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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Winter Waterland 2016 @ Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

Friday, December 9, 2016 - 6:00pm EST to Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 10:00pm EST

$6 for adults and $4 for kids ages 6-12. Kids five and under are free.

More Information:
352.592.5656

Located in the Southwest region at:
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
6131 Commercial Way
Weeki Wachee, FL 34606

The Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park are proud to present, Winter Waterland 2016. This popular annual Christmas event will be held December 9-10 & 16-17, 2016. The event is from 6 PM-10 PM each night. Admission is only $6 for adults, and $4 for kids ages 6-12. Kids five and under are FREE. Park passes are not accepted for this special event. Advanced tickets will go on-sale beginning December 3. They can only be purchased at the gate during business hours.

The event will include holiday themed shows from the World-Famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids. In addition, the event will include holiday lights, other holiday themed performances, a live nativity scene, petting zoo (extra fee), and of course, a photo opportunity with Santa Claus and his mermaid-elf helpers. A great inexpensive way to enjoy the holiday season with the family.

Lake Hall Sunrise Paddle @ Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 7:00am EST

Event is free with paid park admission.  Single occupant entries are $4.00 and vehicles with 2-8 occupants is $6.00

If a kayak rental is needed single kayaks are $15 for 4 hours and tandems are $20 for 4 hours.

More Information:
Ranger Station, 850-487-4556

Located in the Northwest region at:
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
3540 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32309

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park would like to invite visitors and their families to join a Park Ranger for a guided sunrise kayak tour. This guided kayaking tour will explore Lake Hall. Participants will see the beautiful sunrise and look for wildlife on the lake. Participants can bring their own kayaks or rent one from the park. All children must have an adult with them.  For more information please call: (850) 487-4556.

Additional Information:

Registration is required for this event.  Contact the Ranger Station at 850-487-4556.

Participation Requirements

1876 Cow Camp @ Lake Kissimmee State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 9:00am to 4:30pm EST

Free with regular park admission

More Information:
Park Service Specialist Andi Henry, 863-696-1112, Andrea.Henry@dep.state.fl.us

Located in the Central region at:
Lake Kissimmee State Park
14248 Camp Mack Rd.
Lake Wales , FL 33898

As you roam down the short trail to the Cow Camp, you will travel back in time to 1876. At the end of the trail, you will find a Florida Cow Hunter in a frontier camp along the route of a cattle drive. He will be cooking, making coffee, tending to the cattle or just resting up until the next roundup or cattle drive. The Cow Hunter will be very happy to share stories about what his life is like and the challenges he faces.

Additional Information:

Offsite Cow Camps are available for groups of 15 or more, schools, community organizations, special events, etc. Call the Ranger Station for more information.

Participation Requirements

 

Third Saturday Hike @ Colt Creek State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 9:00am EST

Regular park admission fees apply.

More Information:
(863) 815-6761

Located in the Central region at:
Colt Creek State Park
16000 SR 471
Lakeland, FL 33809

Join a Ranger guided hike on the 3rd Saturday of the month. A wonderful opportunity to meet a Park Ranger and learn of the habitats and history here at Colt Creek State Park.

Additional Information:

Please wear comfortable shoes, bring insect repellent, and water. 

Participation Requirements

Coffee in the Campground @ Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 9:00am to 11:00am EST

Free with regular park admission.

More Information:
Melody Brennan, (850) 927-2111 Melody.Brennan@dep.state.fl.us

Located in the Northwest region at:
Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
1900 E. Gulf Beach Drive
St. George Island, FL 32328

A Park Ranger or volunteer will give interpretive programs on many topics which may include Apalachicola Bay seafood, panhandle seashells, campfire cooking, flora and fauna of St. George Island, birding and sea turtles.

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Bringing a breakfast related dish is welcomed.

Coffee is provided by the Friends of Franklin County State Parks.

The Coffee in the Campground is held in the interpretive building in the family campground.

 

Kayaking for Beginners - Main Entrance @ Silver Springs State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 9:00am to 10:30am EST

$25.00 per person includes the cost of a single or tandem kayak rental. $2.00 per person park admission fee not included.

To purchase tickets in advance contact brian@silversprings.com

More Information:
Call the park concessionaire at 352-261-5842 or email brian@silversprings.com

Located in the Central region at:
Silver Springs State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470

Escape the hustle and bustle of every day life with a guided paddling tour on the Silver River. Participants will learn the basic skills and techniques of kayaking as well as how to stay safe on the river.

Additional Information:

Enter the park through the main entrance located at 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard (State Road 40).

For more information about concessions visit www.silversprings.com

Participation requirements.

Fort Taylor Living History Weekend @ Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 10:00am to 2:00pm EST

Normal park admission applies.

