Top 10 Things to Do in Lakeland + Polk County in January

Things to Do in January

January feels like a great month to try something new! The Christmas holidays are over and we are getting back into the swing of things and back into a routine at my house.

We are excited to help you find family-friendly events and activities to add to your calendar in 2022. Starting in January and ramping up through February, March & April, our calendar is filled with all the fun things to do in Lakeland, so this is our Top 10 list to help you make sure the “can’t miss” events are on your calendar. If you enjoy one of these events, be sure to let the venue know that you heard about it from Lakeland Mom.

Many attraction closures and event postponements have been announced beginning September 27 due to Hurricane Ian. We are editing our calendar and articles if we receive notice of event changes, but please be sure to check directly with organizers to confirm any events or activities through October 9. A link is provided at the bottom of every event on our calendar and in all articles.

As of early January, we are still in the midst of a drastic rise in cases. Please be smart, stay home if you are feeling sick, and do your part to stop the spread. Check directly with event organizers or local businesses for mask requirements, safety protocols, advance registration, and any last-minute changes. While we do our best to provide accurate information, we include an outside link for each listing so you can verify the details for all events and activities.

Go to a Lakeland Magic Game

The Lakeland Magic have a full schedule this month with 5 themed games!

New this year – there will be 1,000+ promotional items given out at EVERY.SINGLE.GAME. These free giveaways include t-shirts, championship banners, replica championship rings, bobbleheads, ornaments, light up sabers, cups and koozies, calendars, and more.

January games include:
🏀 Friday, January 7 @ 7pm – Giveaway: Lakeland Magic Water Bottle
🏀 Saturday, January 8 @ 7pm – 90’s Night – Giveaway: TShirt and Koozie
🏀 Tuesday, January 11 @ 7pm – Swish’s Birthday – Giveaway: Commemorative Swish Cup
🏀 Friday, January 28 @ 7pm – Faith and Family Night – Giveaway: TBD
🏀 Saturday, January 29 @ 7pm – Orlando Magic Night – Giveaway: Special Edition Magic Shirt

Learn more about the giveaways and get your tickets at lakelandmagic.com/promotions.

Pick Strawberries

How great is it that we live right next door to the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World – Plant City! That means we have an abundance of U-Pick Strawberry farms within an hour’s drive. Strawberry picking is a GREAT family activity to do with kids. The berries grow in raised beds on the ground (unless they are hydroponic) so they are easy for kids to reach.

About 1/3 of the farms on our U Pick Strawberry List are open for the season. Others will not open until commercial picking ends, typically in late February or early March. Click here to see our list of U-Pick Strawberry Farms in Lakeland, Plant City, & Across Central Florida.

Plant City Strawberries

Sign up for FREE Preschool Passes to Theme Parks

January is a great time to sign up for the Free Preschool Passes offered by Busch Gardens in Tampa, SeaWorld in Orlando, and LEGOLAND right here in Polk County. Click the links below to get more details on these offers for ages 5 & under.

Busch Gardens & Adventure Island Preschool Pass

SeaWorld & Aquatica Preschool Pass

In previous years a LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Preschooler Pass has been available, but we have heard they don’t plan to offer this promotion in 2022.

(These posts also include details on ticket prices for the rest of your family and links straight to the Florida Resident deals)

Busch Gardens Tampa Preschool Pass

Continue the holiday celebrations with Three Kings Day or Epiphany

Three Kings Day is a holiday celebrated in many Latin American and Caribbean countries to celebrate the 12th day after Christmas (January 6) representing when the Three Wise Men, or Three Kings, visit baby Jesus after his birth. There are two local celebrations for this holiday:

Three Kings Celebration First Friday in Downtown Lakeland on January 7 sponsored by Just Cares, Inc. Enjoy live music by Expresion Latina with a guest performance by Tito Puente, Jr., as well as family-friendly activities like pictures with the Three Kings.

Three Kings Block Party Celebration in Downtown Winter Haven on January 8 sponsored by the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Polk County. Highlighting this event will be music, vendors, giveaways, activities for the kids, raffles etc. and learn first hand of why Latinos celebrate the magic of The Magi.

Celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

During the week of January 10 – 17, we celebrate the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.  Click the links below for details on local MLK events including Jazz in the Park in Lakeland, and MLK Parades in Lakeland and Winter Haven.

2022tue11jan4:00 pmtue5:00 pmDr. Martin Luther King Jr. Story Time - Winter Haven Library4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Winter Haven - Public Library, 325 Avenue A NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881 Event Organized By: Winter Haven Public Library

2022thu13jan6:00 pmthu8:00 pmSelma Movie Screening at The Ritz Theatre Winter Haven6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Winter Haven - Ritz Theatre, 263 W Central Ave, Winter Haven, FL 33880

2022fri14jan5:30 pmfri9:30 pmMLK Jazz in the Park5:30 pm - 9:30 pm Downtown Lakeland, 100 N Kentucky Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801

2022sat15jan10:00 amsat12:00 pmWinter Haven Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Parade10:00 am - 12:00 pm Winter Haven - MLK Park on Lake Silver, 199 East Lake Silver Drive Northeast, Winter Haven, FL 33881 Event Organized By: City of Winter Haven

2023sat21jan1:00 pmsat2:30 pmReverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Parade in Lakeland1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Event Organized By: City of Lakeland

Experience living history at the Alafia River Rendezvous

Step back in time at the Alafia River Rendezvous! Described as the Southeast’s largest pre-1840 Living History Encampment, each year approximately 1400 participants come from all over Florida and the US to Homeland, Florida (6 miles south of Bartow) to reenact a primitive lifestyle of the time period of their choice (pre-1840).

