Friday, December 5, 2008
State parks invite visitors to enjoy holiday events
Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service invites visitors to celebrate the holiday season at a state park throughout December. From festivals and tea parties to caroling and special tours, state parks are hosting events for residents and visitors to commemorate the season. Holiday events throughout Florida’s state parks include: Northwest Region Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park Camellia Christmas Celebration Friday, December 5, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This old fashioned holiday kick-off features a candlelight stroll, performances by local musicians and a silent auction of items donated by local merchants to benefit the state park. There will also be a tour of the Maclay House adorned in holiday decor. Park entrance fee will be waived for participants. For more information, call (850) 487-4115. Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park Christmas Greenery Workshop Thursday, December 11, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Maclay Gardens State Park and The Friends of Maclay Gardens, Inc. will host a Christmas Greenery Arranging Workshop. All materials will be provided for $15.00. For more information and to register, call (850) 487-4556. Big Lagoon State Park Christmas in the Park Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Big Lagoon State Park and the Friends of Big Lagoon/Perdido Key State Park, Inc. will host “Christmas in the Park” to thank the public for their support through the year. Guests can walk through the park to enjoy Christmas lights and decoration displays. Santa Claus will arrive at 6:00 p.m. each night. Park entrance fee will be waived for participants. For more information, call (850) 492-1595. Three Rivers State Park Christmas Lights Show December 12, 13, 19 and 20, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Three Rivers State Park invites visitors on a scenic drive through the park to enjoy the light displays. Park entrance fee will be waived for participants. For more information, call (850) 482-9006. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park Holiday Cruise and Dinner Saturday, December 20, 5:00 p.m. The park will host an evening cruise on the Wakulla River and dinner in the historic lodge followed by an old-fashioned sing-a-long in the lobby by the Christmas tree. Tickets are $29.00 for adults and $18.00 for children 12 and under. Reservations are suggested. For more information, call (850) 926-0700. Eden Gardens State Park Candlelight Tour of Historic Wesley Mansion Saturday, December 20, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eden Gardens State Park and the Friends of Eden invite visitors for a traditional walk through the luminaries to the Historic Wesley House. Inside, visitors will be greeted by Christmas carols and two harpists. After the tour is completed, the Friends of Eden will provide refreshments in the pavilion. Park entrance fee is waived for participants, however donations are greatly appreciated. For more information, call (850) 231-1167. Northeast Region Fort Clinch State Park Union Holiday Encampment Saturday, December 6, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, December 7, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Living historians recreate life at Fort Clinch during the Civil War. Activities include artillery demonstrations, medical demonstrations and soldier drills. Soldiers and civilians also take up duty in the laundry, infirmary, kitchen, barracks, quartermaster and carpenter shop. A special Christmas tree will be decorated with period, hand-made decorations. Regular park entrance fees apply. For more information, call (904) 277-7274. Fort Cooper State Park 11th Annual Nights of Lights Friday, December 5 through Thursday, December 11, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6, there will be free refreshments, live entertainment and Santa will be available for pictures. December 7 through 11, lights and decorations only will be on display. A luminary walking tour will feature lights, luminaries and holiday decorations throughout the park. Admission to the event is a new toy or non-perishable food items to benefit the Citrus United Basket, a local food bank. For more information, call (352) 726-0315. Rainbow Springs State Park Santa Over the Rainbow December 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Friends of Rainbow Springs bring Santa Claus to Dunnellon. Guests can walk through the wonderland of lights that decorate the headsprings area of Rainbow Springs State Park, see Mr. and Mrs. Claus come up the Rainbow River on a lighted boat and visit with Santa’s elves while listening to Christmas carols. December 26 and 27 will feature lights only. Admission is $1.00 per person and photos with Santa are $2.00. For more information, call (352) 465-8555. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Festival of Lights Saturday, December 13, 10:00 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, craft demonstrations, special concerts and a holiday gift sale are among activities visitors will enjoy during the Festival of Lights. Regular park admission fees are waived for the festivities, but a donation of canned goods or a new toy is requested. For more information and a full schedule of events, call (386) 397-4331. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park Christmas Celebration of Lights Friday, December 19 through Wednesday, December 24, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, the community is invited to enjoy thousands of twinkling lights, decorations and holiday music. A variety of entertainments will be scheduled and refreshments will be available. Admission is a recommended donation of $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children ages 3 through 12. For more information, call (352) 628-5343. Central Region Washington Oaks Gardens State Park Holiday Tea Party Saturday, December 6, 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Hosted by Mrs. Claus, this tea party will be offered to children ages 5-7 years old at the park visitor center. Children should come to the party dressed in their best attire, including old jewelry, ties and garden hats, and can bring along their favorite stuffed animal. Mrs. Claus will present each child with a Christmas stocking filled with holiday goodies to take home. The tea party fee is $15.00 per child and includes a souvenir photograph with Mrs. Claus, refreshments, holiday stocking and the park entrance fee. Spaces are limited and advance reservations are required. For more information and to register, call (386) 446-6783. