`Tis the season for a new family tradition! This weekend, Busch Gardens Tampa is launching the biggest Christmas celebration ever. Christmas Town transforms the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests’ senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and creating a beautiful new tradition for Tampa’s families. What’s even better than that? A portion of the proceeds from Christmas Town will benefit All Children’s Hospital here in the Bay area.
For the first time in the park’s 53-year history, visitors to Christmas Town will experience all-new evening attractions, shows and shopping from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, Nov. 30 through Dec. 23.
And while Christmas Town will introduce guests to all new experiences, guests will also have the opportunity to ride some of Busch Gardens’ most popular roller coasters, including Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra and Gwazi. The special event includes attractions exclusive to the nighttime experience:
- SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola® brings real snow to Florida! Make s snowman, snow angel or just play in the soft white snow. Pack the perfect snow balls and test your aim at the target practice area. Spinning Coca-Cola® bottles and light-up noise targets will entertain kids of all ages.
- All aboard the Christmas Town Express for the biggest Christmas carol sing-a-long on wheels. Friends and family are invited join in singing traditional songs of the season like “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while circling the park on a beautifully lit vintage-style steam locomotive.
- The Claus family invites you into their North Pole home at Welcome to Santa’s House. While the elves are busy preparing for Christmas, Mrs. Claus is in the kitchen baking holiday treats, but even Santa himself will take a break from his busy holiday schedule to meet and take photos with families in his private study.
- Straight from the South Pole, Penguin Point has brought a bit of ice and snow all the way to Florida! Come chill with these dapper little creatures and marvel at their underwater antics at the penguin habitat, located near Candy Cane Lane in the Nairobi area.
Even Busch Gardens’ most familiar fans will barely recognize the portions of the park that convert to Christmas Town through special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights:
- Celebration Village brings together the rich, warm colors of Christmas and heartfelt voices lifted in song to welcome guests as they enter Christmas Town. Draped in jewel-tone ornaments and glowing lights, the Moroccan Village comes alive with local choirs in the Marrakesh Theater and shops full of holiday gifts.
- Family and friends will cozy up to brave the chill in the air along Ice Wonder Way. The frozen pathway sparkles and shimmers in the night as snowflakes dance down the front of the Moroccan Palace, welcoming guest for special performances of the all-new Christmas Town ice show.
- Wild colors, exotic decorations and intricate animal patterns create the kind of Christmas found only in nature! Stretching along the Cheetah Hunt walkway, Jungle Jubilee welcomes guests to Florida’s only triple-launch coaster and the iconic Crown Colony restaurant, featuring special holiday fare and the new Carol of the Bells light show.
- Just around the bend, Candy Cane Lane gives Christmas Town a peppermint twist. Red and white lights twinkle in the trees throughout the Nairobi area, calling to mind the beloved Christmas confection and pointing guests down the path to the Christmas Town Express and Santa’s House.
- Experience the humble magnificence of that first Christmas night and remember the real “reason for the season” and along Miracle Way. Guests will marvel at a topiary representation of the Holy Nativity and illuminated angels, set along the Stanleyville Bridge in the warm glow of Christmas lights and sacred holiday music.
- Christmas has come to Sesame Street! Elmo and his friends are all dressed up in their holiday best at Sesame Street Season of Fun, ready to pose for pictures and plenty of hugs with kids of all ages who stop by to wish them a funny, furry Christmas.
- When it’s warm in December and there’s more sand than snow, celebrate a Floridian Christmas with a touch of the tropics in the Enchanted Flamingo Valley. Guests will be “thinking pink” as they encounter decorated palm trees and a flock of festive flamingos created from thousands of twinkling pink lights.
- Christmas is in full bloom along Poinsettia Parkway, where guests can lose themselves among hundreds of the traditional holiday flowers and feast their senses on delicious holiday treats.
- On your way to play in the snow, stop by Jingle Bell Junction and climb aboard a pint-sized train for a holly-jolly ride designed especially for young guests, located at the crossroads of Christmas Town in Gwazi Plaza.
- Guests can find the perfect holiday gift or indulge in a delicious seasonal treat as they explore Christmas Town Village. Set along the Gwazi Park walkway, tiny Christmas cabins will scent the air with seasonal treats like apple pies and strudels, gingerbread cookies, eggnog and roasting nuts, as well as a delicious array of flavored popcorns, roasted nuts, waffles with ice cream, fruit-filled crepes, rustic sandwiches, homemade potato chips and Starbucks coffees and hot chocolate.
- Enjoy a nostalgic white Christmas – in Florida! – in Christmas Town Park. Guests can experience real, frozen snowdrifts in SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola®, meander among quaint cabin shops, pose for pictures with strolling snowmen, and finish off the night with an exclusive concert with the Grammy Award-winning group Jars of Clay.
Guests who have come to love Busch Gardens’ traditional holiday shows will still be able to see Christmas on Ice, Christmas from the Heart and Christmas Celebration during the day. But at Christmas Town, new shows and surprise guests who will provide a very special evening of family-friendly entertainment:
- Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian artists Jars of Clay will provide an uplifting finale each evening with an exclusive concert in Gwazi Park. Performing both original hits and holiday favorites, the group will send guests on their way with music in their hearts and the spirit of Christmas in their souls.
- Jimmy Osmond’s Christmas Jukebox features Jimmy Osmond and his family singing favorite Christmas tunes and sharing special holiday memories each night in the Stanleyville Theater. In the true spirit of Christmas, Busch Gardens is joining Jimmy in his work with the Children’s Miracle Network, and will be making a donation to local Tampa Bay-area kids in need at All Children’s Hospital.
- World-class skaters will bring to life favorite Christmas songs both traditional and contemporary, in a cool, all-new angel-inspired ice show,Angels of Peace: A Christmas Journey on Ice, produced especially for Christmas Town by the creators of Christmas on Ice and Iceploration.
- Busch Gardens’ Crown Colony House restaurant sets the stage for a stunning ballet of music and light each night under the stars. The Carol of the Bells features tens of thousands of Christmas lights covering the façade of the stately building, set in motion to a choreographed presentation of stirring seasonal songs.
For those who can’t wait to get their night at Christmas Town started, guests are invited to pull up a chair at Mrs. Claus’ Family Feast for a special evening filled with stories, songs, a delicious buffet of traditional holiday fare, plenty of opportunities for holiday hugs and photos with Mrs. Claus and her favorite elves, and exclusive no-wait access to Welcome to Santa’s House and Snow Wonderland after dinner.
“When Christmas Town opens this weekend, it will be the beginning of a unique holiday tradition for Tampa Bay area,” says Jim Dean, Busch Gardens Tampa’s park president. “We are creating a season-long celebration for family and friends unlike any other event our guests have ever seen – the kind of Christmas fun only Busch Gardens can provide.”
Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and regular daytime admission is not required or included. General admission for Christmas Town is $39.99 plus tax. Busch Gardens annual pass members will receive the deepest discounts with advance online priced at $24.99 for adults and $9.99 for children, and special offers are available for guests wishing to upgrade their paid daily admission to Busch Gardens. Gift cards are available at Bay area Publix locations and additional discounts are offered through promotional codes from Chik Fil-A, Coca-Cola at Wal-Mart and Fantastic Sam’s. Families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy a special advance-purchase price of $9.99 for their youngest members.
Christmas Town will also offer some magnificent new opportunities for groups looking to book a unique holiday party. For details, call the Busch Gardens Events Team at (813) 987-5523.
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