo with Santa, and more. Zoo Lights runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (closed Dec. 24 and 25).

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

This is the grand daddy of holiday displays. The towering trees that line the midway at Tropical Park are covered in three million twinkling lights. The lights alone are worth the price of admission, but carnival rides from toddler-friendly carousels, to extreme drop towers, are included. Did we mention the food? If you want a taste of Miami, come hungry. Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open from 5 p.m. to midnight from Nov. 3, 2016 until January 8, 2017. 

Strawberry Picking

'Tis the season for red and green, and in South Florida that means it’s time to pick strawberries. There are several places to U-Pick, including Knaus Berry Farm, Burr’s Berry Farm, Sam and Philly’s, and U-Pick Kendall.

Wild Holidays at Jungle Island

Go wild with an assortment of family-friendly experiences during Wild Holidays at Jungle Island. Your kids will love the holiday-themed animal shows, animal parade with holiday music, crafting station, and more. 

Mall Photos with Santa

Have your kids been naughty or nice this year? Nice we hope! For photo opps, Santa will be at Dolphin Mall Nov. 24 through Christmas Eve; at The Falls from Nov. 4 - Dec. 24; Aventura Mall from Nov. 12 - Dec. 24; and at the Shops at Merrick Park on the weekends only from Dec. 4-23. 

Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade

Close to 100 decorated boats are expected this year at the Miami Outboard Club Holiday Boat Parade on Dec. 17, 2016 and you’re invited! One of the best spots to watch is at Bayfront Park. There will be food trucks, music and a bounce house for the kids, too.

The New World Symphony's Sounds of the Season

The New World Symphony presents a festive program celebrating the holiday season, offering families an opportunity to gather and share in the Sounds of the Season. Enjoy selections from a variety of cultural heritages, certain to delight audiences of all ages on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 at SoundScape Park at the New World Center on Miami Beach. 

Holidays at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Head to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove and enjoy a trip back in time as the mansion and gardens are decked in holiday decorations. Delight in an old-fashioned holiday evening with live music from Vizcaya's pipe organ, hot chocolate, light appetizers and desserts and arts and crafts on Dec. 14, 2016.

Miccosukee Indian Arts & Crafts Festival

Experience the culture, arts, entertainment and food of Native Americans from across the county on Dec. 26, 2016 through Jan. 1, 2017. Miccosukee Indian Village is easy to find, just head west on SW 8th Street until Mile Marker 70.

Capital One Orange Bowl

Sports fans can ring in the New Year at Hard Rock Stadium, with kickoff at 8 pm on Dec. 30, 2016. We don’t know who’s playing yet, but it’s always a hot ticket, so get yours now.

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