I love the song “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”, but here in Florida there is VERY little chance of a snowy wonderland actually happening (especially with the crazy winter we’ve been having). So, the only way to get a slight taste of a “Winter Wonderland” here is to visit one of the many attractions around the state with LED snowflakes and bubble solution snow. We’re spending Christmas in Tallahassee this year; so we visited the light show at Dorothy B. Oven Park- Tallahassee’s very own “Winter Wonderland”
It’s a local tradition to drive or walk through the park in December. I visited as a child, and I was happily surprised this year, as they have added a lot and greatly improved the display. Nowadays I’d compare it to VERY scaled down version of Callaway Gardens. If you haven’t been to Callaway Gardens at Christmas- check out the link below- you will be amazed with their light display.
Dorothy B. Oven Park has a unique history. The property dates back to 1820’s as it was part of a land grant issued to the Marquis de Lafayette (The famous French general who aided The American Army during the Revolutionary War) by the United States Congress. Later on it became a Camellia nursery and was donated to the city in the 1980’s by the Oven Family. The home that was built there in the 1930’s is still there and the gardens designed around it are kept in wonderful condition and are open to the public. The house can be rented for private parties and weddings.
My youngest is currently obsessed with Rudolph. He loves the movie and says “Ru doof” in his tiny little voice whenever he sees anything that looks remotely like a reindeer. They had a cute little area that was the reindeer barn. It had little red barn doors, hay for the children to climb on and light up reindeer- including Rudolph of course! He was simply mesmerized when he saw Rudolph at the park. I lucked out and snapped this sweet picture of him gazing delightfully up at “Ru doof”.
My oldest had a wonderful time in the toyland area. They have a large train, with blinking lights on the wheels so that it looks like it moving. He had a blast playing and around the train with lots of other children.
Here are some of the other vignettes in toyland. My boys really enjoyed being to run around the lights and get up close, they had so much fun!
My favorite part was the lighting along the driveway through the park. The driveway is lined with tall and (probably) very old Camellias and Live Oaks. They make a canopy over the driveway with Spanish Moss dripping from the trees. During Christmas the trees are decorated with snowflakes, icicles, and light balls. The Camellias were blooming, bursting with bright pink flowers that you could just make out from the glow of the lights. It was the perfect Florida Christmas- beautiful winter blooms and twinkling lights.
So, our Winter Wonderland might not have been snowy, and there certainly weren’t any talking snow men; but it was wonderful just the same. If you are ever in Tallahassee around Christmas time be sure to put Dorothy B. Oven Park on your to do list!
Here is some information about the park and other holiday happenings around Tallahassee: Winter Nights, Holiday Lights
Here is the link to Callaway Gardens Christmas: Fantasy in Lights