I’ve lived in Baton Rouge my entire life and have somehow managed not to make it to Celebration in the Oaks until this year. While I am positive I would have enjoyed it in years past because I love Christmas, it really was something special with little ones. Here’s why you should make the trip to NOLA for this event:
It’s fun for the whole family.
I can say this with confidence after going this past weekend and seeing people of all ages laughing and having a good time. Grandmas and Grandpas tagged along with the kiddos, and I even saw several teenagers there for a date night. If you aren’t familiar with the area, this is set up in New Orleans City Park, near the New Orleans Museum of Art and the New Orleans Botanical Gardens.
If walking around looking at lights isn’t your style, you can go for the rides. There’s a small coaster, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a train, plus lots more. I’m going to be honest, just looking at all the rides made me nostalgic for times in my childhood spent at Fun Fair Park (anybody remember that?!).
All of us, including the baby, rode the train and had a great time. The train takes you around the perimeter of the entire park where you get to see a very interesting display of lights, including a Christmas-colored T-Rex!
You Can’t Resist Storyville
Storyville has to be one of my favorite little parks in Louisiana just because of the sheer cuteness of the place. This is part of City Park but is set up separately with slides and playhouses as scenes from familiar nursery rhymes. And for Celebration in the Oaks, every playhouse and tree in Storyville is decked out in lights. I love getting a two for one – we are getting to play and expend energy while also being in awe of Christmas lights. Perfect!
While there, you can have your kids take their photo with Santa! This is not included in the cost of admission, and packages range anywhere from $15-$50. We didn’t take advantage of this because when my kids meet Santa, they’re going to have to be wearing their matching and carefully coordinated outfits. Mama did not know Santa would be there, so she didn’t plan accordingly. And that’s why I’m including Santa in this list. Just a heads up, mamas. You’re welcome.
It’ll help you find your Christmas spirit.
If you’re feeling more “Bah Humbug!” than “Heaux Heaux Heaux,” might I strongly suggest you go ASAP! I don’t know what it was exactly about the experience that brought out my Christmas spirit, but it did. I think it can’t be pinned down to any one thing in particular but the night as a whole. Seeing the lights and the huge number of decorated Christmas trees while hearing Christmas carols really does help to find your Christmas spirit, but seeing it through my children’s eyes made the drive down and back home so worth it.
While we were walking around, it didn’t take any time at all for me to realize that this is something that I want to do with my kids every single year. There’s enough there for it to still be fun for all of us, even when they’re “big kids.” My favorite childhood memories involving Christmas are traditions that we did every year as a family – riding around looking at lights, “the hunt” for a Christmas tree, seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve. All of these things I want to continue with my children but I think it’s important to make new traditions together. Celebration in the Oaks is going to be a part of our Christmas traditions.
Make it a weekend!
While Celebration in the Oaks was certainly one of my favorites, it is definitely not the only holiday fun you can do in New Orleans, which is really only a short drive away. If you’re looking for other Christmas to-dos in New Orleans for a fun weekend away, check out the New Orleans Moms Blog Holiday Guide for a list of holiday events and attractions to get your planning started!