More Information:
Kevin Bowes, kevin.bowes@dep.state.fl.us (305) 292-6850

Located in the Southeast region at:
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
601 Howard England Way
Key West, FL 33040

Come celebrate Florida's rich history on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month at Historic Fort Taylor, America's Southernmost Civil War Fortress.  Join our re-enactors as they set up tents, clean their weapons and fire up the blacksmith shop.  Climb the circular stairways and experience the harbor view just as the soldiers did in 1861.  Walk down our cannon row and touch the actual cannons used to protect this Union stronghold.  Tours will be available and public interaction is strongly recommended. Re-enactor participation varies by weekend and weather conditions. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Park Services Specialist Kevin Bowes at kevin.bowes@dep.state.fl.us.

Critter Crafts for Kids @ Oscar Scherer State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 10:00am EST

There is no cost to participate other than normal park entrance fees for day-use visitors.

More Information:
Ranger Station 941-483-5956

Located in the Southwest region at:
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 South Tamiami Trail
Osprey, FL 34229

This weekly program features different arts and craft opportunities for kids.  A Volunteer will be on-hand in the Nature Center to instruct and provide the materials but parents are asked to remain with their child throughout the program; parents are welcome to participate as well.  Supplies and seating is limited, so participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Family Challenge Saturdays @ Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 9:00am to 2:00pm CST

Standard park admission fees apply however there are no additional fees for programming.

More Information:
Ranger Station 850-267-8330

Located in the Northwest region at:
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you to enjoy our Family Challenge Saturdays.  Each Saturday of the month we invite visitors to come and participate in our “Geocache Topsail “& “Topsail Photo Scavenger Hunt” programs.  You may choose to do one or both programs and return to the camp store to pick up a surprise at the end of your visit.  Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the camp store to pick up your program packets, you will need a gps or a smart phone capable of gps as well as a camera or smart phone for pictures. 

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Santa's Enchanted Spring - Main Entrance @ Silver Springs State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 11:00am to 2:00pm EST

Free with regular park admission. Children five and under admitted free.

More Information:
Call Silver Springs Management, LLC. at 352-261-5840

Located in the Central region at:
Silver Springs State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470

Skip the long lines at the mall and see Santa at Silver Springs. Get a photo taken with the beautiful springs as the backdrop.

Additional Information:

Enter the park through the main entrance located at 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard (State Road 40).

Concession services are provided through a public-private partnership with Silver Springs Management, LLC. For more information, visit their website.

Participation requirements.

Dune to Lagoon-Cross Barrier Island Plant Identification Stroll @ Sebastian Inlet State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm EST

Free

More Information:
Terry O'Toole 772-388-2750 or 321-984-4852

Located in the Central region at:
Sebastian Inlet State Park
9700 South Highway A.1.A.
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Join us for a leisurely stroll and learn about our sub-tropical, coastal plants.  Find out which plants are edible, have medical uses and are attractive for landscaping.  Please meet at the hammock trail one mile north of the bridge at the parking lot on west side of A1A.

Tram Tour @ Oscar Scherer State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 1:30pm EST

The cost to ride the tram is $5.00/person, plus normal entrance fees.

Children under 5 ride free with a paid adult.

More Information:
Ranger Station: (941) 483-5956

Located in the Southwest region at:
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 South Tamiami Trail
Osprey, FL 34229

Join our knowledgeable and enthusiastic Park Rangers on a tram tour through the park trails to discover the secrets of Oscar Scherer State Park! Parking is available at the Nature Center and participants are asked to meet at the Nature Center promptly at 1:30 p.m. Seating on the tram is on a first-come, first-served basis, limited to 25 people. Make sure to arrive early to reserve the best seats - accommodations for two wheelchairs are also available.

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Beach Walk @ Little Talbot Island State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm EST

No reservations are necessary and the program is free with $5 vehicle entrance fee.

More Information:
Ranger Station, 904-251-2320

Located in the Northeast region at:
Little Talbot Island State Park
12157 Heckscher Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32226

Join a park ranger for a walk on the beach as they explain the importance of undeveloped beach habitat, including many interesting facts about sea creatures and common shells and fossils found on the shoreline.

Additional Information:

Bring sunscreen and water. The program will take place at North Beach pavilion area on Little Talbot Island State Park.

Participation Requirements

Sunset Kayak Tour - Main Entrance @ Silver Springs State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 3:00pm to 5:15pm EST

$35 per person includes kayak rental, single or tandem. $30 for students with valid student ID. $2.00 per person park admission fee not included.

To purchase tickets in advance contact brian@silversprings.com

More Information:
Call the park concessionaire at 352-261-5842 or email brian@silversprings.com

Located in the Central region at:
Silver Springs State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470

Paddle into the sunset by kayak on the scenic Silver River. Before it gets dark you will visit springs with names such as the Blue Grotto, the Garden of Eden, Fisherman's Paradise, and the Alligator Hole. On the way back to the launch, west along the river, the sun will be setting behind the headsprings.

