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By: Shayne Benowitz

Greater Miami & Miami Beach comes to life during the holiday months. The magical spirit of the holidays lines up just right with the magical weather of the season. The cool, breezy weather puts everyone in a good mood, twinkling lights start to appear in the streets, and there’s no better time than this holiday season to make memories with your family. Check out these family-friendly events located at venues all across Greater Miami & Miami Beach – from an iconic Christmas ballet to the whimsical gardens of a historic estate brought to life with light installations and special seasonal decor.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

November 4-January 2

Santa’s Enchanted Forest, Miami’s iconic holiday-themed amusement park, debuts a new location this holiday season. For more than 40 years, the colorful lights and flashing rides lit up the Palmetto Expressway in Westchester. Now, the festive scene takes place at Hialeah Park in Hialeah. Each year, more than one million people visit the Christmas-themed amusement park, said to be the largest in the country, with more than 100 games, rides and attractions.

Holiday Magic Village at Miracle Marketplace

November 18-December 24

A one-stop-shop for holiday shopping and magic, the Holiday Magic Village at Miracle Marketplace is a must-visit photo op for families this holiday season. Santa and The Grinch will be onsite at this holiday event near Coral Gables. Reservations are required. You can add on photo packages to commemorate the fun. It’s open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Shimmering Lions at Zoo Lights
Stroll through the twinkling holiday Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights

Select nights from November 26-December 30

Experience Zoo Miami in a whole new light during Zoo Lights. On select nights from 6:30-10 p.m., Zoo Miami is open during extended hours for a totally different experience than what you’ll get during the usual sunlit hours. A dazzling array of lights are installed all throughout the zoo’s grounds in South Dade, sparking joy and holiday cheer. This year, the zoo will debut a new 26-foot-tall LED holiday tree. There are appearances by Santa up until December 23.

Festive decorations at Deering Estate
Experience the historic holiday decorations at Deering Estate

Historic Holiday Décor at Deering Estate

November 26-January 6

Historic Holiday Décor is on display at the gorgeous, waterfront Deering Estate in South Dade. Tour the historic homes on this beautiful property and be transported to the Gilded Age. Miami’s top interior designers help stage this beautiful event.

Chanukah Street Festival on Lincoln Road

November 28

The Chanukah Street Festival on Lincoln Road, hosted by Chabad House on Wheels, is a free Chanukah celebration and Kosher food festival held on Lincoln Road near the Euclid Circle. Family-friendly festivities include the Kids Program Bubble Show, Menorah Lighting Ceremony and Fire Show. There will also be live music. The Menorah will remain lighted throughout Chanukah.

Madeline’s Christmas at Actors' Playhouse at The Miracle Theater

November 30-December 19

The Actors' Playhouse at The Miracle Theater will be putting on Madeline’s Christmas this holiday season at the iconic venue in the heart of downtown Coral Gables. The heartwarming tale of everyone’s favorite little Parisian at Christmas is a delightful children’s theater production.

Sparkling trees & butterflies
Explore the festive Nights of Lights at Pinecrest Gardens

Nights of Lights at Pinecrest Gardens

December 10-January 2

The beautiful, tropical Pinecrest Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland, Miami-style, during Nights of Lights. The lush setting in Pinecrest turns into a sparkling paradise with the addition of thousands of lights to evoke the holiday spirit. Enjoy the holiday-themed maze in the gardens, have a sweet treat, enjoy a cocktail and check out special performances and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Sugar Plum Ballerinas dancing
The Miami City Ballet performs George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

December 16-26

For many families, it just isn’t the holidays until the curtain has gone up on Miami City Ballet’s version of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. More than 100 dancers bring this classic ballet to life at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami. Recommended for ages four and up, the ballet is a tight 90 minutes, the perfect length for little ones to enjoy as the sugar plum fairies glide across the stage.

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