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Sun, Sand & Santa

December 9, 2016

By David Chesnick

The holidays at Sun N Fun are a memory your family will cherish for a lifetime. The Resort has a full slate of activities scheduled for the 12 days of Christmas and after, culminating in one of the best New Years’ Eve parties you’ll ever attend. And you can spend some time exploring Sarasota, recently named by Conde Nast Traveler as one of America’s 15 best small cities.

Here’s a look at just some of what you can enjoy here. We promise a sleigh full of Christmas spirit and holiday good cheer.

December 16th

At Sun-N-Fun

We get the season started with a blizzard of snow. Snow in Florida? You bet, when it’s

Sun N Fun. You can slide down a mountain of snow, build a snowman, and have your picture taken with Santa. That’s right; Santa will be here because a trip to Sun N Fun is how he gets ready for the big day.

In Sarasota

Few places can match the beauty that is the tropical paradise of Selby Gardens. Seeing plants, butterflies, and dragonflies lit with Christmas lights is a magical experience for visitors. To add to Lights in Bloom's festive feeling, there will be miniature trains, visits from Santa and his elves, and nightly entertainment. Every evening from 6 to 9 beginning on the 16th and running thru the 30th.

December 17th

At Sun-N-Fun

It’s all about the kids when we open the pool slide, Wibit, and kiddie bumper cars for the holiday season. They’ll be open thru New Years’, so there’s plenty of play time. We’re having a tree trimming party in the Town Center so bring an ornament to represent your family. There’s also going to be a live manger scene with a scripture reading, Karaoke caroling, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

In Lakewood Ranch

Those that need the feel of real snow to make it Christmas will find fresh snow falling every day the weekend of December 17th at Lakewood Ranch’s Premiere Sports Campus. Bring the kids. They can build a snowman, slide down a giant snowbank, and have a picture taken with Santa. Snow Fest promises live entertainment, vendors, and even DJ Grinch. It’s the only real snow you’ll find in all of Florida.

December 18th

At Sun-N-Fun

Sign up at the Lifestyle Center to have breakfast with Santa. It’s not just for kids – Mom and Dad’s can share their Christmas gift list with old St. Nick, and if they’ve been nice they just might get their wish. That evening Santa will read a Christmas story, we’ll unveil our gingerbread house, and our residents will perform at our Holiday Talent Show.

In Sarasota

Enjoy some authentic Gospel music and Southern comfort food, pour-your-own mimosas, and the Hail Mary a breakfast cocktail that promises to fill you with the spirit at the Blue Rooster. That evening the Historic Asolo Theater at the Ringling presents cabaret starts Carole Bufford and Eric Yes Garcia performing a Christmas Carole and New Year’s Yves.

December 19th

At Sun-N-Fun

Our Family Christmas Party is a chance for the youngsters to get their picture taken with Santa by a professional photographer, to choose a gift for from us at the Toy Table, and to do some serious cookie and ornament decorating.

In Sarasota

The 6th day of Christmas is the perfect day to finish up your shopping. We suggest a visit the new and nearby University Town Center Mall where more than 100 stores guarantee you’ll find something for everyone on your list. Or make your way to downtown Sarasota’s Main St. for shopping small and wonderfully.

December 20th

At Sun-N-Fun

You’ve done your shopping – or most of it – wrapped your gifts, and sent out your cards. Take some time for you to catch up with old friends at the poolside bar and grill. So send the kids to the water slide, the Wibit, and the bumper cars, and luxuriate in that sweet Florida sunshine.

In Sarasota

Take your true love on an open-air, vintage-inspired trolley tour of Sarasota and Siesta Key. Catch the spirit of the season with holiday music and stories about some of the beautiful homes that light up our community. The tour starts 6:00 at the corner of Cattlemen Drive and Bee Ridge.

