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Thanksgiving-week fun stuff with the kids? Try these

Bill DeYoung



Enchant Christmas opens Friday at Tropicana Field. Photo provided.

Once the leftovers are packed away on refrigerator shelves, there’s still a whole lot of Thanksgiving weekend to spend with family and other loved ones.

If there are restless kids in the house, here are a few suggestions:

With the boys of summer enjoying their off-season, Tropicana Field undergoes its annual transition this week from baseball park to winter wonderland; it’s the closest St. Pete and the bay area are likely to get to those shivery, snowy holiday scenes on Hallmark cards and in sentimental old movies.

Enchant Christmas. Photo by Bill DeYoung.

Beginning Friday, all 10 indoor acres will be taken up by Enchant Christmas, a walking maze of light sculptures shaped like gigantic Yuletide trees, snowmen, gift boxes, elves, ornaments and other symbols of the season. There are 4 million lights in the place. And a 525-foot ice skating track. And a holiday gift and craft market.

The ceiling will be covered by a huge – we’re talking huge – blackout blanket embedded with “stars,” to transform the space into a nighttime experience.

The thermostat is set at 72 degrees, just chilly enough to complete the illusion. Then there’s the nonstop Christmas music.

Originating in Canada, Enchant is set up simultaneously in several American cities. It’s been coming to St. Pete, and the Trop, since 2019 (with a year off, for obvious reasons, in 2020). There’s a “Kids Zone” for little ones and their parents, and this year’s interactive activity for children is called “Reindeer Games.” The company has also added a Holiday Song Competition for aspiring singers.

Mayor Ken Welch will officially open Enchant’s 2023 season at 6 p.m. Friday (Nov. 24), and light the 100-foot “everwhite” Christmas tree at the center of it all. Hours that day are 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Enchant Christmas will be open daily through Dec. 31. For details, tickets and more, visit the website here.

Enchant Christmas. Photo provided.

Miguel y musica

“Coco.” Image: Disney/Pixar.

In Disney/Pixar’s 2017 animated musical Coco, an aspiring young singer/guitar player named Miguel goes on a journey to unlock his family’s true history, which includes an inexplicable ban on music. The story takes Miguel through the Land of the Dead, where he meets up with a jolly trickster named Hector and begins to figure stuff out.

Imagery for what Disney describes as a “vibrant tale of family, fun and adventure” was inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday.

Twice on Saturday (1 and 6 p.m.), the stylish Coco will be screened in Ferguson Hall, at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The music (by Oscar-winning Michael Giacchino) will be performed live-to-film by the 20-piece Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México, conducted by Esin Aydingoz.

Coco was massively popular in its first run, grossing $814.3 million at the box office.

For tickets and other information, visit the Straz Center website.

Zubrick Magic Theatre. Photo provided.

And more

St. Petersburg’s year-round house of illusion, Zubrick Magic Theatre, is extremely popular with families. Chris and Ryan Zubrick are world-renowned magicians, and their 90-seat theater on 1st Avenue N. is state-of-the-art.

Tickets for holiday weekend shows tend to go fast – see what’s what on the Zubrick website.

It’s a bit ahead of the calendar curve (taking place this Tuesday, pre-Thanksgiving) but there’s always lights and dazzle a-plenty at Cirque Dreams Holidaze, which visits the Mahaffey Theater (in St. Pete) annually.

It’s a 90-minute musical whirlwind combining aerial circus acts, jugglers, singers, dancers, singing and dancing penguins, toy soldiers, reindeer, ornaments, gingerbread men and the like, loosely based on the story of The Nutcracker.

(Not to be confused with Cirque du Soleil.)

Find info and tickets for the Nov. 21 performance here.





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