For Immediate Release: Oct. 14, 2011
ENJOY FAMILY FRIENDLY FALL FESTIVITIES AT FLORIDA STATE PARKS AND TRAILS
~Visitors invited to events statewide to celebrate the fall season~
A volunteer at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park decorates a young boy's face during their fall festival last year.
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service will welcome visitors to a variety of fall festivals and fun family events this month, from spooky and fun Halloween alternatives to seasonal celebrations. Events feature activities that each member of the family can enjoy, such as haunted hay rides for the kids, mermaid shows at Weeki Wachee for the young at heart, a river cruise and dinner for date night and even a costume contest for dogs.
“The fall season is a great time of year to be outdoors and there’s no better place to enjoy the season than in Florida’s state parks and trails,” said DEP’s Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “State park fall festivals are the perfect venue to kick off the holidays and be immersed in Florida’s natural and cultural resources.”
Not only are there fun events happening throughout Florida’s state parks, but the beautiful weather is also a great incentive to explore the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway and Florida’s eight state trails in celebration of Greenways and Trails Month. Several events highlighted at the state trails include horseback riding, ghost tours and bicycle tours. View a list of events for Greenways and Trails Month.
A few of the upcoming fall festivities include:
Saturday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m.
Park visitors are invited to bask in the glory of autumn as it begins to reveal itself along the Wakulla River. Celebrate with an evening jungle cruise followed by a delicious buffet dinner in the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge. Dinner will be $32 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Reservations are suggested. For more information, call 850.421.2000 Ext.117.
Friday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The 5th Annual Fall Festival has something for everyone. Choose between a fully-frightening Hay Ride for adults and children over 12 for $5 a person or Fantasyland for the younger children with fun games with prizes and face painting for $1. Drinks and food will be available; donations will be accepted with all of the proceeds going to The Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Inc. Park admission fee will be waived. For more information, call 850.267.0299.
Saturday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, visitors of all ages are invited to the Natural Bridge Historical Society’s representation of the Confederate period of the Fort. This re-enactment will take place during the Stone Crab Festival, a local festivity held in the center of historic downtown St. Marks where several live bands and lots of different types of food will be available from numerous vendors; naturally, seafood and stone crabs will be featured. Admission to the park and museum will be free. For more information, call 850.922.6007.
Saturday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This fine arts festival will feature more than 100 artists, a children's interactive art area, live music and a bistro food court. Festival donation is $3 per person and children under 12 are free. For more information, call 850.650.2226.
Saturday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Come for a night of games, candy, prizes and interpretation of the "spirits and folklore" of our ancestors that have used the land that is now known as Florida Caverns State Park. Park entrance fees waived for all participants. For more information, call 850.573.0390.
Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to noon
Trying to put names to some of the fantastic blooms of north-central Florida in the fall? Come join this short hike into Ichetucknee's fabulous sandhills for a slice of autumn splendor. The tour will begin in front of the Education Center at the south entrance of the park, off U.S. Highway 27. This event is open for all ages and levels of experience. Some portions of the hike will be in off-trail areas, so long pants, sturdy shoes, insect repellent and a passion for wildflowers are highly recommended. Park entrance fee is $6 per vehicle of up to eight people. For more information, call 386.497.4690.
FALL WITHLACOOCHEE TRAIL RIDE
Friday – Sunday, Oct. 21 - Oct. 23
Three days of scenic equestrian trail rides, camping, great food and good 'ole fashion southern hospitality. Set up camp near the old McCulley farmstead and get ready for a weekend of history, horseback riding and fun. Journey through the river flood plain and along the banks of the pristine Withlacoochee River. This is a very diverse area with an abundance of wildlife and a wide variety of indigenous plant and tree species. Canopy lanes and single file trails wind past ancient dry sinkholes, cavernous sinkholes and crystal clear springs. For more information, call 386.938.3011 or 386.938.1147.
Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.
This annual event includes a children’s pumpkin decorating contest and a costume contest for both kids and adults. Admission is $2 per person or $4 per carload and includes entry into all contests, drinks and snacks, live music, hayride through the woods, twilight camp fire with marshmallows roasting and a park ranger lead hike with hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats. For more information, call 386.867.1639.
Saturday, Oct. 22, 7 a.m.
The Florida Forest Festival's King Tree Parade begins at 10 a.m. in downtown Perry and then it's on to the Forest Capital Museum State Park for an afternoon filled with fun and entertainment. At noon, the world's largest free fish fry will be served. Entertainment and displays will be available all day; event is free. For more information, call 850.584.5366.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
You are invited to our Haunted Tram Rides event including Spooky Scenarios set up along Pepper Creek Trail, a haunted house, costume contests, face painters and clowns, refreshments and souvenirs. On Friday afternoon from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, volunteers from Citrus County Sheriff’s Dept. will offer their child ID program. Haunted tram rides will be available, $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under; admission to the haunted house is $2. For more information, call 352.628.5343.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Special early event for children under 12: Saturday, Oct. 28th, 2011- 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For grownups who like to be really scared, the gate will be open from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. both nights along with a non-frightening children’s event on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Evening gate admission is a $5 donation to the Friends group, and includes a “Terrifying Tram Tour” through the fearsome forest, a “Pirate Boat Ride” down the creepy Crystal River, and a “Zombie Haunted House.” “Mortuary Photography,” popular in the 19th century, will again be available in cooperation with Florida Public Archaeology Network. Advance tickets are available at the Park Visitors Center. Admission will be $5 for adults and children age 12 and under are free. Admission to the haunted house is $5. For more information, call 352.563.0450.
