Gloucester County Emerges as the Jewel in South Jersey’s Crown

Gloucester County Emerges as the Jewel in South Jersey’s Crown

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — In a roundtable published in Forbes this week, the magazine’s Real Estate Council made a definitive ranking of the 14 Up-and-Coming Real Estate Locations to Watch. Coming in at No. 13 was none other than South Jersey’s very own Gloucester County. “For the most inspired growing area, look to Gloucester County in South Jersey!” said panelist Nancy Kowalik, owner of Nancy Kowalik Real Estate Group. 

 

But why is this county gentrifying so quickly? According to Kowalik, it’s because Gloucester County has everything. “Located close to the city and the shore, we have green spaces, room to breathe, wineries, a quaint Downtown and bike paths,” she said. “It’s all here, and that’s why world-class Rowan University is growing. A new 1,000-bed, state-of-the-art hospital is opening, too.”

The hospital to which she is referring is the Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill, 465,000-square-foot development over 100 acres with 210 private rooms, a maternity center and 62-room emergency department. The project, the county’s first new hospital in almost 45 years, was built with raised funds of $23 million, a campaign that took just seven months to reach its target.

“This is a tremendous day for South Jersey, Gloucester County and our health system,” John DiAngelo, Inspira Health’s CEO and president, said at the hospital’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in December. “With this new hospital, our commitment to providing exceptional care for our community, in our community, reaches a new level. We are excited to bring the latest in healthcare to the people of Gloucester County and surrounding communities.”

As far as the university expansion, one of the main developments has been the $400 million, 26-acre Rowan Boulevard project. 

As well as the healthcare sector and academia, Gloucester County is also proving to be attractive for the private sector, and has become somewhat of a home to craft breweries. The most recent addition is Core3Brewery, a new player that joins the ranks of Human Village Brewing Co. in Pitman, Eight & Sand Beer Co. in Woodbury, Cross Keys Brewing Co. in Williamstown and Death of the Fox Brewing Company in Clarksboro. 

“We were really drawn to the way they are building up the area around the college and definitely see the positive direction the area is moving in,” Krystle Lockman, owner of Axe and Arrow Microrewery, told South Jersey Business Journal. “It’s great to be on the ground floor of this redevelopment project in an area we have so many ties to.”

And Core3’s owner, Lawrence Price, told South Jersey Business Journal that the ease of doing business in the county will only contribute to its continued growth. “[The borough] has been so supportive and helpful and business friendly. Everything they could do to help us, they did,” he said. “Mayor Tom Bianco has always been upfront with us and in the mix of things, stopping by at least once or twice a week to see how things are going and if there is anything he can do.”

 

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.nancykowalik.com/

http://www.inspirahealthnetwork.org/mullicahill

https://www.rowan.edu/

http://www.core3brewery.com/

https://axeandarrowbrewing.com/

 

New inventory, worldwide recognition to expand Philly’s hospitality in 2020

New inventory, worldwide recognition to expand Philly’s hospitality in 2020

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read January 2020 — Philadelphia’s hospitality industry welcomed a variety of hotels and restaurants in 2019, and the new year will see that growth continue. The city’s expanding and diversifying hotel inventory is a trend that even industry leaders are keeping an eye on.

“We are closely monitoring the impact of additional supply entering the market in 2020, and continue to ensure we are providing our guests with a unique and personal experience that helps to create the loyalty we know will keep our valued guests staying with us year after year, as the options in our city continue to expand,” Michael Roberts, area general manager at The Windsor Suites Philadelphia told Invest:.

Philadelphia’s growing business community has presented a variety of opportunities for the city’s hospitality sector. According to Visit Philadelphia President and CEO Jeff Guaracino, cities around the world are looking at private and public investments made in Philadelphia and how they’ve positively impacted the city’s tourism ecosystem.

