12 Holiday Events for the Whole Family

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By Jill Martin

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:

The Nutcracker

Spend a few hours with the Sugar Plum Fairy this holiday season. Catch a show at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Dec. 4-5, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center on Dec. 11-13 or the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Dec. 27.

Actor’s Playhouse

In addition to the shimmering decorations along Miracle Mile, you can see a clever, new and funny holiday show bound to be a classic. The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge will be performed Dec. 2-27. Special evening performance on Christmas night at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $50.

Zoo Miami

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 Friday, Dec.18 and runs through Wednesday, Dec. 30. Take a stroll on 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 run 7 to 10 p.m. (closed Dec. 24 and 25).

Miccosukee Indian Arts Festival

Experience the culture, arts, entertainment and food of Native Americans from across the county on Dec. 26, 2014 through Jan. 1, 2015. Miccosukee Indian Village is easy to find, just head west on SW 8th Street until Mile Marker 70.

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 until January 3, 2016. Admission is $30.84 for adults (10-64), $21.49 for kids (3-9), and $21.49 for seniors (65+).

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.

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. Enjoy Wild Holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 19, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016. Admission is $39.95 for adults and $32.95 for kids (ages 3 to 10), plus taxes & fee. Get a $6 discount on general park admission by visiting any participating Pet Supermarket.

Pet Photos with Santa

Santa will be at Dolphin Mall on Wednesdays, Dec. 2, 9, and 16 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for pet photos. Or, visit The Falls on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. For both locations, pets must be on leashes or in crates and all shots up to date.

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. 19 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 Ice Palace at Dolphin Mall

Within this 30-foot ice dome, you can play in the snowfall, sing along to your favorite songs and watch scenes from a popular family movie. A new theme is featured each year - what will be unveiled for 2015? One thing’s for certain, you can leave a handprint in ice at The Icy Hand Print experience before you leave. This free event at Dolphin Mall runs daily through Dec. 24.

The Heat on Christmas Day

How about some fan-based Christmas cheer? Put on your Santa hats and come watch the Miami Heat take on the New Orleans Pelicans at AmericanAirlines Arena. Cheer the Heat to victory at 12 p.m.

Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve

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

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