Let’s face it – the weather in Florida is usually far from frightful, and many Floridians need to “chill out” from the palm trees and sunshine in order to get in the holiday spirit. Though we may have to outwit Mother Nature to do it, many venues have found a way to “let it snow” in the Sunshine State. So if you’re on a quest to meet Frosty, long for a good old-fashioned snowball fight or just want to experience a winter wonderland, you’re a one-tank trip away from a blizzard of holiday memories. Just don’t forget to bundle up before heading out:
Now Snowing: Celebration Town Center in Celebration (near Kissimmee)
Official description: Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event is a month long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, community performers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train, and nightly snowfall at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Snowfall and events every night through December 31 (including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve).
SnowWorld® presented by Coca Cola®: Busch Gardens in Tampa
Official description: This year, SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola® brings real snow back to Florida during Christmas Town at Busch Gardens® Tampa!
- Expanded Snow Play and Target Practice: There’s plenty of soft white snow falling daily during Christmas Town. Lay, roll, leap and dive in to an expanded Snow Play area at SnowWorld. Take part in Christmastime traditions like building a snowman with friends, or spread your wings as you form snow angels in the fresh snow. And with an expanded target practice area, you can pack the perfect snow balls and test your aim.
- NEW Snow Slides: Looking to take your holiday excitement to new heights? This is your chance. This year, SnowWorld Presented by Coca-Cola® treats you to eight snow slides, each as “cool” as the next. As you work your way to the top of the slide, you’ll quickly notice it’s bigger and better than ever! At the top, climb aboard and glide to the bed of snow waiting below.
Snowfest: Golden Gate Community Park in Naples
This one-day event takes place on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Snowfest features 100 tons of snow with attractions including toboggan hills, ski hills and snow mountains for climbing. The event also features an ice-skating rink, carnival and other family-friendly activities.
Islamorada Holiday Festival: Founders Park in Islamorada (Florida Keys)
Official description: The Islamorada Chamber of Commerce is promising snow for the 9th Annual Holiday Festival, set for Friday, December 6, from 4–10 p.m. at Founders Park. Throughout the evening, Islamorada’s 35-foot high official holiday tree will be blowing magical snow through its branches. Meanwhile, the famous Holiday Festival Snow Mountain, made from 20 tons of the cold white stuff, is sure to be the hit of the evening, bringing squeals of cheer from the mitten-clad children.
Snow Fest: RDV Sportsplex Ice Den in Maitland
Official description: Snow Fest is a one-day event to kick off the holiday season where participants can ice skate, play in the snow, enjoy the kid snow slide, play in the Bounce Houses, listen to DJs, and get their faces painted. There will also be falling snow in the Olympic rink during the event, which takes place December 14 from 2-6 p.m.
ICE! ™ featuring Frosty The Snowman: Gaylord Palms in Orlando
Official description: Join Frosty, everyone's favorite snowman, and his friends on their quest to the North Pole in a colorfully frozen retelling of this original Christmas classic! ICE!™ features more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures featuring Frosty the Snowman, presented by Pepsi, including four ICE! slides.
NEW in 2013, you'll enjoy a bonus area featuring"Artisans in Action – a LIVE ice carving zone! Take a fun journey through the Frostbite Factory and watch a masterful ice carver from Harbin, China up close as he creates amazing sculptures before your eyes. Your awe-inspiring experience concludes with the wonder and majesty of the Nativity scene in ice. It's all part of Christmas at Gaylord Palms!
Note: be forewarned – the temperature is 9 degrees, so dress accordingly. ICE!™ is open daily through January 5, 2014.
Make your own fake snow: your yard, your house!
Can’t get to one of these events? No problem – rent or buy a fake snow machine and you’ll be the hit of the neighborhood (with the kids, at least) when you send flakes flying through the air in your yard.
Know of any other Sunshine State fun-in-the-snow holiday activities?