Tampa, FL, USA — Last year, Busch Gardens® Tampa launched their biggest Christmas celebration ever, and this year, Christmas Town has even more in store. This year, Christmas Town has more snow, even more event nights and more than a million twinkling lights. Christmas Town transforms the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintry surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests’ senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and continuing a beautiful tradition for Tampa’s families. A portion of the proceeds from Christmas Town this year will benefit All Children’s Hospital here in the Bay area.
Christmas Town is open 18 select nights from 6 to 11 p.m., Nov. 29 through Dec. 23.
NEW THIS YEAR! This year’s event also introduces Discovery Dollars, a new cashless wristband that can be preloaded with cash or linked to a credit card. Dollars can be used at merchandise and dining locations around Christmas Town. Guests who set up accounts with cash can visit Guest Relations upon their exit to have unspent money returned. Unclaimed monies will be donated to SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.
And while Christmas Town brings exclusive Yuletide 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:
- This year, SnowWorld® Presented by Coca-Cola® brings real snow back to Florida. This guest favorite is bigger than ever for even more snow-filled fun. Slide down eight new slides, make a snowman, play in the soft white snow or pack the perfect snow balls to test your aim in the target practice area.
- 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 Serengeti 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, the Christmas Town penguins have 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 newly expanded Penguin Point, complete with a giant penguin photo opportunity 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 more than one million twinkling Christmas lights:
- NEW! Enjoy a trip back in time to celebrate Christmas in the good ‘ole days in Holiday Hills. In this nostalgic town, a live brass band sets the mood for seasonal fun with everyone’s favorite Christmas tunes while Mrs. Claus cooks up delicious holiday fare for the whole family at Mrs. Claus’s Family Feast.
- NEW! Journey into Jungala to see a nature-inspired Christmas, including a new tree light show in Christmas Time Terrace. A larger-than-life Christmas tree comes alive every fifteen minutes with spectacular dancing lights. The breathtaking light show on this 40-foot tree is the perfect place for this year’s family photo.
- NEW! Sneak a kiss with your sweetheart in the beautiful garden walkway of Mistletoe Memories. Here, romantic topiaries, flowers and sparkling white twinkle lights fill the trees overhead and set the scene for sweet moments with loved ones and beautiful photos worth cherishing.
- 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 brilliant white garland wraps the front of the Moroccan Palace, welcoming guests for special performances of Angels of Peace: A Christmas Journey on Ice.
- 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 Carol of the Bells light show.
- Experience the humble magnificence of that first Christmas night and remember the real “reason for the season” 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! Meet Elmo, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Zoe and Abby for photos and plenty of hugs for a funny, furry Christmas in Sesame Street A Very Furry Christmas at Busch Gardens. Stick around to see the characters in the all-new, heartwarming show Elmo’s Christmas Wish.
- 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 traditional holiday flowers that set the scene for breathtaking pictures. Make a family memory in front of an enormous tree made entirely of beautiful red poinsettias.
- On your way to seasonal shops, delicious treats or to play in the snow, stop by Jingle Bell Junction and step into a larger-than-life-sized greeting card for fun family memories beneath a thousand dazzling Christmas lights, located at the crossroads of Christmas Town in Gwazi® Plaza.
- Explore Christmas Town Village’s quaint holiday cabins while shopping for the perfect gift and indulge in a delicious seasonal treat like hot chocolate, waffles with ice cream, warm-baked cookies and rustic sandwiches along the Gwazi® Park walkway. Kids can climb aboard the Jingle Bell Express, a pint-sized train for a holly-jolly ride.
- Steps away from the playful flock at Penguin Point, bright and colorful lights line the pathway and fill every branch of every tree surrounding the North Pole. Savor holiday treats and sights as your family prepares to meet the big man himself on the way to Welcome to Santa’s House.
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 will provide a very special evening of family-friendly entertainment:
- NEW! Join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe and everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends in Christmas Town’s all-new show, Elmo’s Christmas Wish. Sing and dance along with Elmo as he makes a Christmas wish to Santa and learns the meaning behind Christmas.
- NEW! Christmas Time Tree Show brings a larger-than-life Christmas tree alive every fifteen minutes with spectacular dancing lights.
- NEW! Join the adventure as everyone’s favorite Madagascar friends including Gloria, Alex, King Julien and the penguins go on a vacation with a Christmas twist in Madagascar Live! Operation: Christmas Vacation. Fun and colorful holographic ornaments fill the trees overhead on the plaza pathway leading to this all-new show.
- World-class skaters will bring to life favorite Christmas songs both traditional and contemporary, in a cool, 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.
- Local church choirs, school choruses and professional performance groups from around Florida raise their voices in joy and fill the Marrakesh Theater with song and Christmas cheer in the Hallelujah Showcase. Performance groups will change nightly and feature traditional, classic and new holiday ballads and favorites.
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. Space is limited for this exclusive dining experience and reservations must be made in advance at ChristmasTown.com
“Christmas Town is a unique holiday tradition for Tampa Bay-area families,” says Jim Dean, Busch Gardens Tampa’s park president. “We’ve 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.