Wekiva Island’s Winter Wonderland returns with month of holiday festivities

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Wekiva Island’s beloved holiday tradition, Winter Wonderland, is back and growing—literally.

This year’s event will feature a 30-foot centerpiece for its sparkling Christmas tree forest, up from 20 feet last year. The month-long celebration of the season packs in holiday cheer and special events from Dec. 2 through Christmas Day.

This is the seventh year for Winter Wonderland, which delights guests with nightly “snow” flurries, hundreds of glittering lights, the dazzling Christmas tree forest, regular visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and a hefty dose of special holiday events. The fun kicks off with Santa and Mrs. Claus lighting the giant tree in a ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 2.

“Winter Wonderland has truly become a holiday tradition for many people here in Central Florida,” said Carrie Vanderhoef, manager. “We are so proud that we can be part of their holiday memories and bring some cheer to Central Florida. It’s been amazing to watch this event grow.”

Other events include:

  • Breakfast with Santa—Guests can get some time with the big man himself, plus enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet. 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 10. $17.95 for adults, $12.95 for children 10 and under.
  • VIP Party—It’s the holiday party of the year! Soak in the season with endless eats, drinks and fun at this exclusive event. 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 17. $70 for single tickets, $120 for couples.
  • Visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus—The head elf himself will make an appearance at Wekiva Island every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 23.
  • Visit from The Grinch—It’s the real deal! The holiday movie comes to life with a visit from The Grinch, Cindy Lou Who and the Whoville Elves. 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 18.
  • Stories with Mrs. Claus—Kids can enjoy a cookie and a cup of hot cocoa while Mrs. Claus reads some beloved Christmas stories. 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. $12 per child.
  • Letters to Santa—Children can drop their holiday wishes in a letter to Santa in a special mailbox at Wekiva Island, and Santa will read them live on Facebook. 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19.
  • Outdoor holiday movies—What’s cozier than snuggling up and enjoying a seasonal favorite? Wekiva Island will be showing a movie every Sunday, plus serving hot cocoa and popcorn for purchase. 7 p.m. Dec. 4, 11 and 18.
  • Wekiva River Sleigh Riders—Take a sleigh ride, Florida style! Enjoy a 35-minute ride along the river. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. $20 per adult, $10 per child. Limit six guests.

Wekiva Island will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 24 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 25.

In the spirit of the season, Wekiva Island will also make giving back part of its celebrations. The Island will host a toy drive for Toys for Tots from Nov. 25 to Dec. 11, with guests at Breakfast with Santa encouraged to bring a gift to donate.

Finally, Wekiva Island will be offering complimentary gift wrapping. Guests can bring their gifts to the Island, and while they enjoy the Winter Wonderland festivities, Wekiva’s elves will wrap everything for free.

Wekiva Island’s Winter Wonderland is open to the public. There is a $2 entrance fee, and some events require an additional fee and advanced registration.

For more information, visit www.wekivaisland.com.