“Recently, we’ve seen enhancements to the city’s historical, cultural and dining options, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and to our stadiums in South Philadelphia. These are just a few examples, but they show us how appealing our city’s product is when viewed holistically,” Guaracino said in an interview with Invest:

Another fact that can have a positive impact in the City of Brotherly Love’s hospitality sector is its recognition as one of the top destinations to visit in 2020 by National Geographic. Philadelphia was one of only two U.S. destinations (alongside the Grand Canyon) among the 25 must-see destinations and travel experiences in this year’s list of the Best Trips to take. “We’re thrilled that Philadelphia is featured so prominently and beautifully in this influential publication that we know drives travel decisions,” said Visit Philadelphia’s Guaracino in a written statement. 

In 2018, the Greater Philadelphia region marked its ninth consecutive year of record visitation and the highest number of passengers through Philadelphia International Airport since 2008, according to Guaracino. 

“The city is fairly evenly split in thirds between corporate, leisure and group business. We value each, and are always working to develop each segment. The type of traveler segment that is most prevalent does vary throughout the year. We experience the same variations in the business cycle,” said Roberts. 

Philadelphia’s new hotel inventory for 2020 includes: 

  • Canopy by Hilton Philadelphia Center City opening in May 2020
  • W Hotel opening June 2020
  • Element Hotel Philadelphia opening June 2020
  • The Hyatt Centric Hotel opening June 2020
  • River House at Odette’s opening June 2020
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia opening December 2020

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

The Windsor Suites Philadelphia: https://www.thewindsorsuites.com/ 

Visit Philadelphia: https://www.visitphilly.com/ 

 

Equestrian Festival Leads the 2020 Palm Beach Sports Charge

Equestrian Festival Leads the 2020 Palm Beach Sports Charge

By: Sara Warden

2 min read January 2020 — Horses are big business in Florida, which boasts the third-highest horse population nationwide behind only Texas and California. The state is home to half a million horses and the horse-riding industry pulls in an estimated $6.5 billion annually.

 

 This week, Palm Beach County welcomes the Winter Equestrian Festival – 12 weeks of elite competition ending on March 29. The contest attracts a diverse set, aged between 2 and 70, among them some of the most talented Olympians, adult amateurs, juniors and children from 52 countries. But many of these competitors have something in common: deep pockets.

The show-jumping prizes are often lucrative, and the Winter Equestrian Festival will award millions of dollars in total purse money to victors. But this is partly a reflection on the initial outlay to participate. “Only the wealthiest of families can afford to break into the sport. Today, prized horses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost of maintaining a horse can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars a month,” according to Business Insider.

The Equestrian Festival is not the only sporting event Palm Beach residents can look forward to this year. Coinciding with the festival is the Palm Beach International Polo Season, held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Although a typically exclusive sport, this festival offers fun for all budgets, with tickets starting at just $10. Also on offer for those who want to splash out are Champagne brunches, ride simulators and introductory lessons starting at $100 each.

Palm Beach County will also welcome another elite sport this month: the Gainbridge Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), with a purse of $2 million. Pro golfers are expected to descend on Palm Beach County to witness the three-day event beginning Jan. 23. “Expect the Olympics, expect to see the best young female golfers at the prime of their career, come from all over the world. We’ll have 29 different countries teeing it up here when we play in January,” Mike Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA told CBS 12 News.

Other sporting events in the first quarter include the start of baseball’s spring training. The World Series champion Washington National’s first spring training game will be against the Houston Astros, the team they faced in the World Series, on Feb. 22. Palm Beach County is proving it is entering the big leagues with this range of heavy-hitting events.

“We’re just trying to put a spotlight on this incredible run of sports that will impact Palm Beach County in so many ways. It’s great entertainment for our local residents in our community to a huge economic and tourism benefit that will be delivered through Palm Beach County through sports,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, to CBS 12 News.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.palmbeachsports.com/

https://www.lpga.com/

https://ipc.coth.com/

https://pbiec.coth.com/

 

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

Public-Private Partners Devise Future of Queen City

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read January 2020In the last decade, Charlotte rose from the devastating effects of the Great Recession to become the 16th-most populous city in the United States. The Queen City has experienced continuous years of growth thanks to the diversification of its economy, its budding headquarters relocation culture, steady commercial and residential development, and its “cool” appeal favored by the young workforce moving to Charlotte and its surrounding region. As the city prepares for another decade of evolution, growth, and development, public and private partners have their eyes set on the year 2040. Several complementary plans are underway that will help guide the future of Center City, the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for the next 20 years.

