From Christmas parades and live nativities to holiday concerts and festivals, Pasco County residents have a host of events in the weeks leading up to Christmas that are sure to get folks into the holiday spirit.
The next two weekends, however, will offer something a little different. Two holiday events lure visitors into the wildernesses of the county — the Wilderness Wonderland Celebration of Lights at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park in New Port Richey and the Holiday Express Train to Santa's Cabin at Crews Lake Wilderness Park in Shady Hills.
Although not quite "deep" into the wilderness, these events offer festive holiday fun for all ages, including those who typically forgo such events due to physical limitations and disabilities.
The Wilderness Wonderland Celebration of Lights is a drive-through event that opens as the sun goes down. The cabin camping area at the park will be decorated and will feature a display of dancing lights that are coordinated to holiday music (the music can be heard by tuning the car radio to 89.5 FM). Visitors should also keep their eyes open for snow flurries and visitors from the North Pole.
During daylight hours, visitors can stop by the Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad at Crews Lake Park. Children and adults of all ages can take unlimited old-fashioned train rides and visit and take pictures with Santa. Food vendors will be on site.
The Wilderness Wonderland Celebration of Lights will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 18 at Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey. Admission is $2 per vehicle. Call (727) 861-3033. The Holiday Express Train to Santa's Cabin will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18 at Crews Lake Wilderness Park, 16739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills. Admission is $6 per person. The park charges a $2 parking fee. Call (727) 639-7639.