Additional Information:

Enter the park through the main entrance located at 5656 East Silver Springs Boulevard (State Road 40).

For more information about concessions visit www.silversprings.com

Participation requirements.

Ranger Program - Museum Area @ Silver Springs State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:00pm EST

Free with regular park admission.

More Information:
Call the ranger station 352-236-7148 ext. 4

Located in the Central region at:
Silver Springs State Park
1425 NE 58th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470

Every Saturday, a ranger will present a program on a different topic at the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. Examples of programs include "Weavers in the woods," "What's that sound?," "Pioneer survival," as well as programs on topics such as fire, gopher tortoises and more. For the specific topic or program for the coming weekend, please contact the ranger station.

Additional Information:

Enter the park through the Camping & Museum Entrance, 1425 NE 58th Avenue, (also known as State Road 35 or Baseline Rd.) to access the Silver River Museum.

For more information about the Silver River Museum visit their website.

Participation requirements.

Historic Sunset River Tour @ Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm EST

Everyone 13 years old and up:     $10.00

Children ages 3-12:                     $ 7.00

More Information:
Park Services Specialist Jeff Hugo, 850-561-7286

Located in the Northwest region at:
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
465 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs, FL 32327

Wakulla Springs State Park will host a ranger-led river boat journey on the Wakulla River as the sun begins its descent over the treetops. The historic sunset river cruise diverges from the conventional tour as it focuses on taking visitors back in time to reveal the history of the Wakulla River from the ingenuity of Paleo-Indians to some of the glorious moments of the Lodge at Wakulla Springs. The river’s serene settings and accommodating wildlife garnish the event.  Guests should come prepared for the early evening chill and may also wish to plan ahead for a romantic dinner in the Lodge Restaurant.

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Meet at the Waterfront Visitors Center.

Space is limited.  Please call 850-561-7286 to reserve a space for the tour.

Celebration of Lights @ Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:30pm EST to Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 9:00pm EST

A suggested donation of $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 3 through 12 is suggested. Children age 2 and under are admitted free.

More Information:
Susan Strawbridge, Park Services Specialist; (352) 628-5445, ext. 1002

Located in the Northeast region at:
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. (US 19)
Homosassa, FL 34446

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, along with the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, will host its annual Christmas Celebration of Lights, a nine-evening event, from Saturday, Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, and again on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. The park will open at 5:30 p.m. on these evenings and remain open until 9 p.m.

The Celebration of Lights will feature an all new synchronized light and sound display in the Garden of the Springs by Sebastian Hawes. Joe Dube will host and present special appearances by our nightly entertainment. Holiday lights, decorations, music and refreshments will create the perfect setting for this holiday wonderland. The Wildside Café will be offering a selection of refreshments. The Friends will also be selling popcorn in the Garden of the Springs.  A variety of entertainment will be provided nightly in the Garden of the Springs.

Additional Information:

 Participation Requirements

 

 

Celebration of Lights @ Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:30pm EST to Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 9:45pm EST

Suggested donations: $5.00 adults; $2.00 children ages 3 through 12; ages 2 and under free

More Information:
Susan Strawbridge; (352) 628-5445, ext. 1002

Located in the Northeast region at:
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. (US 19)
Homosassa, FL 34446

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, along with the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, will host its annual Christmas Celebration of Lights, a nine-evening event, from Saturday, Dec. 17 through Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, and again on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. The park will open at 5:30 p.m. on these evenings and remain open until 9 p.m.

The Celebration of Lights will feature an all new synchronized light and sound display in the Garden of the Springs by Sebastian Hawes. Joe Dube will host and present special appearances by our nightly entertainment. Holiday lights, decorations, music and refreshments will create the perfect setting for this holiday wonderland. The Wildside Café will be offering a selection of refreshments. The Friends will also be selling popcorn in the Garden of the Springs.  A variety of entertainment will be provided nightly in the Garden of the Springs.

 

Additional Information:

Transportation available from US 19 Visitor Center parking area

Participation Requirements

Eden Gardens State Park Christmas Candlelight Open House @ Eden Gardens State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm CST

The event is free to the public with donations gladly accepted.

More Information:
Administrative Office 850-267-8320

Located in the Northwest region at:
Eden Gardens State Park
181 Eden Gardens Road
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Eden Gardens State Park and Friends of Eden Gardens would like to invite you to its annual Christmas Candlelight Open House. The Wesley house will be open to the public for free tours to show off its holiday finery throughout. All the windows bear boughs of holly and wreaths and each of the rooms are beautifully decorated for the season. The outside garden paths are lined with candlelit luminaries for your enjoyment. Enjoy some hot cider and cookies while listening to holiday music provided by local musician's. This is the perfect way to share the holiday spirit with family and friends.