Spearheaded by nonprofit Charlotte Center City Partners, in partnership with the city and county, the “ALL IN 2040” plan aims to establish a new blueprint for the growth and development of Center City, an area that encompasses Uptown and South End. Simultaneously, the city of Charlotte is working on its 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which will guide the growth of Charlotte overall, while Mecklenburg County rewrites its Park and Recreation master plan.

Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners, said the Queen City has a strong legacy of careful planning for long-term development. “We’ve had four decades of deliberate planning and this decade has really defined Charlotte,” Smith told Invest: Charlotte. “Charlotte has launched a new, renewed Center City vision for 2040, called the ‘ALL IN’ plan. This is a great opportunity for Charlotte to carry on its legacy of planning. This is a 50-year tradition of creating these blueprints, each time looking several decades ahead, but renewing that vision every 10 years. This provides us with an opportunity to listen to our community, and to bring subject-matter experts in to help us understand some of the best practices around the world,” he said.

 

Much of the successful growth and development in Charlotte that occurred in the past decade was a result of strong public-private partnerships, which the “ALL IN 2040” plan will continue to develop and strengthen. “The plans and projects are co-created and co-owned with the private sector. In Charlotte over the last 50 years, we’ve had the public sector making transformative, shaping, stimulating investments in infrastructure, and the private sector responding in a collaborative way,” Smith said.

 

Infrastructure will be a strong focus of the “ALL IN 2040” plan, as well as the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. “With the growth we have, we know we have to invest in transportation,” Smith said. Both plans account for major transit expansions to the city’s rapid bus transit and light rail systems. “All that infrastructure development is really needed as the city is booming with construction on the residential, office and hospitality fronts. Right now, there are almost 2.2 million square feet of office space under construction. Of that, there are about 700,000 square feet in South End, and more in Uptown. This is not speculative; there is a lot of pre-leased space in South End. As a matter of fact, about 90% of what’s under construction is pre-leased. It provides us with great confidence,” he said.

 

The “ALL IN 2040” plan and similar city and county efforts are meant to complement one another. Throughout 2020, residents are encouraged to attend public engagement sessions where they can give their input regarding the future of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 

By the end of the process, a final draft will be created that will eventually head to the city council for approval and implementation.

 

To learn more, visit:

https://www.charlottecentercity.org 

https://www.allin2040.com/plan

Orlando’s convention center starting 2020 strong

Orlando’s convention center starting 2020 strong

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — The Orange County Convention Center, one of Orlando’s economic engines, is entering 2020 with a robust variety of events and conventions. As the end of 2019 has been a busy one for the OCCC, the beginning of 2020 is starting strong with the convention center looking to host thousands of visitors during its busiest season.  

 

The OCCC brings over 200 events to Orlando each year, with 1.4 million attendees. During the first four months of 2020, the OCCC is hosting some of their biggest events, including:

PGA Merchandise Show 2020 – Jan. 22 – Jan. 24, the event is looking to attract 43,000 attendees. The event gathers PGA and golf industry professionals to showcase the latest trends in golf equipment, technology, apparel and accessories, and more. 

AHR Expo Feb. 3 – 5, OCCC will host the world’s largest HVACR event, which is expected to attract 50,000 manufacturers and industry professionals to the region. The event showcases the latest technology, trends and applications on HVACR technology. 

HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition 2020 – From March 9 – 12, this even is expected to attract nearly 43,000 attendees to Orlando. The health information and technology event connects health information and technology professionals from around the world to discuss education, innovation and collaboration around health and wellness. 

