Fort Christmas Historical Park - Janet Bellacera

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     Now this gorgeous Orange County, FL park is not only for kids, but for everyone.  Fort Christmas Historical Park features a replica of Fort Christmas, an 1837 fort that was built in 1976 and completed in 1977.  The Fort was built by Orange County Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Fort Christmas Historical Society as a  bicentennial project.  The original fort sat about a mile North of this site on a small creek.  This fort was only one of 200 forts built during the Second Seminole Indian War from 1835-1842.  The original fort was built by over 2000 U.S. Army Soldiers and Alabama Volunteers.  Once inside of the fort walls you will find 2, two-story blockhouses full of war memorabilia.  Everything from guns, bullets, maps, lanterns and uniforms can be found here.  I have visited with my Dad and this is his favorite place to stop, the collection of antique guns are very nicely displayed and the vintage uniforms takes you back to an era long ago.      

     This is by far one of my most favorite parks.  I've been taking my kids to this park for well over 15 years and it never gets old.  Even till today my girls love exploring the replica of Fort Christmas as well as the 7 other restored pioneer homes that preserve the "Cracker" style architecture that was so popular from the 1870's through the 1930's.  The oldest home at the park is the Simmons 2 House.  This is a primitive one room home built in the 1880's.  What I love most about this park is that you can walk through all of the homes and see first hand how pioneers lived so long ago.  Every home is decorated and filled with period artifacts complete with clothes, toys, tools and furniture.  You will also find a restored 1906 school house and lunch room along with a historic post office.  Don't forget to stop by the other homes, the barn, and visit with the farm animals.  

     Now while Fort Christmas is an amazing place to brush up on some Florida history.  It is also a beautiful park complete with large lush Oak trees perfect for picnicking under.  The park also has cute playground for the little ones, tennis courts, basketball courts and a baseball field and the best part about all of that, is that this park is completely free.  There is no charge to get in, including the fort and the pioneer homes.  Now, periodically through out the year they will host events that do require a small fee.  Some of the more popular events include the Annual Cracker Christmas and the Bluegrass Festival.  Be sure to check the website for the calendar of events and prices for each event.

Summer hours: 8am-8pm Sunday - Saturday

Winter: 8am-6pm Sunday - Saturday

Museum & Pioneer Homes: Tuesday - Sunday 9am- 4pm

Historic structures closed on Mondays and County holidays.

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