Here is our list of the best holiday events to check out this season in and around Seminole County. Get excited for cooler days, hot cocoa, milk and cookies, twinkling lights, and a jolly good time.
Stetson Mansion Christmas Tour, DeLand
November 15 to January 15
Enjoy a spectacular holiday home tour at the Stetson Mansion, a beautiful Victorian residence built in 1886. Each year’s decorations are always different. A few of this year’s room themes include Arrival of the Christ Child, A Victorian Christmas, A Tribute to Elves, Snowbabies, Friends of Stetson, A Salute to the Five Branches of Service, A Stetson Prairie Christmas, and Pretty as a Peacock. Visitors will be guided through the first and second floors of the home by a knowledgeable tour guide. Tours are 75 to 90 minutes long and run three times daily, except Sunday mornings. Reservations are required for all tours. Cost is $25+tax for adults and $15+tax for ages 6-22. Children under 6 are free. Cash only. Visit StetsonMansion.com/christmas-tours for more info.
Ride the Ferris Wheel at Light Up UCF, CFE Arena
Opens on Friday, November 17
Take the family to this winter theme park located in the liveliest corner of the UCF campus. This year, the CFE Arena is celebrating 10 years of music, lights, and ice skating for the whole community to enjoy. Light Up UCF features several rides, an ice rink, and a Ferris wheel. Visit CFEArena.com/light-up-ucf.php for more info.
Strap on Those Ice Skates at Winter in the Park
November 18 to January 7
Go ice skating with family and friends at Winter Park’s popular outdoor rink in Central Park West Meadow. Located on the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard, the ice rink features non-stop holiday tunes and wintery fun. All-day general admission is $13 and includes skate rental. Visit CityOfWinterPark.org for more info.
Nights of Lights in Historic St. Augustine
November 18 to January 31
The 24th annual Nights of Lights dazzles the nation’s oldest city as more than three million lights adorn every corner of the historic district for two months. During Nights of Lights, downtown businesses stay open later, letting you dine in view of the lights and shop along the bricked walkways amongst the lit buildings. The city's many trains and trolleys offer special seasonal tours that take you through the best areas of Nights of Lights, and there are also a variety of specialty tours – everything from walking to horse-and-carriage tours, and even tours to see the lights from the water and from the air. VisitStAugustine.com/Event/Nights-Lights for more info.
Pick Your Own Christmas Tree, Oviedo
November 23 to December 25
The choice is yours at Oviedo Choose & Cut Christmas Trees, a place where you can cut down your own tree this holiday season. This service is available for $45 per tree and operates on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Thanksgiving until Christmas. A saw to cut down your tree can be provided. Call 407-235-8101 for more info.
A Mount Dora Christmas
Starting on Saturday, November 25th
The beautiful town of Mount Dora hosts a series of Christmas events every year. This year, things will kick off with its 35th Annual Light Up Mount Dora event at Donnelly Park in downtown Mount Dora where more 2 million sparkling lights will light up the night. The event is free and open to the public and features several performances. Other events include the Christmas Walk, Christmas Parade, and the Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular. Visit MountDoraChristmas.com for more info.
Play in the Snow and Much More at the Celebration Town Center
November 25 through December 31
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! The annual, month-long ////Now Snowing//// event at Celebration Town Center has a new holiday program featuring an ice rink, strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, community performers, photos with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 p.m. The program will also operate on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Visit CelebrationTownCenter.com for more info.
Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland
December 1 to December 31
Wekiva Island will be decked out in all its holiday glory, all December long. The popular chill spot on the Wekiva River will feature daily events such as Santa visits, free gift wrapping, a visit from the Clydesdales, a boat parade, and tons of real snow. Experience evening snowfall every night at 6:00 p.m. Wekiva Island will also be open on Christmas Day. Some upcoming events include:
* December 3 – Santa visit, train rides, real snow play area, and a screening of ////The Polar Express//// projected onto a 16-foot screen. Popcorn and hot cocoa will be available.
* December 18 – Live reindeer visit, free gift wrapping, ugly sweater party, and Santa visit.
Visit WekivaIsland.com/Winter-Wonderland-Events for more info.
Sanford Holiday Tour of Homes
Saturday, December 2, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Tour historic homes from the Sanford Heights residential area and enjoy the ambiance and charm of Sanford’s historic district. Guests have the option to take a trolley ride, which will loop around the area. Visit the traditional historic neighborhood homes, tour hip downtown living spaces (including two tiny houses and a houseboat), and snap memories at several photo stops along the way. Be sure to look for the Santas stationed at the photo stops, including Cowboy Santa, South Pole Santa, and Spandex Santa. Cost is $29 per person. This event is a fundraiser for the Sanford Historic Trust. Visit SanfordHistoricTrust.WildApricot.org for more info.
Holiday Decor and Live Music at Bok Tower Gardens
Events begin on Saturday, December 2
Bok Tower Gardens is a lovely day trip destination year-round, but around the holidays it’s one of the top attractions in Central Florida. Tour the ornately decorated mansion or walk the gardens while relaxing to holiday music. Two popular upcoming events include:
* Saturday, December 2, 6:00 p.m – Sunset and Symphony Holiday Concert featuring the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower Carillon. Guests are encouraged to bring their coolers and picnic baskets. $30 per person.
* Sunday, December 17, 4:00 p.m. – Carillon and Chorale Holiday Concert featuring the Singing Tower Carillon and a live choir. The cost is included in your admission ticket.
Visit BokTowerGardens.org for more info.
Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Saturday, December 2, 6:00 p.m.
Enjoy the holiday lights gleaming off the ripples of water at night from any number of riverfront vantage points in Daytona Beach as lavishly decorated vessels blast holiday sounds. The boats will parade along the Halifax River and culminate at the Halifax Harbor Marina. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Light the Way of Volusia County, a cancer patient support organization. Visit DaytonaBeach.com for more info.
Christmas in the Park, Winter Park
Thursday, December 7, 6:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Every year, the Morse Museum kicks off the holiday season in Winter Park by lighting up Tiffany glass windows in Central Park and presenting the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble in concert. Bring chairs, blankets, and snacks, and sit back to enjoy the music of the night. Alcohol is allowed in the park for this event. The event is held in the northern section of Central Park near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Park Avenue. Admission is free. Visit MorseMuseum.org for more info.
Singing Christmas Trees at First Baptist Orlando
December 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
The Singing Christmas Trees is an exciting presentation of Christmas classics featuring a huge choir, full orchestra, dance, powerful drama, and a beautiful display of 250,000 lights on two 45-foot-tall Christmas trees. An hour before the show begins, go for a stroll through the all-new Bethlehem Village and meet characters from the Christmas story and live animals in the petting zoo. Thursday and Friday presentations are at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday presentations are at 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday presentations are at 5:00 p.m.
Visit FirstOrlando.com/Events/Singing-Trees for more info.
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