Participants dress in clothing appropriate to their time period, from animal skin caps to beaded moccasin shoes. Many people camp on site in tents and shelters that would have been seen in pre-1840 America. The public is welcome to visit on two specific days each year to experience the encampment and enjoy educational and learning opportunities. You can wander at your leisure down the rows of booths, watch musical performances, enjoy a program, talk to the participants, and more. Be sure to stop and see artisans demonstrating crafts, such as flint knapping, broom making, blacksmithing, soap making, and more. Learn more and see our video at the link below. January 21-22, 2022.

Pig out on BBQ at Lakeland PigFest

January kicks off the BBQ Festival season in Polk County! From January – April there are 5 different local barbeque competitions, including Lakeland’s favorite – PIGFEST!

Lakeland Pigfest includes over 150 competition barbecue teams for a weekend of good eatin’, good friends, and good tunes to benefit Lakeland-area charities for the Annual Lakeland Pigfest. Located at the SUN n’ FUN Campus January 28-29, 2022.

The public is welcome at Pigfest. Admission is just $5 and kids 12 years and younger can enter for free. Parking is free. The good eatin’ won’t cost you much and is well worth the value. Stop by a Pig Bucks booth (located near the entrance and various locations throughout) and exchange your cash for Pig Bucks, the official currency of the Lakeland Pigfest. By purchasing food from competition teams, you are supporting their efforts and local charities.

Click here for more details on Lakeland Pigfest 2022 and see a list of all of Polk County’s BBQ Events.

See a live performance

To celebrate the 20th year of professional opera in Polk County, the Lakeland Opera presents superstar soprano Renée Fleming in her only Florida performance with orchestral accompaniment from the Lakeland Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Fleming will perform favorite opera arias as well as popular music from Broadway and movies. Reserved seating. Saturday, January 8, 2022.

The Lakeland Concert Band will have a free performance on Sunday, January 16. Concerts begin at 2:30 p.m. at Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College. Before each concert, they showcase local talent with a pre-show at 1:45 p.m. Concerts are free and no tickets are needed.

Join Lakeland Community Theater for their latest Theater for Youth Production – Madeline Joins the Circus.
Madeline Joins the Circus tells the story of when Madeline and her friend, Pepito, get lost during a visit to the carnival and end up being carried away by gypsies, their rousing adventures with a traveling circus begin! But poor Miss Clavel won’t rest until she has brought them safely home. This new musical bursts with daring circus acts, song and sweet silliness. Multiple performances January 24 – 26, 2022 – get tickets now!

Learn more about School Choice + Apply during Open Enrollment

This isn’t necessarily fun, but it is a necessity if you’re interested in attending a school other than your zoned school! Polk County Schools Open Enrollment dates have been changed to January 4 – February 18, 2022.

Parents/guardians are strongly urged to submit applications by 4:00 pm on Feb. 18, 2022, for priority consideration. New this year, you will be able to apply for available open seats until the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year {but our advice is to apply during the first open window for your best chance}. Read our article to learn more about K-12 school options available in Polk County.

Plan your Spring Calendar

Here in Lakeland and across Polk County we have fantastic annual events that happen every spring! Get out your calendar and mark down the dates for these local favorites including art festivals, SUN ‘n FUN, Swan Derby, Mayfaire, & more. Click here to see the dates for Lakeland’s Favorite Spring Events.

Try Something New!

If you’re looking to try something new in 2022, we’ve got a list of great articles to help you out.

♥ Step outside your comfort zone and meet new friends – 10 Great Ways to Meet Mom Friends in the Lakeland Area

♥ Visit the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market

♥ Go Back to School {yes, you mama!} – College Bound: Lakeland Style – Colleges & Technical Schools in Lakeland

♥ Find a new place for sweets – The Best Ice Cream, Cookies, Yogurt & Cupcakes in Lakeland & beyond

♥ Try a new restaurant and save some moolah – Lakeland area Kids Eat Free Guide

♥ Find a new favorite game – Our Top 10 Favorite Family Board Games

♥ Treat yourself to a solo “date” or time with girlfriends – Mom’s Night (or Day) Out – Lakeland Style

♥ Visit a local coffee shop – A Lakeland Coffee Tour

♥ Find a gym or fitness plan that works for you! Learn more about 9Round Lakeland or use our Directory to see a list of local fitness centers.

♥ Find a new playground – The Best Shaded Playgrounds In and Around Lakeland

♥ Try a new activity with your toddler or preschooler {and probably meet some new friends while you’re at it!} – Preschooler & Toddler Activity Guide

♥ Donate items to be reused for other families in our community – Where to Donate Gently Used Toys, Clothing, Household Items, and more

Happy January!

Be sure you’re signed up for our weekly fun-letter to get all of our Spring & Easter info delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything {including our popular Summer Camp Guide coming out in March}.

100+ Things to Do with Kids

Check out our Ultimate List of Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland + Polk County to find indoor fun, outdoor fun, free things to do, seasonal activities, and more.