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2020 Annual Meeting – From March 25 – 27, the meeting is expected to gather 30,000 orthopaedic and health professionals. The meeting provides educational opportunities, exhibits and tools and tips.

MegaCon Orlando – From April 16 – 20, the comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event is looking to attract over 75,000 attendees. The event will feature professional comic artists sketch duels, “How To” workshops and over 400,000 square feet of shopping space.

To expand its capabilities and reach, the OCCC is undergoing a $605 million upgrade for two master plan projects that will bring the OCCC total exhibit space to 2.3 million square feet. The expansion project will add an additional 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 60,000 square feet of meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom. The project is expected to be completed in 2023. As the second-largest convention facility in the nation, the OCCC provides approximately $3 billion in economic impact annually. 

 

To learn more, visit:

Orange County Convention Center: www.occc.net

PGA Merchandise Show 2020: www.pgashow.com

AHR Expo: www.ahrexpo.com

HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition 2020: www.himssconference.org

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2020 Annual Meeting: www.aaos.org/annualmeeting/ 

MegaCon Orlando: www.megaconorlando.com

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

By: Sara Warden

 

2 min read December 2019 — South Floridians may not expect a white Christmas, but there are still a plethora of entertainment options to get the kids into the holiday spirit. From Enchanted Forests to visits from Santa, there is plenty for all ages going on across the Miami, Palm Beach and Greater Fort Lauderdale areas. Capital Analytics counts down the top events in the run up to the big day!

1. Christmas with the Chimps at Lion Country Safari

If you’re an animal lover, this is the place to be on Thursday, Dec. 19. For one day only, starting at 10.30am, guests at the Lion Country Safari park in Palm Beach will be able to leave their cars and watch as the chimps open Santa’s gifts. Entry is $39 for adults and $30 for children, and under twos go free!

Find out more here

2. Winterland at Pinto’s Farm

Located at 14890 SW 216 St, this farm park promises a huge range of activities, including holiday treats, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay rides and paddle boats. Why not venture into the enchanting illuminated forest and meet Santa Claus, Nix the Snowman and Sprinkle the Gingerbread cookie.

Find out more here.

3. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Brought to you from the songwriting team behind Tony-award-winning Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land, this show promises to be a festive treat for the ears. The show is based on the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, following protagonist Ralphie’s pursuit of his dream Christmas gift. Showings continue throughout the festive season and tickets are priced at $49-65, with discounts available for teachers and students.

Find out more here.

4. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park

With over 100 rides, shows and attractions, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is sure to spread the Christmas cheer. Running from the end of October until Jan. 5, the fun takes place at 7900 SW 40th Street and promises 3 million lights and a 92-inch Christmas tree, all within an amusement park. Tickets start at $28.60 for children and seniors.

Find out more here.

5. Brightline for The Polar Express train rides

Across selected dates from mid-November until Dec. 29, families can take the one-hour Polar Express train on the brand new Brightline route. Singing, dancing, cookies and hot chocolate are guaranteed to keep both the kids and adults happy before Santa climbs on board to hand out some Christmas gifts to the girls and boys on the nice list. Prices start from $55 for an adult and $50 for a child.

Find out more here

The Bay’s Top 5 Holiday Celebrations

The Bay’s Top 5 Holiday Celebrations

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

4 min read December 2019 ‘Tis the season for family fun and Tampa Bay has a myriad of holiday happenings to choose from. It comes as no surprise that the region holds such an eclectic and widespread range of options as the local economy boasts healthy and robust tourism and entertainment markets. The only challenge is deciding how to choose between all of the merry events happening throughout the Bay. Invest: explores five of the top options to spend your time during this holiday season. 

 

Enchant Christmas 

Not everyone is privileged to have the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market in their own backyard, but those in the Tampa Bay region can find this very attraction at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Embark on an adventure to find Santa’s reindeer inside an amazing, custom-designed light maze. Once you have solved the mystery, guests can enjoy the seasonal food and drinks as well as a Christmas Market featuring over 40 local and international artisans. Enchant runs until Dec. 29 and is a wonderful event for families of all ages.  

