An abundance of holiday cheer opens Friday at Busch Gardens.
The second annual Christmas Town will turn the Tampa theme park into a holiday wonderland.
The event includes more than a million twinkling lights, real snow, live Christmas carolers, holiday treats from Mrs. Claus and lots of wintery surprises.
This year there are several new features to Christmas Town including Mistletoe Memories, the perfect photo opportunity for a sweet kiss with your sweetheart; the Christmas Tree Terrace has a larger-than-life Christmas tree that “comes alive” every 15 minutes with dancing lights; and “Elmo’s Christmas Wish,” a sing-and-dance-along show where the furry Muppet is tickled to learn the real meaning of the holiday.
Here are some numbers from Busch Gardens that put the size of the holiday spectacle into perspective:
♦ 6,000 candy canes are used to make Christmas Town specialty drinks; that’s enough to cover the length of the 2,800-foot-long Sky Ride.
♦ 350 Christmas trees adorn the 300-acre park.
♦ 108,000 cubic feet of snow fill SnowWorld; that’s enough to make 3,000 6-foot snowmen.
♦ 30,000 cookies are freshly-baked for Christmas Town. When stacked, they would be the height of five SheiKra roller coasters.
♦ 1,000,000 + lights illuminate Christmas Town.
♦ 17,000 poinsettias transform Poinsettia Parkway.
Christmas Town will be held 6 to 11 p.m. on 18 select nights through Dec. 23. A new unlimited admission ticket for the full-run of the event costs $89 adults and $29 children. General admission is $60 adults, $20 children. Busch Gardens is at 10165 N Malcolm McKinley Drive; www.buschgardens.com