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park Holiday in the Gardens Saturday, December 13, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guests can stroll through the festively decorated gardens while children share their holiday wish list with Santa Claus. Santa’s Playground will include activities for children such as holiday stories, a sing-a-long and a hands-on arts and crafts and game section. Complimentary hot chocolate and peppermint white hot chocolate will be given out. There will also be a Gingerbread house contest for all ages. Instead of regular park entrance fees, donations of toys and non-perishable food items will be collected at the gate. For more information or to register, call (386) 446-6783. Ravine Gardens State Park Caroling the Ravines Friday, December 19, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The staff at Ravine Gardens will host its first Annual Christmas event featuring a wagon ride around the ravines and seasonal carols sung by local church groups, school groups and other organizations. Entertainment will also be provided on stage in the Civic Center and under the pavilion. Local vendors will be selling hand-crafted items. Holiday refreshments will be also available for purchase. Fees for this event include a donation of one non-perishable item per person to donate to the local food banks. For more information, call (386) 329-3718. Southwest Region Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park Holiday Nights Under the Stars Saturday, December 6, 12:00 p.m. Enjoy a leisurely walk along a decorated trail with craft vendors, music, food, hayrides, games and more. This event will be held within the park, just behind Sears in the Gulfview Square Mall in Port Richey. There will be no entrance fee, but some minimal fees for activities. For more information, call (727) 816-1890. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Toys for Tots Classic Car and Motorcycle Jamboree Sunday, December 7, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will host the Toys for Tots Classic Car and Motorcycle Jamboree in the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park parking lot. There will be music, food, mermaids and a visit from Santa. Admission to the event is $10.00 per person or a toy valued at a minimum of $10.00. All proceeds from the event will benefit Hernando County Toys for Tots program. This event is sponsored by the Nature Coast English Car Club. For more information, call (352) 346-1559. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Winter Waterland 2008 Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will host the annual "Weeki Wachee Springs Winter Waterland 2008." This annual event will include a live nativity scene, Santa’s Express Train for the kids, storytelling and a photo opportunity with the “Mermaid Elves.” Admission is $6.00 plus tax for adults and $3.00 plus tax for children ages 6-10. Children age 5 and under are free. For more information, call (352) 596-2062. Highlands Hammock State Park Santa Paws Holiday 5K Run Saturday, December 13, 8:00 a.m. The Paws for the Cause one mile Pet Walk & Parade benefits the animals at the Highlands County Humane Society. Santa Paws will be on hand to pose with pets for photos. Registration forms are available by email at email@example.com or call the Humane Society at (863) 655-1522. Pre-registration for the race is $15.00 or $20.00 the day of race or participants can give a $10.00 donation for the one mile Pet Walk & Parade. Park admission is waived for all participants. For more information, call (863) 386-6094. Gamble Plantation Historic State Park Plantation Christmas Open House Sunday, December 14, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida Division, the Gamble Plantation Preservation Alliance and the Florida Park Service, the Gamble Mansion and the Patten House will be decorated in the Christmas spirit of the 19th century. There will be period dress, reenactments, music, crafts and fun for everyone. For more information, call (941) 723-4536. Southeast Region Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park Lignumvitae Christmas Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The historic Matheson House will be decorated in an early 1900s ambiance of the Florida Keys. Visitors will have the opportunity to see how caretakers of the past would have adorned the walls of their island abode, sample homemade cookies, cakes and refreshments and decorate their own ornaments. Participants should meet at Robbie’s Marina. Visitors 18 years and over are $5.00 and 18 years and under are free. For more information, call (305) 664-2540 The Barnacle Historic State Park Barnacle Under Moonlight – Alhambra Orchestra Friday, December 12, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Get in the spirit of the season with the Alhambra Orchestra’s holiday concert at The Barnacle. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. and music is from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The Barnacle Society free concert passes are not valid at this event. Tickets are $10.00 for ages 6 and up and children under 6 are free. For more information, call (305) 442-6866. Savannas Preserve State Park Christmas Holiday Kayak Tour Friday, December 26, 9:00 a.m. The marsh tour is a great way to work off the holiday pounds and have fun with friends and family. A $10.00 per person donation is suggested. For more information, call (772) 398-2779. For more information about Florida’s state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org.
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