For more, visit: https://enchantchristmas.com/stpete

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

On its own merit, Busch Gardens is already a must-see attraction in the Bay, so the fact that it features a holiday event that USA Today ranked as one of it’s 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Events, only furthers this narrative. Christmas Town not only is a beautifully decorated affair with millions of holiday lights, it is also a truly fun event. Visitors are afforded the opportunity to visit with Santa and Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, holiday-themed culinary experiences, live shows and the ability to have nighttime experiences on their famous thrill rides. Christmas Town is open to the public until Jan. 6 so there is still plenty of time to enjoy. 

To read more, visit: https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/christmas-town/

Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park

Winter Village is not the typical holiday-themed event. Winter Village features a holiday-themed cafe, appropriately deemed the Icicle Craft Kitchen, a variety of unique shopping experiences and a unique train ride called the Winter Village Express. But perhaps most significant is the last thing most people would expect to find in Florida: an outdoor ice rink. This is Downtown Tampa’s only outdoor ice rink,and quite possibly one of the only ones in Florida, which is made even more unique with the amazing views of the Tampa Riverwalk and Hillsborough River. This can’t miss opportunity is open until Jan. 5 and the perfect way to bring some holiday happiness. 

For more, visit: http://www.wintervillagetampa.com/

Downtown Tampa Holiday Lighted Boat Parade

In most of the country, a boat is the last place anyone would expect to be during the wintertime, but in Florida the winter is possibly the best time to take out a boat and enjoy the cooler temperatures. That being said, it’s only fitting that Downtown Tampa is home to the annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. The parade runs all the way down Tampa Riverwalk and features some of the region’s most unique watercrafts sporting their finest holiday lights. The event takes place from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 in Downtown Tampa. 

For more information, visit: https://thetampariverwalk.com/events/lighted-boat-parade/

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

This time of year all of the major holidays have one consistent thing in common: there is always a big football game on. In Tampa Bay, this stands true as the region will once again welcome the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl to town on Dec. 23 at Raymond James Stadium. Residents of the Bay can enjoy from their homes or partake in the festivities at the game as the University of Central Florida Knights take on last year’s Bowl champions the Marshall Thundering Herd. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without some good old-fashioned football. 

To learn more, visit: https://www.gasparillabowl.com/

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

By: Sara Warden 

2 min read December 2019 — During the Christmas season, electricity usage skyrockets as homes, businesses and local authorities light up the streets with Christmas displays and twinkling lights sure to make even the coldest hearts feel festive. This year, Philadelphia Zoo is getting in on the action with its inaugural LumiNature festival. 

 

After two years of planning and a $3.5 million investment, LumiNature will take place from Nov. 20 to Jan. 5, featuring 12 immersive displays containing over 600,000 lights inside the zoo’s boundaries. “LumiNature will transform the Zoo from its daytime magic into a winter wonderland, immersing guests in a joyous multimedia light and music spectacular,” said Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer in a press release. “We will shine a light on the world’s elusive big cats and flamboyant peacocks, …all through the artistry of lights, media, sound and nature itself.”

Tickets start from a very affordable $19 for the night tour of the zoo while the animals slumber, where guests can see, among other displays, “lit flamingos … on their own 25-foot tree, a 35-foot polar bear made out of 23,000 pounds of recycled car doors … and all four seasons,” according to Shearer. The event, presented by JP Morgan Chase, promises 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake. “LumiNature is set to be the most unique and memorable holiday-season light extravaganza in the entire Philadelphia and tri-state region,” added Shearer.

The intention is for LumiNature to be an unmissable family experience each year at Christmas. The event is also expected to attract visitors from out-of-town, just to see the fantastical light and sound show. Hilton hotels partnered with the event to offer Hilton Honours Members a special gift when attending LumiNature.