Additional Information:

Participant Requirements

Christmas Carols In The Park @ Paynes Creek Historic State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm EST

After hours, no fee

More Information:
863-375-4717

Located in the Southwest region at:
Paynes Creek Historic State Park
888 Lake Branch Road
Bowling Green, FL 33834

This is an annual event that will feature local carolers singing many Christmas holiday favorites. Visitors can also enjoy hot or cold beverages and lots of delicious baked foods. There will also be event favorites to enjoy; the Winter Wonderland with falling snow, Candy Cane Lane consisting of a leisure stroll through dazzling Christmas lights that adorns the candy canes. And, Santa will be there too, checking his lists (twice) and taking toy request for children of all ages. Bring your own phones/camera to take photos with Santa.    

Campfire Program @ Oscar Scherer State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 7:00pm EST

This after hours program is open to registered campers only and free to participate.

More Information:
Ranger Station 941-483-5956

Located in the Southwest region at:
Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 South Tamiami Trail
Osprey, FL 34229

Come sit around the campfire and find out about the amazing world around you.  This informative family-friendly program takes place in the best classroom---the outdoors with the theme changing weekly! The wheelchair accessible campfire circle is located between sites 35 and 36. Held in the Nature Center if inclement weather.  

Additional Information:

Participation Requirements

Santa's Twilight 5K Race @ Lake Louisa State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 7:00pm to 10:00pm EST

Race fees are listed on the Sommer Sports registration web-page. Admission to the park is $5.00 per vehicle. You will have an opportunity to purchase an entrance pass during the pre-packet pickup which will help expedite your entry into the park before the race. Car-pooling is recommended due to limited parking.

More Information:
Sommer Sports (352) 394-1320/Lake Louisa State Park (352) 394-3969

Located in the Central region at:
Lake Louisa State Park
7305 U.S. Highway 27
Clermont, FL 34714

Celebrate the Christmas Season by joining Sommer Sports and the Friends of Lake Louisa State Park, Inc. for a fun-filled night of walking, jogging or running, as you make your way down a glow-stick lit paved surface to complete the 3.1- mile timed event. As you cross the elaborate finish line you will get a chance to Hi-Five Santa and receive a super cool sparkling finisher medal. Cost of registration includes a colorful event T-shirt, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. The cookies are reserved for registered participants but the Friends of Lake Louisa State Park, Inc. will be selling cookies and cocoa at a very reasonable rate for spectators to enjoy. For more information and to register for this festive event go to: http://sommersports.com/Events/Running/Santas-Twilight-5K-Clermont.

 

 

Additional Information:

Due to the construction on US Highway 27 in front of the park we recommend allowing a little more time than usual to arrive. The race start is approximately 3 miles further in from the entrance to the park. The speed limit in the park is 25 miles per hour, therefore allow your-self at least 10 minutes to drive to the race start once you enter the park.

Participation Requirements

Park After Dark Program: Night Hike @ Little Manatee River State Park

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 7:00pm EST

Park admission fees apply.  Program is free with paid park entry.  Registered campers attend for free.

Vehicle entrance (2-8 people) $5.00

Vehicle entrance (1 person) $4.00

Individuals on foot or bicycle $2.00

Please use the honor system at the Ranger Station to pay park entrance fees after regular operating hours.

 

More Information:
Ranger Station 813-671-5005

Located in the Southwest region at:
Little Manatee River State Park
215 Lightfoot Rd.
Wimauma, FL 33598

Explore a side of the park rarely seen with a night hike in the park.  As we rise and set with the sun, another amazing world of nocturnal animals and night-blooming plants become alive in the park after dark!  Let your senses be your guide as we explore the sounds, sights, and smells of this amazing nocturnal world. 

This program is the last of our "Park After Dark" series this year, a series of programs that celebrate the night!  Join us every 3rd Saturday of the month, August-December, as we explore a different nocturnal theme.  Join us for one, or for all, as we experience the park after dark!

Additional Information:

Directions to the program will be posted at the Ranger Station on the day of the program.  Use the honor system to pay after hours entrance fees, then follow signs from the Ranger Station.

The night hike will be an easy walk for a distance of less than 1 mile.  Some sections of the trail will have uneven terrain, soft sand, and possibly some patchy mud.  Please wear comfortable, close-toed shoes.  Participants are encouraged to bring insect repellant, water, and a flashlight or headlamp (with red light lens option preferred). 

Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility.  If you need special accommodations to make your full participation possible, please contact the Ranger Station in advance.  Up to 2 weeks may be required to make specific arrangements.  For detailed participation requirements for this program, please see the EEC Park After Dark:  Night Hike.

Most Park After Dark Programs will take place in light rain or moonshine.  In cases of severe inclement weather, please contact the Ranger Station 8am-5pm the day of the program to confirm cancellations.