December 21st

At Sun-N-Fun

Decorate your golf carts and bikes for our Christmas Parade. Santa will be leading the way in a jeep – after all, with Christmas just days away, the reindeer have to rest up for their big night. There will be prizes for the best decorations.

At Siesta Key & Lakewood Ranch

What would a visit to Sarasota be without a visit to the number one ranked beach in the U.S.? Siesta Key’s sand is as soft as snow and every bit as white. And it’s a lot warmer. If, on the off-chance, it’s too chilly for you that day take in a movie at the Lakewood Ranch Cinema where all the best of the Christmas releases will be playing. Siesta-key.net

December 22nd

At Sun-N-Fun

Everyone loves eggnog. Our eggnog drinking contest is your chance to show how much. Grab a jug – non-alcoholic – and show your stuff. There’s a prize for the person that drinks it fastest. That evening the kids will gather at the Gingerbread House to write Santa and tell him about their naughty and nice moments. Santa promises a personal reply.


There’s no better way to capture the spirit of the season than an evening of Christmas music. Local favorites, the Ditchfield Family Singers, will be performing everything from Victorian England’s traditional carols to the modern classics. At the Venice Theater.

December 23rd

At Sun-N-Fun

Enjoy a poolside musical Christmas celebration presented by Bradenton’s Creative Arts Academy. The pool’s heated so be sure to jump in and enjoy it. That evening there will be music poolside from the Jimmy and Karen band.

In Sarasota

The Ringling Museum Gallery of Contemporary Art first exhibit is an interactive, multi-media installation that invites you to walk through a forest of ribbons. Best not to explain it but rather to experience it. And don’t forget the Ringling’s Circus Museum for the kids. After all, who isn’t a kid at Christmas?

December 24th

At Sun-N-Fun

Join us, the entire Sun-N-Fun family of residents and team members at Woodland Hall for a candlelight non-denominational service to celebrate this most joyous of holidays. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

In Sarasota

Celebrate everything that makes Christmas in Sarasota so unique at Deck the Halls, an interactive children’s show at Browne’s Lab Theater at Florida Studio Theater. Carols, sketches, and family fun make it the perfect Christmas Eve Day. The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and spectacular light extravaganza at Grace Church at 5:00 is a favorite with Sun-N-Fun visitors. A perfect way to spend the evening.

December 25th

At Sun-N-Fun

After your family gathers around the tree and all the presents are handed out and unwrapped, you’re invited to attend a non-denominational service that will beautifully capture the spirit and the meaning of Christmas. And so you can enjoy all those new gifts you found under the tree, we’ll be serving a Christmas buffet in the Boondocks Restaurant from 11:30 to 4:30. Be sure to reserve your table.

December 26th

At Sun-N-Fun

Santa’s worked hard. He’s delivered a lot of gifts and brought smiles to a lot of faces. So we thought we would give him a proper send off as he headed back to his home at the North Pole. Join us at the Gingerbread House at six we can say goodbye. (There’s a rumor he and Mrs. Claus will be back at Sun-N-Fun after the New Year for a little R&R.)

In Sarasota

What would a trip to Sarasota be without a visit to the circus? Bring the family to watch the High Flying Holiday show, an annual celebration that features over 100 students 8 to 18 as they fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

From the 27th to the 31st

At Sun-N-Fun

There will be poolside music and bingo. Lots of activities from Pickleball to Beach Volleyball, a Friday night fish fry and a chance to catch up on your downtime. Pamper yourself or your loved one with a treatment at the Sun N Fun Day Spa.

In Sarasota

Visit the beach on Lido and Siesta Key, Take a drive along Longboat Key, stroll down Main St., and explore the Ringling. Take in a show at the Van Wezel, some comedy at McCurdy’s, or a boat out on the Bay. This is Sarasota – you’ll never be bored.

New Years’ Eve

Kick off the New Year with dinner at Boondocks and then get ready to party by the pool. Goodbye 2016; hello 2017! We’re going to make it a Sun N Fun kind of year.

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