Hot chocolate and mulled wine will be on offer to guests as they stroll through the zoo, admiring the 12 difference displays. Here’s what the event organizers say guests should expect:

  • Wonder of Slumber: A beautiful and dreamy setting of lit orbs and giant illuminated flowers.
  • The Dreamery: A wishing well of sorts with a wave of the hand, bubbles, lights, and steam.
  • Snake Awake: Slither through brilliant purples, blues and greens as a giant snake slithers along beside you…
  • Frog Fantastical: Color washes throughout the trees and water-like images appear on the path before you.
  • Color me Chameleon: A kaleidoscope of color fills this festive plaza inviting guests to shop for their favorite light up items at the Zoo’s very first glow bar.
  • Big Cat Stalk: As you meander through this path of tall illuminated ‘grass’, the stalking eyes of these frisky felines will appear and disappear making you wonder if you are what they are dreaming of.
  • Evergreen Dreams: Situated in this lovely outdoor hang out are some surprising trees that come to life as they sing and welcome you to LumiNature.
  • Seasonbration: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall all have a point of view that comes to life via lights, music, and special effects.
  • Northern Lights: A 35-foot polar bear named Polaris made entirely from white recycled car doors transforms into a gigantic screen that shares the magnificence and diversity of our planet. 
  • Flamingo Fancy: Guests will be surprised as they walk along brilliantly lit 8-foot pink “flamingos” when they encounter the most whimsical tree within LumiNature: a 25-foot beauty made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments!
  • Peacock Spectacular: Standing before giant, lit peacock feathers, people can get the most unique holiday picture of the season. 
  • Penguin Peace on Earth: Hundreds of illuminated penguins will fill the zoo’s lawn to bid guests farewell and wish them a very special holiday season in true zoo fashion.

 

To find out more, visit:

 

https://philadelphiazoo.org/luminature/

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

South Florida’s Top Five Events for the Holiday Season

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — South Floridians may not expect a white Christmas, but there are still a plethora of entertainment options to get the kids into the holiday spirit. From Enchanted Forests to visits from Santa, there is plenty for all ages going on across the Miami, Palm Beach and Greater Fort Lauderdale areas. Capital Analytics counts down the top events in the run up to the big day!

 

 

 1. Christmas with the Chimps at Lion Country Safari

If you’re an animal lover, this is the place to be on Thursday, Dec. 19. For one day only, starting at 10.30am, guests at the Lion Country Safari park in Palm Beach will be able to leave their cars and watch as the chimps open Santa’s gifts. Entry is $39 for adults and $30 for children, and under twos go free!

Find out more here

2. Winterland at Pinto’s Farm

Located at 14890 SW 216 St, this farm park promises a huge range of activities, including holiday treats, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, hay rides and paddle boats. Why not venture into the enchanting illuminated forest and meet Santa Claus, Nix the Snowman and Sprinkle the Gingerbread cookie.

Find out more here.

3. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” at Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Brought to you from the songwriting team behind Tony-award-winning Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land, this show promises to be a festive treat for the ears. The show is based on the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, following protagonist Ralphie’s pursuit of his dream Christmas gift. Showings continue throughout the festive season and tickets are priced at $49-65, with discounts available for teachers and students.

Find out more here.

4. Santa’s Enchanted Forest at Tropical Park

With over 100 rides, shows and attractions, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is sure to spread the Christmas cheer. Running from the end of October until Jan. 5, the fun takes place at 7900 SW 40th Street and promises 3 million lights and a 92-inch Christmas tree, all within an amusement park. Tickets start at $28.60 for children and seniors.

Find out more here.

5. Brightline for The Polar Express train rides

Across selected dates from mid-November until Dec. 29, families can take the one-hour Polar Express train on the brand new Brightline route. Singing, dancing, cookies and hot chocolate are guaranteed to keep both the kids and adults happy before Santa climbs on board to hand out some Christmas gifts to the girls and boys on the nice list. Prices start from $55 for an adult and $50 for a child.

Find out more here