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Last chance for Polar Express, Santa photos for families this weekend

Jennifer Jhon
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Parenting

This weekend is your last chance to ride the Polar Express in Miami or take a photo with Santa at many malls throughout South Florida. It is also the last weekend for many holiday shows.

With Christmas Eve on Sunday, many places will be closing early, so check times before you go. On Christmas Day, a number of family-friendly venues will be open, including Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale, Santa’s Enchanted Forest theme park and the Frost Museum of Science in Miami, so families can get out and enjoy the day.

To help families enjoy the weekend, we’re put together a list of the top kid-friendly events in South Florida.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest, through Jan. 7. Enjoy a holiday theme park with rides, shows, games, displays and more from 5 p.m. to midnight every night, including Christmas Eve, at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St., Miami. Single day $33.64, $24.30 for ages 3-9. SantasEnchantedForest.com

The Polar Express Train Ride, through Sunday. Take a 50-minute round-trip journey to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate, treats, Christmas carols and a reading of “The Polar Express” story. Chefs aboard each car also lead passengers in singing Christmas carols. Santa will board to greet each child and present them with a special gift. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride. $42.80-$74.90. Gold Coast Railroad Museum, 12450 SW 152nd St., Miami. gcrm.org

Chinese Lantern Festival at Central Broward Regional Park, through Jan. 15. See hundreds of hand-crafted animal-shaped lanterns, set the kids loose in the interactive dinosaur park, enjoy martial arts demonstrations and watch Chinese folk artists creating their works by hand starting at 5:30 p.m. each night at Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 NW 11th Place, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets start at $21 online, $12.50 for ages 4-12. ChineseLanternFestival.com

Hoffman's Chocolates Winter Wonderland and Panthers in Palm Beach Ice Skating Rink, through Dec. 30. The free Winter Wonderland light display at Hoffman’s Chocolate Factory at 5190 Lake Worth Road in Greenacres is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, through Dec. 30. The Ice Rink is open Monday through Friday from 3 to 10 p.m and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., except Christmas Day. The rink will close at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Skating is $15 per hour, skates included. hoffmans.com/winterwonderland

Panthers in the Park Ice Skating Rink, through Jan. 7. Skate on real ice under a clear tent at the park at 32 E. Las Olas Blvd. in downtown Fort Lauderdale from 3 to 10 p.m. weekdays and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends. The rink closes at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and is closed Christmas Day. Skating is $15 per hour, skates included. nhl.com/panthers/community/panthersinthepark

Photos with Santa, through Dec. 24. Take photos with Santa at all Simon malls, including:Miami International Mall, 1455 NW 107th Ave. in Doral; Dadeland Mall, 7535 N. Kendall Drive in Miami; The Falls, 8888 SW 136th St. ion Miami; Coral Square Mall, 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd. in Coral Springs; and Town Center at Boca Raton, 6000 Glades Road. simon.com There’s also photos with Santa through Dec. 24 at Pompano Citi Centre, at the southwest corner of Federal Highway and Copans Road, Pompano Beach (pompanociticentre.com); The Gardens Mall, 3101 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens (thegardensmall.com); Palm Beach Outlets, 1751 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. in West Palm Beach (palmbeachoutlets.com); Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12th St. in Miami (shopdolphinmall.com); and Bass Pro Shops in Dania Beach and Miami (bassproshops.com).

Water Taxi Holiday Lights Tour, through Saturday. Enjoy holiday lights on the water, live entertainment, holiday carols, free popcorn and more. Adults, $25; ages 5-12, $11. 6-7:30 p.m. and 8-9:30 p.m., departing from 1881 SE 17th St. Causeway, Fort Lauderdale. watertaxi.com

Live Like Bella Nights Of Lights, through Jan. 1. Enjoy rides, Christmas music, storytelling, pony rides and holiday treats nightly through Jan. 1, including Christmas, from 6 to 9 p.m. at 11000 S. Red Road, Miami. $5 per person; kids under 2, free. pinecrestgardens.org

Margate Holiday Fair, through Dec. 31. Games, carnival rides, food, shows and attractions until 11 p.m. or midnight each night at the old Swap Shop property at U.S. 441 and Margate Boulevard. Fair opens at noon Saturday and Sunday and at 5 p.m. weekdays. $3-$5 admission; ride wristbands $25. margatenews.net

The Polar Express, Friday. Free family activities such as trackless train rides, “snow,” hair braids and coloring by Snipedy Do Dahs and kids crafts, starting at 5 p.m. at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real in Boca Raton. Come in pajamas for a showing of “The Polar Express” movie at 6:30 p.m. Pizza, popcorn, hot chocolate and other concessions will be available for purchase. Bring your own blankets and chairs, or rent chairs for $5 each (cash only). myboca.us

