It seems as though Christmas events and festivities begin earlier and earlier each year. Several malls around town and a few parks host their Santa arrivals as well as tree lighting and holiday festivities in November. All events listed are free.
Here’s a schedule of what’s happening in November:
Through Dec. 24: Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops: Santa’s Wonderland returns to Bass Pro Shops and Miami-area families are invited to enjoy this magical Christmas village offering free photos with Santa and free family holiday activities including fun crafts and games. Features include rustic Christmas cabins, holiday characters and live elves set amongst a dazzling backdrop of snow-covered hills and illuminated Christmas trees. The Santa’s Wonderland Christmas village offers remote control trucks, laser/ foam toy arcade, Lincoln Logs building area and much more. Kids can also spend time at one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa, color and do fun crafts, all for free. Families can enjoy the wonder of Christmas inside Bass Pro Shops with Santa’s Wonderland through December 24 including free photos with Santa. Guests can schedule their Santa time using the free Bass Pass system. Visit the Bass Pass Ticket Depot located at the entrance of Santa’s Wonderland to pick up a time-stamped pass. Santa’s arrival coincides with Veteran’s Day and the start of a holiday round up program where customers can help support service members, military families and veterans through a donation program. Bass Pro Shops will donate 100 percent of customer contributions to USO Care Packages, which are shipped directly to active service members overseas, and AMVETS. 10 am-9 pm. 11551 NW 12 St., Miami, FL 33172 305-341-4200.
Through Dec. 24: Santa’s Flight Academy at Dolphin Mall: Each child becomes a member of the flight crew and enjoys a special visit with Santa, and • Receives a personalized Cadet Badge • Tries on a virtual flight suit • Learns how to operate the sleigh • Dances under magical lights and snowfall. Located on the 2nd floor of Las Ramblas at the Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12th St, Miami, FL 33172.
Nov. 19-Dec. 16: Santa’s Garden Christmas Tree Festival: Buy Christmas trees from 10 am-10 pm. Miami Dade Fair Expo at Tamiami Park, 10901 SW 24 St. Free admission.
Bayfront Park Tree Lighting: Bring the whole family to Bayfront Park’s Tree Lighting and join us in kicking off the holiday season! Held annually the day after Thanksgiving, the event marks the start of the holiday season. The tree is a striking, artificial, 50-foot, Rocky Mountain Pine Tree — adorned with a custom lighting package. It will stay lit every night and remain in the park through the new year. 7 p.m., 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
Miami Lakes Main Street ‘Festival of Lights’: Join the Main Street Merchants and The Graham Companies for the 34th Annual Main Street Festival of Lights from 5-9 p.m. Kick-off the holiday season making memories with family, friends and loved ones as Main Street lights up the evening with a series of holiday-themed presentations along two blocks of Downtown Miami Lakes. Enjoy a number of family- friendly performances and activations throughout the night, such as the Lighting of Main Street, Live DJ, Photo Stations, performances by students from local schools, characters, and lots of complimentary activities for children to experience courtesy of presenting sponsors, The Graham Companies, and Main Street Merchants, as well as supporting sponsor Publix Super Markets. Don’t forget to come early and Shop Small in honor of Small Business Saturday! 6700-6855 Main St., Miami Lakes.
North Miami Tree Lighting Ceremony: Celebrate the start of the season at North Miami’s annual tree lighting ceremony at the MOCA Plaza with live holiday music and entertainment, festive refreshments and a visit from Santa. 6:30 p.m., 770 NE 125 St., North Miami. 305-895-9840.
City of Miami Tree Lighting Ceremony: Mayor Francis Suarez, City Commissioners and City Manager Emilio Gonzalez invite all Miami residents to join them for an exciting, fun-filled Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony with lots of family-friendly activities. This year will feature radio personality Enrique Santos with music and entertainment brought by iHeartMedia. Alongside the tree, guests will enjoy lots of surprises, food, a mini-parade and fun-filled activities for children of all ages. 5-8 p.m., Miami City Hall, 3500 Pan American Dr., Miami.
Little Haiti Holiday Tree Lighting: Bring the family for an afternoon of music, food, skating and candy plus a festive tree lighting ceremony. 6-10 p.m., Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 212 NE 59 Terr., Miami. 305-960-2969.
Coconut Grove Tree Lighting Ceremony: Enjoy live music and performances by local students, take a picture with Santa and meet his elves and Olaf, the snowman from the hit movie Frozen. 4-8 p.m., Florentine Plaza, 3444 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove. 305-461-5506.
Mercy’s Spectacular Tree Lighting by the Bay: Complimentary photo with Santa, train rides, free hot chocolate and churros, pizza available for purchase and musical entertainment by Adamaris Lopez, George W. Carver Elementary students, La Salle Lionettes, The Lourdes Singers, Southside Singers plus a special sneak peek of Aladdin by Key Point Broadway. 5:30-8 p.m., 3663 S. Miami Ave. RSVP at (305) 285-2929.
Holiday Spectacular and Photos with Santa: Tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s Arrival. Photos with Santa will begin soon after Santa’s sensational arrival at Merrick Park in front of City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way, and the lighting of the holiday tree. Santa will keep coming back to Merrick Park for more photos until December 23, on the following days: Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Weekends from 12 Noon to 10 p.m., December 17, 18, and 19 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and December 20, 21, 22, and 23, from 12 Noon to 10 p.m. Photos are $8 each, full color and framed in a postcard. Following the Tree Lighting Spectacular, the park will be open for general use until Jan. 4, 2019. 5-10 p.m., George Merrick Park, 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables.
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