Festival of Lights, Silver Springs
The Silver Springs theme park just outside Ocala puts on a beautiful display of lights from December 16 until the end of the year. At dusk each day a maze of more than a million lights transform the gardens into a magical place with twinkling topiaries and dozens of animated scenes. Strolling Dickensian carol singers, storytellers and holiday shopping in the specialty stores makes this a very festive event. Santa arrives nightly in his Silver River Sleigh and there is a famous lighted boat parade up the river.
Entrance is free with a daytime admission ticket, or $10.99 for adults from 4pm until closing at 8pm.
St Augustine Night of Lights
St Augustine also lights up throughout December and January with a grand holiday celebration of lights that is well worth visiting. Two million lights make the old Spanish Colonial buildings, parks and bayfront light up at night. St Augustine is a delightful place to visit over the holidays. Browse the attractive gift shops, take the trolley ride around the buildings or spend time at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction. You can read more about the city in the dedicated article about St Augustine featured below.
Mount Dora Christmas Events
Historic Mount Dora with its Victorian architecture has streets lined with gift shops, antique shops, tea rooms and bakeries. Every window is dressed with beautiful Christmas trees and seasonal decorations. The town also puts on several events for visitors to this lakeside community.
Nightly at 6.30pm there is a fairytale Christmas Lights Boat Tour on the Rusty Anchor which can be found moored at the public docks. There are several musical events to get shoppers in the festive spirit with concerts by the Lake Concert Band and a fabulous Holiday Lights performance by the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra at St Patrick’s Catholic Church. Christmas in the Park features a delivery of real snow with sledding and games in Donnelly Park.
The historic Lakeside Inn offers Christmas Tea on Tuesday December 13 and a varied menu on all other days. It also puts on a fine Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day Buffet. A seasonal performance of “The Child” is performed on various evenings from December 16-23 at the Mount Dora Community Building.
With Christmas lights around Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares, a drive around the area is a memorable experience. Alternatively, book a seat on the Inland Lakes Railway for a trip around the lakes in historic railway cars with a mobile restaurant.
Wherever you are, have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the many local events that are part of the Advent season.
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Days Out in Central Florida from The Villages