Zoo Lights, Friday, Saturday and Dec. 26-30. Snowman’s River boat rides, hot chocolate and cookies, photos with Santa and the zoo squad, holiday music and half a million animal-shaped lights await visitors from 7 to 10 p.m. at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami. $9.95. zoomiami.org/Zoo_Lights_2017

Symphony of Lights, Friday and Saturday. Enjoy free light shows every hour on the hour, jugglers, stilt walkers, face painters, train rides and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 6-10 p.m. at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach. gulfstreampark.com

Movie In The Park: Holiday Edition, Friday. Bring blankets and chairs to watch “Home Alone” at 6 p.m. at Memorial Park, 9001 SW 51st St., Cooper City. Free. coopercityfl.org

Broward Library holiday events, Friday and Saturday. Decorate a stocking and fill it with free candy at the Collier City Library, 2800 NW Ninth Court, Pompano Beach, from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday. Then Saturday, make free cards for the holidays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Northwest Regional Library, 3151 N. University Drive, Coral Springs. Then stick around for a holiday party with sweet treats, music and gift raffles. Free. 1:30-3 p.m. Northwest Regional Library, 3151 N. University Drive, Coral Springs. 954-357-7990

Garden Of Lights Show, Friday and Saturday. Decorations, a light show set to music and other festivities from 5 to 8 p.m. at Flamingo Gardens, 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie. $9.95; ages 3-11, $6.45. flamingogardens.org

Zoo Lights, Friday and Saturday. Snowman’s River boat rides, hot chocolate and cookies, photos with Santa and the zoo squad, holiday music and half a million animal-shaped lights from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 15-16, 22-23, 26-30 at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami. $9.95 per person. zoomiami.org/Zoo_Lights_2017

Breakfast With Santa, Saturday. Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet, animal encounters, photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus, face painting, a take-home gift, and complimentary rides on the Wildlife Carousel. 8:30 a.m. Palm Beach Zoo, 1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach. palmbeachzoo.org/breakfast-with-santa-2017

Regal Theaters’ holiday classic film “Gremlins,” Saturday. Regal theaters throughout South Florida are showing classic holiday films at noon Saturday $5. Also, Regal Crown Club members can get a $5 medium popcorn and soft drink combo. Saturday’s film is “Gremlins.” regmovies.com/promotions/holiday-classics-series

Santa’s Little Helpers, Saturday. Animal train, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, snow mound and holiday crafts from 2 to 5 p.m. at Flamingo Gardens, 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie. Stay for Garden of Lights Show from 5-8 p.m. Regular admission applies. flamingogardens.org

Holiday Fantasy Of Lights, through Jan. 1. Drive through three miles of holiday displays and illuminated trees from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly at Tradewinds Park & Stables, 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek. $16 per car; $3 for three pairs of holiday 3-D glasses. holidaylightsdrivethru.co

A Rockapella Christmas, Friday. Hear the touring a cappella group at 7 p.m. at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Drive. $30.74-$41.34. thecentercs.com/events/detail/a-rockapella-christmas

Christmas Wonderland The Holiday Show, Friday. Yuletide jubilee of festive tunes, singers, dancers, chorus girls and Santa Claus at 8 p.m. at Dreyfoos Concert Hall, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets from $25. Kravis.org/events/bdwychristmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage, Saturday. Live-action performance of Charles M. Schulz’s Christmas story at 1 and 4 p.m. at Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets from $18. Kravis.org/events/charliebrown

The Snow Queen, Saturday. A musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story in which Gerda must save her friend Kay from the Snow Queen’s enchantment. Presented by Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Willow Theatre, Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton. $8; $6 ages 12 and under; includes juice and cookies after the show. Willowtheatre.org

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, Saturday. Stage performance of the animated TV special at 3 and 7 p.m. at Charles F. Dodge City Center, 601 SW City Center Way, Pembroke Pines. $27-100. Pembrokepinescitycenter.org/events

Cirque du Soleil’s “Volta,” through Feb. 4. See the incredible new Cirque show in a big top tent at Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Drive, in Miami Gardens. $40-$295. CirqueDuSoleil.com/Volta

“The Secret Garden,” through Dec. 31. The touching musical about a young girl in England is performed in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. $47-$60. BrowardCenter.org

School of Rock – the Musical,” through Sunday. The movie-turned-stage-show is performed at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. $30-$160. BrowardCenter.org

Frost Science Museum, Monday. The amazing Frost Science is open Christmas Day and Frost Science visitors can enjoy their first hour of parking at the onsite parking garage for free through Jan. 1. Museum members get an additional free hour in the garage during the promotion. The discount is only available at the onsite facility parking garage. Frost Science is at 1101 Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami. frostscience.org

editor@sfparenting.com, jjhon@sunsentinel.com, 954-574-5316 or Twitter @sfparenting

ALSO

Broward County events

Palm Beach County events

Miami-Dade County events

Fairs & Festivals

Theater, Shows & Concerts

South Florida Exhibits

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