The holidays are here and NOLA always does it up big! Two of my favorite things about this time of year are snow and fruitcake. I’m kidding. It rarely snows in New Orleans and fruitcake is not one of my favorites….is it anyone’s favorite? However, one of the most enduring and popular holiday attractions during this season is Celebration in the Oaks. It’s a New Orleans holiday must-see featuring more than 600,000 multi-colored lights displayed among 25 acres of City Park’s natural beauty.
More than 165,000 visitors walk among the oaks every year experiencing the colorful and creative light displays. You meander around the pathways at your own pace – so there’s no rush. If you don’t like large crowds it’s best to visit Monday through Thursday.
The Living Wall and Magic Fountain
My favorite display is the stunning Living Wall and Magic Fountain. The display’s purple and magenta colors don’t exactly scream holidays, but it’s a reminder to slow down during this busy time. Be sure to get close enough to hear the bubbling sounds of the fountain. It’s so peaceful. If I ever win the lottery, I’m getting a replica of this in my backyard!
Christmas on the Bayou
And because we’re in bayou country, it’s only fitting that we have Santa in his pirogue pulled by alligators instead of reindeer! There also a Cajun Night Before Christmas display nearby.
Perfect Holiday Card Photo Op
Gather the family together and strike a pose in front of the 30-foot Poinsettia Tree in the Conservatory for the perfect family Christmas card photo.
One of the new attractions this year, is a Hanukkah Celebration featuring a giant menorah complete with spinning dreidles. I couldn’t resist singing the dreidle song.
Holiday Beauty Dripping from the Oaks
The beautiful dripping snow display covers two ancient live oaks trees created with 50,000 LED bulbs. It’s a popular picture taking spot too.
Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
Don’t forget to stop by and say hi to Mr.Bingle. He’s a big guy in this neck of the woods. Most everyone I know has at least one Mr.Bingle ornament hanging on their tree.
Take the Holiday Mini Train to See More Lights
You can also purchase an optional ticket for a two-mile train ride around the park to see more light exhibits, including Dinosaur World with a giant T-Rex and a French Quarter light display.
There’s more to do then just walk about- the amusement park with it’s historic carousel and Storyland are open for the kiddies. You can take in nightly performances featuring school choirs, bands, dance groups and bell ringers, sip on hot chocolate and take your photo with Santa.
It takes a team of volunteers working eight months to create the magic of Celebration in the Oaks. Many of the holiday decorations you’ll see as you walk about were handmade by members of the Greater New Orleans Garden Clubs of the Metropolitan Area.
What You Need To Know
- Celebration in the Oaks is open now nightly until January 1, 2017 Sunday-Thursday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Before you go, visit their site to confirm. You can also buy tickets online.
- The attraction is closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve but open Christmas night.
- Admission is $9 per person. Children under 3 are free.
- The GPS address is 7 Victory Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112
- There’s free parking.
- Last entry is 20 minutes prior to closing.
New Orleans is a great place to spend the holidays. I hope you put a visit to Celebration in the Oaks on your holiday “to do list”.