Saturday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This event features children’s games and trick-or-treating in a safe, fun environment, provided by local businesses and organizations, as well as a moonwalk, crafts and face painting. The enchanted forest, wagon tours and refreshments are also available for families of all ages. Admission is $3 per person, children three and under are free. For more information, call 386.329.3721.
Saturday Oct. 22, 7 p.m.
Enjoy a Halloween celebration with spooky storytelling in the Cracker Village, presented by Friends of Silver River State Park. Professional storytellers offer a family friendly evening of spooky tales (starting out with not so spooky stories for our younger guests). Even the spookiest tales also offer some knee slapping hilarity for a great evening belly-laugh. Park entrance fee is waived and a donation of a non-perishable food item for entry to the event is requested. For more information, call 352.236.7148.
Saturday Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Walk the Haunted Trail and stop at treat stations along the way for your tricks and treats! Not too scary, intended for the younger goblins. Ages 14 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There will be pumpkin decorating, refreshments and treat bags for lots of goodies. Advanced tickets available or can be purchased at the event. Children five and under are free, and ages six and up are $3. Bring your own flashlight and bug spray. For more information, call 386.985.4212.
Friday, Oct. 28, 5 p.m.
Participants can bring their canines to the park to join in a dog costume contest, tricks for treating and a ranger led doggie nature walk. The event, sponsored by The Bark Spot Flagler Beach and the Friends of Florida State Parks, will be held along the Intercoastal Waterway and the one-mile Joe Kenner Nature Trail. Proceeds benefit the Friends of Florida State Parks. Dog registration is $10 and includes contest entry, treats, nature walk and a keepsake photograph. For more information and to register, call 386.517.2086.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This event features a spooky guided trail through the woods after dark for adults and older children with strange and scary things that may make you scream. For those more cautious family members, there will be a fun harvest celebration including tram rides and a children’s coloring contest. Admission is a $5 donation. For more information, call 813.987.6870.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Activities for this event include a mermaid show, a haunted boat ride, a haunted bus ride, a stage show, kid’s maze, carnival, contests and a bazaar. Admission for adults is $5, children six to 12 is $3 and children under six are free. For more information, call 352.592.5656.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This safe alternative to trick or treating, sponsored by the Friends of the Island Parks and the Florida Park Service, includes face painting for the kids, fortune telling for the parents, games, storytelling, food and fun. There is a scary trail for the older children and adults complete with a haunted house. Bring a flashlight, a bag for collecting candy and bug spray. A $10 donation includes 10 free game tickets. For more information, call 727.469.5942.
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 29 and 30, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Evening journeys through the park are interrupted by sudden appearances of historical apparitions from over 175 years ago. Free food, candy and drinks will be available. Admission is $3 per car of up to eight people. For more information, call 352.793.4781
Thursday - Sunday, Oct. 20-23, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 30, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m. to midnight
Come to a frighteningly fun celebration of 'All Hallows Eve' as Fort Taylor is transformed into The Haunted Fort. Ghostly helpers will be around to guide visitors through a maze constructed in the Fort's casemates where they're guaranteed to encounter things that go bump in the night. There is a special kid’s day on Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults, $10 for military, $5 for children five to 12; children under five are free. For more information, call 305.879.0091.
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21 and 22, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
This is a haunting, screaming, terrifying fun time at the easily-accessible Beach Hammock Trail. Kids and parents will be guided through an adventurous series of spooky stations along the trail filled with ghouls and critters and frights, all with an environmental theme. Activities also include costumes, trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, trail rides and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children or $12 for a family of up to four. For more information, call 954.564.4521.
Saturday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A fun and adventure-filled family event focusing on fire safety and the importance of prescribed fire, in partnership with the Florida Division of Forestry, will begin with a firefighter relay and night burn demonstration followed by a haunted river trail, hayrides, campfire stories and marshmallow roasting with Smokey the Bear and a spooky maze. Boy Scouts will sell hot dogs, hamburgers and other refreshments, and family friendly activities include face painting and Jack o’ lantern judging at the Kimbell Center. Admission is $6 per car of up to eight people, Haunted Hayride is $1 per person, and the Swamp Buggy Trail Ride is $5 per person. For more information, call 561.745.5551.
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 29 and 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Gates open at 9 a.m.)
Saturday Oct. 29, 8 p.m. (Gates open at 7 p.m., Movie starts at 8 p.m., No entrance after 8:15 p.m.)
Bring a picnic to enjoy while watching a classic movie of this well-loved literary tale under the stars of The Barnacle. Tickets are $5 ages six and over, $3 ages 2-5, and children under two are free. For more information, call 305.442.6866.