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Get in the holiday spirit on holiday cruises and touring South Florida's most historic homes

Sun Sentinel

Even without snow, these once-a-year holiday displays at South Florida’s historic homes will help you get into the spirit of the season.

Holiday River Tours at Stranahan House Museum

Take a docent-led, Victorian Christmas-themed tour at Fort Lauderdale’s most historic address, followed by a chartered cruise along the New River to admire spectacular decorations along the waterfront.

Details: 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 16-23 at 335 SE Sixth Ave. Cost is $35, reservations required.

Info: 954-524-4736; StranahanHouse.org

Water Taxi Holiday Lights Cruises

Trace the route of the Winterfest Boat Parade and see spectacular waterside decorations along Millionaire’s Row on the 90-minute voyage on the New River and Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale. The double-decker boat has a full bar aboard so you can sip wine, beer and cocktails while enjoying the scenery as you meander along the waterway up to Oakland Park Boulevard and back.

Details: Departs nightly at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale behind the Riverside Hotel and Stranahan House. Cost is $30 for adults and $15 for children; 5 and under are free.

Info: 954-467-6677; Watertaxi.com/holiday-lights

Holiday Magic Tours at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Take a self-guided tour of the 35-acre estate built in 1920 on a secluded spot just off Fort Lauderdale beach. It’s a true South Florida treasure. Nightly entertainment is scheduled, including a concert by the the Yuletide Carolers outfitted in Victorian costumes on Dec. 7.

Details: Tours are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 1–7 at 900 N. Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale. Cost is $20 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for kids younger than 6.

Info: 954-563-5393; BonnetHouse.org

Holidays at Whitehall at Henry Morrison Flagler Museum

Once a year, the 100,000-square-foot mansion built in 1902 by the Florida East Coast Railway magnate opens for evening tours. Enjoy the 16-foot Christmas tree in the Grand Hall as holiday tunes play on the massive pipe organ, and learn about Gilded-Age Christmas traditions on a docent-led tour. There will be a lecture by Carlo DeVito on "Dickens & Twain: The Yuletide Writings and Traditions of the World's Greatest Writers” at 2 p.m. Dec. 2.

Details: Tours will be at 6:45, 7 and 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 19-20, and 6:45, 7, 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21-23 at 1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for kids younger than 18; advanced purchase is required.

Info: 561-655-2833; FlaglerMuseum.us

Holiday Evening at Vizcaya

The halls are decked as Vizcaya throws open its doors on Dec. 19 to members to celebrate the season. Listen to the custom 1917 pipe organ playing holiday music and wander the 24 rooms of the Italian-inspired masterpiece built by industrialist James Deering, who coincidentally moved in more than a century ago, on Dec. 25, 1916.

Details: 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 at 3251 S. Miami Ave., Miami. Cost is $55 and includes an annual membership; advanced purchase is required.

Info: 305-860-8423; Vizcaya.org

Historic holiday decor at the Deering Estate

The historic manse, built by Chicago industrialist Charles Deering (James’ brother), in 1900, is decked out in turn-of-the-century style by Alfredo Brito, the estate’s designer in residence, and other noted South Florida interior designers. Five rooms of the stone house are decorated in Gilded Age splendor while and the Richmond cottage evoked a pioneer holiday. There also will be a Festival of Trees evening stroll on Dec. 12.

Details: Tours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 4 (except Dec. 25) at 16701 SW 72 Ave., Miami. Cost is $15 for adults and $7 for children 4-14.

Info: 305-235-1668 ext. 233 or DeeringEstate.org.

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