As a kid, I always loved driving through Christmas, FL. Back then, it seemed like there were more houses that decorated year-round and it was always sort of special to see this tiny town that never stopped celebrating. I can remember visiting Fort Christmas Historical Park on a field trip in elementary school, but hadn’t been back again until recently when we took Foster on his first adventure! If you’ve never been to this little gem just outside of town, you should plan to make a trip soon. The restored buildings and recreated fort are what most people would expect to see when visiting, but there’s SO much more! This park is featured on our Orlando Park Crawl, so check that out if you haven’t already downloaded your free copy of the checklist to explore some of Orlando’s best parks!
The buildings are an awesome look into Central Florida’s past. My personal favorite was the school. Built in 1906 and used as an elementary school until 1959, the simple two-room schoolhouse is beautiful and surprisingly cool even in the summer heat (yay for cross-ventilation!).
The Partin Home and Barn are also gorgeous structures that are furnished just as they would have been when the Partin Family lived there.
Graham, of course, loved the rotary phone. Touching the items on display isn’t allowed, but I had to snap a picture before redirecting his attention. It was too cute!
The older structures on the property are just as beautiful and I was amazed at how well they’ve been preserved with the harsh heat and humidity we’ve got!
If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that the columns for the porch are made from palm trees! How cool is that!
Of course, the largest structure at the park is the replica of the 1837 fort. It’s relatively small, but it’s got some great exhibits on Florida history in the interior buildings. The best part? These buildings are air conditioned!
The park is super family friendly. Not only is it free to visit (and to park!), there are all sorts of areas that kids and adults will all enjoy. Graham loved seeing the farm animals and playing on the playground.
There are also some great picnic spots under shady trees, covered pavilions, and even basketball and tennis courts!
The fort also hosts regular events throughout the year (Cracker Christmas is super popular!), so make sure you check their website to see if anything is happening when you plan to visit!
Address: 1300 N. Fort Christmas Road, Christmas, FL 32709
Hours: Summer – 8AM to 8PM, Winter – 8AM to 6PM (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
- The property is LARGE. You’ll want to plan at least a few hours to explore.
- Pack a snack or lunch depending on what time of day you’ll visit. There aren’t any restaurants close to the park, so you’ll be at least a 15 minute drive from food if you don’t bring any.
- If you’re visiting in the warmer months, make sure you bring water to stay hydrated. Most of the buildings aren’t air conditioned.
- Leave the stroller at home if you can. Most of the grounds are unpaved and it’s much easier just to make the kids walk than to push them.
- Take your camera! It’s a beautiful natural area for photos with the kids!
I can’t recommend this park enough. Have you been lately? What was your favorite part?