Local holiday events

Several family events planned around town

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 'Tis the season for many holiday events.

Alison Carlson with Jax4Kids.org was our guest this morning on The Morning Show. She highlighted several events happening around Duval County that would be fun for families.

Holiday Pops/Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra

  • Dec. 12, 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Dec. 13, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Dec. 14, 3 p.m.
  • Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts

It's Jacksonville's favorite holiday music tradition. Thrill to the spectacular acrobatics of Cirque de la Symphonie performers, dazzling vocalists, and heartwarming choral melodies, as Michael Butterman leads the magical sounds of your Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, joined by dazzling vocalists Doug LaBrecque and Sarah Jane McMahon.

Dec. 17-18, 7:30 p.m.

Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, St. Augustine 

The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performs its annual holiday tradition, the Holiday Pops Concert.

The Polar Express Arrives at the Beaches Museum and History Park

Pablo Station on Friday Dec. 12-13 at 3-8 p.m.

The Polar Express is a historic 1911 steam locomotive all decked out for this holiday event. Kids will be able to visit the "North Jacksonville Beach Pole," meet the conductor and ring the bell on the Polar Express, then talk to Santa who will give them their very own golden bell.

At 6 p.m., enjoy a screening of "The Polar Express" on the lawn outside the train building. Families are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for what may be a chilly night.

It is free, but donations are encouraged to help support future family events at the museum. Pablo Station is located in the Pablo Historical Park in front of Beaches Museum at 381 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach. 

WinterFEST at Adventure Landing
Through Jan. 11

In its third year, Adventure Landing has been transformed into a Winter Village including an outdoor Ice skating rink, 130 foot Alpine Racer Ice Slide, nightly snowfall, s'more roasting, hot cocoa, live ice sculpture carving Dec. 13 and 27,
ornament decorating, Santa visits, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through Christmas and on Dec. 19, 22, 23 and 24.

ZOOLights at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Open Dec. 12–14 and Dec. 18–Jan. 3

Celebrate the holiday season and create a family tradition admiring the sparkling lights and brilliant hues at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' Third Annual ZOOLights event. Thousands of LED lights will transform the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. Guests will have the opportunity to view sculptures and performances by local artists including students at UNF and JU, yarn bombing by Yarn Bomb Jax, and a train display by the First Coast Model Railroad Society in our Discovery Center in Play Park. In addition to walking among the thousands of lights strung throughout the Zoo, guests can enjoy a unique view of ZOOLights by boarding the Zoo's lighted train. Guests can also enjoy carousel rides, the 4-D Theater Ride featuring the Polar Express, marshmallow roasting, warm weather "ice" skating and more!

Save $1 on admission by buying your tickets online at jacksonvillezoo.org

The Jacksonville Zoo and WinterFEST have teamed up to offer you a special holiday event discount.
When you buy a ticket to the Alpine Racer Ice Slide, a 130-foot long ice slide, at WinterFEST at Adventure Landing, you'll receive a FREE ZOOLights Ice Skating ticket and when you buy a ZOOLights ice skating ticket on these dates: Dec. 12-14, and Dec. 18-Jan 3, you'll receive a FREE Alpine Racer Ice Slide ticket at WinterFEST at Adventure Landing!

Gingerbread House Extravaganza
Through Dec. 23rd
St. Andrew's Church
317 A Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202
The Jacksonville Historical Society presents its 13th annual Gingerbread House Extravaganza in the Old St. Andrews Church located across the street from the Veteran's Memorial Arena. Gingerbread houses of every size and kind made of gingerbread and candies will be on display. The event is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Closed Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 3 to 16. The proceeds from the event will go towards children's programs of the Jacksonville Historical Society.
Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A Bethlehem Visit
Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church
Friday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 13, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The annual live nativity, A Bethlehem Visit, returns to Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church. There will be over 200 costumed cast members who will re-create the city of Bethlehem as it might have been on the night of Jesus' birth. Parking is available at the PGA Tour Lot off CR210. Parking is $5 per car with free shuttles to and from Bethlehem. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Hometown Holiday in the Park
Clarke House Park
1039 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, FL 32073

Annual Hometown Holiday in the Park at Clarke House Park. There will be magical snow rides through the woods to see all of the lights, live music, Clarke House tours, a shopping village, classic holiday movies projected on a big screen, food, and more. It may even snow! Parking will be available at First Baptist Church of Orange Park – no parking will be available inside the park.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, The Christmas Attic
Tonight (Thursday) at the Veterans Memorial Arena
Tickets start at $29

Science with Santa
Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MOSH will be host of Science with Santa. Science with Santa programs will take place in the JEA Science Theater at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., The Alien Who Stole Christmas will play in the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium at 11 a.m. ($5 per person in addition to Museum admission). The day will also include holiday crafts and visits with Santa at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Santa's Storybook Tea
Saturday, Dec. 13, noon
Ritz Carlton
4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia Island, Florida 32034

Participants will enjoy a fireside holiday storybook read by Santa plus an afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, pastries, cakes, candy, and a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Reservations recommended. $50 ages 6 to adult / $15 age 5 years and younger, inclusive.

The Grinch Live
A free, family-friendly production of the Grinch Live on stage
Dec. 19, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Dec. 20, 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Dec. 21, 10 a.m., noon, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Admission is Free
Childcare is provided for children ages birth – 2 years.

Celebration Church
9555 R.G. Skinner Parkway
Jacksonville, Florida 32256

Fernandina Beach Lighted Christmas Parade
Saturday, Dec. 13, 5 p.m.

The Annual Fernandina Beach Lighted Christmas Parade will be held in downtown Fernandina. The parade route will travel from Buccaneer Field along Ash Street to Front Street and Centre Street/Atlantic Avenue to Central Park.

Menorah Building Workshop
Dec. 14, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
4040 Oldfield Crossing Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32223
Chabad of St. Johns is partnering with Lowe's for a Pre-Chanukah Menorah Building Workshop. Wearing mini Lowe's aprons and goggles, kids will craft their very own unique Menorahs with a host of supplies available from Lowe's. Chabad will provide hot latkes and fresh doughnuts – traditional Chanukah foods. Reservations are appreciated to ensure enough supplies. RSVP to Dini@JewishSJohnsCounty.com .

Annual Chanukah at the Jacksonville Landing
Dec. 21, 5 p.m.

This year's event will feature musician Sha-ron Kushnir, a Grand Chanukah Family Carnival and Fair and, as always, the kindling of Jacksonville's tallest Menorah.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Noon Year's Eve
Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join Jax4Kids.com at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for Noon Year's Eve, a family-friendly New Year's Celebration with an apple juice toast at Noon and Jacksonville's own Dalton Cyr performing on stage. There will be entertainment throughout the Zoo, goody bags for the first 500 and party hats and noisemakers for everyone. Noon Year's Eve is free with Zoo admission.

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