Holiday fun: Where to get into the spirit of the Christmas season

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Santa’s Enchanted Forest
Daily through Jan. 5; 5 p.m.-midnight
7000 SW 40th St., Miami
This place takes holiday cheer seriously. So much so that this Christmas themed amusement park is open even on Christmas Day with its 100 rides, shows, games, attractions, festive music, live entertainment and of course, millions of dazzling lights to get the holiday mood right.

Winter Wonder Island
Daily through Jan. 5; 6-10 p.m.
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami
Jungle Island lights up the evening with a wonderland of winter fun including a playground complete with snow for a little chilly fun. Enjoy the holiday-themed lights, activities, laser light show and photos with Santa Claus. Tickets are $19.95-$24.95 at

Zoo Lights
Dec. 20-30; 7-10 p.m.
12400 SW 152nd St., Miami
Head to Zoo Miami for a brilliant display of lights in animal shapes located throughout the park while holiday music plays and the hot chocolate is flowing. Guests can take a spin on the carousel, “ice skate” and have a picture taken with Santa Claus. General admission is $5 per person and includes a pair of 3D glasses that will make the experience more intense.

George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”
Dec. 20-Jan 5
Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami (Dec. 20-24); Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach (Dec. 27-30); Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale (Jan. 3-5)
Miami is lousy with productions of “The Nutcracker” this time of year, but for this annual tradition, investing in the Miami City Ballet’s production will always be worth the bucks. The spectacular sets, the beautiful costumes, and the Company’s graceful dancers bring this beloved Christmas classic to life like no one else. Tickets are between $25-$79 at

Santa vs. Satan
Dec. 20; 11 p.m.
O Cinema, 90 NW 29th St., Miami
The battle between good and evil puts Santa and his trusty sidekick Merlin the Magician at odds with the scheming Devil who will stop at nothing to ruin Christmas. So goes “Santa Claus,” the 1959 Mexican film that once was a favorite with the kids and now is a cult classic for the inebriated. Catch it at O Cinema on Friday, tickets are $9.

Story Time with Santa
Dec. 21; 10 a.m.-noon
16701 SW 72nd Ave., Miami
Santa takes some time out of his busy schedule to host a story time for the kids at the historic Stone House Ballroom next to the beautiful 16-foot Christmas tree at the Deering Estate. Guests can take their own photos with Santa (no additional fee) or take a professional photo. After story-time, children can participate in holiday arts & crafts activities. The cost is $12 for adults, $7 for children (ages 4-14), free for Deering Estate Foundation Members.

Brother Jimmy’s Santacon
Dec. 21; noon-8 p.m.
900 S. Miami Ave., Miami
If your children are wondering why there is a brigade of Santa Clauses stumbling around Brickell, thank Santacon, an annual bar crawl where participants must dress like the Jolly Old Elf as they wander between watering holes. Ten bars are participating, the first drink is on the house. The fun starts at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, where there will be all manner of revelry in the name of charity like Toys for Shots (bring a new, unwrapped toy and receive complimentary shots at Brother Jimmy’s). Cost for participants is $20.

The Holiday Express
Dec. 21; 6-9 p.m.
12450 S.W. 152nd St., Miami
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum hosts an evening with Santa Claus, holiday activities, bounce houses, games and face painting plus a chance for the kids to ride around on the trains. Admission is $10, but ride passes for the trains are $13-$19.

Handel’s Messiah 
Dec. 21; 8 p.m.
First United Methodist Church, 536 Coral Way, Coral Gables
Seraphic Fire performs Handel’s “Messiah,” the glorious staple of the choral-orchestral repertoire with highlights like “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and the magnificent “Hallelujah Chorus.” The two-time Grammy Award-nominated vocal ensemble continues its South Florida holiday tradition with its annual performance of Handel’s magnum opus to sell out crowds. Tickets are $65 at

Brother Jimmy’s Ugly Sweater/Karaoke party
Dec. 25; 7 p.m.-midnight
900 S. Miami Ave., Miami
Tis’ the season to sing and be tacky! Don we now our ugly Christmas sweaters to celebrate the holiday season at Brother Jimmy’s Ugly Christmas sweater karaoke party. Ladies drink $2 Miller Lites, well drinks, and frozen margaritas from 7 p.m.-midnight.