▪ Legoland Water Park will have a new attraction when it opens for the 2016 season. Legoland won’t say yet what it is, but says it will add a new nautical new twist. Although Legoland’s main park stays open year-round, the water park, which is adjacent to Legoland, closes in late fall. This year it will reopen on March 12. Details: www.legolandflorida.com
▪ The Lower Keys will celebrate chocolate on Jan. 23 at the Arts & Chocolate Festival at Big Pine Key’s Historic Grimal Grove Garden. The 2-acre garden — named for its founder, Adolf Grimal, because of his work with tropical fruit — is a microclimate for rare tropical fruit trees including cacao, whose seeds are used to make cocoa and chocolate. Festival participants can learn how to chocolate from cacao pods. The festival will have cacao and other tropical fruit trees for sale. It also will have workshops, food vendors, and artisans selling their wares. Details: www.thegrimalgrove.org.
▪ Salvador Dali, the Spanish Surrealist, and Walt Disney are brought together in Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination, a new exhibit coming to The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg starting Jan. 23. The two men — both artists and innovators — were friends and collaborated on an animated short that was never finished. The multimedia exhibit features a collection of original paintings, story sketches, conceptual art, archive film, photos and audio, all showcasing their friendship. Details: http://thedali.org/.
▪ Mardi Gras will be celebrated a little earlier than the actual date (Feb. 9) in two neighboring Panhandle cities. The carnival fun starts Jan. 29 in Panama City with the Kids & Pet Parade, Masker Parade and a Cajun cook-off, followed on Jan. 30 by the family-friendly Krewe of St. Andrews 19th Annual Parade, with food and live music both days. Details: www.standrewsmardigras.com.
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Then in Panama City Beach, the Mardi Gras and Music Festival takes place Feb. 5-6 at Pier Park with parades, pirates, floats, fireworks and food on both days (kids a little more the first day, more adult-oriented events the second day). Musical performers will include Sammy Kershaw, Buckwheat Zydeco, Waylon Thibodeaux with Jo-El Sonnier, Vince Vance & the Valiants and more. Details: www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
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