December on Siesta Key

What a packed schedule of events this month!

Not only do we have the usual stuff going on (tree lightings, museum events, symphony shows, church choir performances) but we also have family from both sides coming to FL this year to visit. 

Here’s a list of things you can do while you’re here in Sarasota this December:

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: SANTA JAWS, December 6 from 12pm-2pm www.mote.org for info.

GWIZ: Toy Drive for Mothers Helping Mothers: Starting December 2 10am-5pm everyday until December 15th.  Bring your unwrapped gift to the front admissions desk.   Mothers Helping Mothers helps those who have fallen through the cracks by providing necessities like cribs, baby supplies, clothes and some financial assistance. They are an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to helping Sarasota’s families in need.

Also at GWIZ (my favorite kind of holiday fun): 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Building Competition December 20, 12pm-3pm.   Join G.WIZ for a tasty way to show off your engineering and architectural skills by creating a spectacular gingerbread house from graham crackers! Feel free to bring in your own creative and edible materials! $6 per family team.  www.gwiz.org for info.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Selby Lights in Bloom (we went last year and it was awesome).  December 11-14, December 18-21, and December 26-28 from 6pm-9pm.  Their Family Night activities are scheduled for December 13 & 20 featuring Santa, cookie decorating, face painting and other kid’s activities.  www.selby.org for info.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens:    Celebrate the 5th Annual Holiday Lights and Jungle Nights at Sarasota Jungle Gardens! Ten acres of lights will sparkle and dance and bring cheer to all who visit.  The 65 lighted displays range from season traditional to exotic animals like macaws and lemurs.Don’t miss the 21 foot three-dimensional holiday tree with over 4,000 lights and a 17 foot elephant in the Open Gardens!

Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be available for purchase to the adults by Bella Cucina. Holiday music will be provided by “Just Judy” for children’s entertainment. A snowball toss, marshmallow roast, and visits from Santa add to the festivities.  Check their website for dates and times: www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

Ringling Museum: December 4 6pm-9pm  Holiday Splendor to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program covering Manatee and Sarasota counties.  For more info go to their website:   http://www.ringling.org/special_event3.asp?id=2084   Also Breakfast with Santa, December 13 at 9am.  Reservations are requred – please call 941/358-3180 for yours.

The Nutcracker Ballet:  Florida Ballet Arts Academy Ensemble presents The Nutcracker at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple St.;  Sat., Dec. 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm and Sun., Dec. 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm
For tickets call (941) 955-3422.

Phillippi Arts & Crafts Festival: December 6 & 7 from 10am-4pm

Sandy Claws Beach Run on Siesta Key: December 13 at 7am.  From the website: The 32nd Annual Sandy Claws Beach Run will take place on 12/13. Registration begins at 7am. One mile fun run is at 8am. 5K is at 8:20 am. Pre-registration deadline is December 5. Pre-registration fee is $18 per adult and $15 per child. Race Day registration fee is $25. 5K age groups: 9 & under, 10-12, 13-15, 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94, 95-99, 100 & over, Masters & Grandmasters Awards to overall male & female. Awards to age group winners 1st-3rd place. Ribbons to age group winners 4th-6th place. Register by calling Twin Lakes Park at 941-861-7275 or online at www.parksonline.scgov.net.

Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: December 13.  Starts at the southern end of Longboat Key and ends at Marina Jack.  If you can’t make it, catch it live on Channel 6, SNN.

Sarasota Holiday Parade: December 6 at 7pm along Main Street in Downtown Sarasota.

Holiday Night on St Armand’s Circle is December 5 at 6pm with a tree lighting.

The Florida West Coast Symphony has a list of various performances this month.  A family concert “Home for the Holidays” on December 6 at Van Wezel PAH; “Mozart and Mahler” on December 12, 13 & 14, at Van Wezel PAH; and a celebration of holiday cheer on December 17, 18, 19 & 20, Holley Hall.  For more info: www.sarasotaorchestra.org.

And our favorite: driving through Siesta Key and neighboring areas to look at the lights at night.  If you’re coming to Siesta Key, drive over the north bridge (Siesta Drive).  There should be a great display of lights to your left.  Stop off in the parking lot just over the bridge and take a look.  You’ll want to drive through the Village and then down Beach Rd south to Midnight Pass and Turtle Beach.  The resorts have done a nice job showing off their lights. 

Other activities can be found at the Sarasota County Government website calendar of events: www.scgov.net

There are so many  other things going this month.  Hope you find something to enjoy.  Have a Merry Christmas.

Sarasota Events

I just picked up the Fall 2008-Winter 2009 Events and Facilities Guide for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation.  You can get them at any of the public libraries.  If you’re not here yet, check it out on line at www.scgov.net/parks.  On the left side of that page scroll down to the Sarasota County Links and click Parks and Recreation.  You’ll see the book cover and a link to open the PDF file.

There are a ton of events in the county during the Fall and Winter when the snowbirds are here and need things to do.  It’s my favorite time, too, although since I homeschool the boys I can’t make it to all the activities I’d like.  But I picked out a few of my favorites:  Caspersen Beach Walk (I can take the boys on a nature walk aka science class), Brown Bag Concerts at Phillippi Estate Park Thursday’s at noon (music appreciation not to mention a lunch break), The Gulf Coast Mineral, Fossil & Gem Club Show (more science).   There are plenty of things to do on the weekend such as Farmer’s Markets, Arts & Craft Festivals, Fido Fest (for the dog), Christmas celebrations (Lights at Selby Botanical Gardens, celebrations at the Bayfront), Symphony concerts, fishing tournaments, the Sandy Claws Beach Run (December) and of course just hanging out on the beach because its so incredibly gorgeous and the weather is perfect. 

Enjoy planning your Fall and Winter.  My calendar’s getting full already.

Next post: what to do here when it rains.