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~From glowing lights to caroling choirs, enjoy the holidays in Florida's state parks~

Decorated Stephen Foster Museum

Holiday lights decorate the museum at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

TALLAHASSEE - The Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service invites Floridians and visitors to celebrate the holiday season in one of Florida’s 160 award-winning state parks.
“Many state parks host holiday events with an array of lights, decorations and activities throughout December,” said DEP’s Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Take a moment to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays by bringing your family to spend time in nature and enjoy the festivities in Florida’s state parks.”
Featuring millions of bright lights draped across beautiful landscapes, staff and volunteers have dedicated their time and holiday spirit to fill …the Real Florida with cheer. From visits with Santa to holiday carols and movies, these state park exhibits are the perfect venue to celebrate the holiday season.
Here is a sample of holiday events in Florida State Parks:
Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park, White Springs
Dec. 2-31, each evening until 9 p.m. (excluding Christmas Night)
Drive through the park to see more than 4 million lights highlighting majestic oak trees, the antebellum museum and the gingerbread house village. The centerpiece of the park’s light display is the Carillon Tower, illuminating the night sky as holiday music rings from its bells. This month-long celebration will include refreshments, live holiday music, horse drawn wagon and carriage rides and a visit with Santa on Dec. 24. Admission is $2 per person. Call (386) 397-4331 for more information.
Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 16 & 17, 4 - 8 p.m.
See a vibrant light display and complete children’s crafts. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos and gifts. Free admission. Call (850) 492-1595 for more information.
Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, Bushnell
Saturday, Dec. 17, 6:30 - 9 p.m.
Step back to a simpler time of celebrating Christmas on the Florida Frontier. Join us as we make and play with home-made toys, create corn husk dolls, dip candles, listen to old-time music, sing carols, decorate a Christmas tree, make Christmas crafts, and participate in an old-fashioned taffy pull. Participants will get to sample taffy and other frontier holiday treats. Admission is $3 per vehicle of up to eight people. Call (352) 793-4781 for more information.
The Barnacle Historic State Park, Coconut Grove
Monday, Dec. 19, Gates open at 6 p.m.; Movie starts at 7 p.m.; No admission after 7:15 p.m.
Bring the whole family to The Barnacle for the holiday movie “The Polar Express” starring Tom Hanks. Chairs, blankets and coolers welcome. Flashlights recommended. Pajamas encouraged. $5 age 6 and up; $3 age 2 to 5; free under 2. Call (305) 442-6866 for more information.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka
Thursday, Dec. 22, 7 - 8 p.m.
Celebrate holiday songs in the park with the Lake Brantley High School Chorus. The Patriot Singers and the Voices of Freedom, the school’s two most advanced choirs, will sing holiday carols at the spring. Flashlights, blankets, chairs are recommended. Free admission. Call (407) 884-2008 for more information.
Visit the website for a complete list of special events in Florida’s state parks.