Celebration in the Oaks, the annual winter lights display at New Orleans City Park, opens this week, marking its 30th anniversary! As one of the most spectacular holiday lights festivals in the South, with more than 165,000 visitors to the month-long event, it takes a little magic and a ton of work to make this extraordinary display come to life.
First opening in 1898, the two-mile miniature train in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park is one of City Park’s most popular attractions. The track circles the park’s oldest terrain, winding along City Park Ave., where you can see some of the oldest Live Oak trees, including the McDonogh Oak! This oak tree is estimated to be over 600 years old. It is named for philanthropist John McDonogh who acquired Allard Plantation at a sheriff’s sale in 1845. Like any magical place in the park, you may be surprised by what you see on your ride!
Summer is just beginning, and City Park is already alive with plenty of activity throughout its 1,300-acre grounds. There is no way to grow bored this summer while endless possibilities are waiting in the Park.
Have you ever hiked to the highest point in New Orleans? Climb the hill called Laborde Mountain in Couturie Forest one afternoon. Want to put your seasonal cooking skills to use? Grab some friends and pack a delicious spread to have a picnic on the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn. Interested in lending a helping hand? Sign up as a volunteer for a Super Saturday to do projects such as painting and planting. Read on for more fantastic and FREE things to do in YOUR City Park.
Less than 100 Historic Wooden Carousels remain in the United States, and New Orleans City Park has one! On November 19th, 1905, the City Park Improvement Association board reported that the “Flying Horses” privilege was awarded to Mr. Bartholomew A. Murphy for five years beginning January 1, 1906, and this privilege with Mr. Murphy extended through 1928. Due to his great track record with operating the first Wooden Carousel in New Orleans at Audubon Park, Mr. Murphy won the bid over three other submissions.
Presented by Friends of City Park
We all know New Orleans City Park—the 1,300 acre, majestic urban park at the heart of New Orleans. The Park is home to the largest collection of Live Oaks in the world and is larger than New York’s Central Park. But do you know Friends of City Park? Friends is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that is dedicated to raising funds for capital improvement projects in City Park.
Friends of City Park was established in 1979, due to the lack of local and state funding received at the time for the park. This support organization was created to initiate programs and stage events to increase public awareness and support. The first project to be funded was the restoration of the formal Rose Garden and the erection of a fence around what is known today as the New Orleans City Park Botanical Garden. Friends of City Park is vital to the park’s growth and has given millions of dollars to City Park for various different projects.