What’s Happening in North Central Florida?
Looking for something to do with the family? This March is packed with events throughout north central Florida, and with spring break just around the corner, you may need an idea or two or three just to help you along the way. Pack the kids and their friends in your car and hit one of the festivals in your area. Check out this list for some great ideas:
March 3rd-5th 2017 Events in North Central Florida
Florida Springs Fest
It is no secret that I’m a spring hunter– or spring obsessed, so you may see me and the kids at one of these Florida Spring events. It’s a great place to combine fun with some learning (yes, one of the kids just groaned back there!). We are so lucky to have these crystal clear springs in our state- but it’s up to us and future generations to keep them that way.
Learn more about our unique spring system right next to the largest artesian spring in the world: Mammoth Spring- the head spring of the Silver River at Silver Springs State Park. You can ride the glass-bottom boats over the springs or take a walk on one of their many nature trails. Art shows, vendors, kid zone. Who knows, you may become a spring hunter yourself!
When: March 4th-March 5th 2017 10am-4pm
Where: 1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470
Cost: $2 per person
The First Ocala Culinary Festival
Who doesn’t like food, right? This adult only event (there’s wine!) in Ocala takes place this weekend- good food & awesome chefs (my husband is one of them!) Leave the kids with a sitter and have a date-night or a girl’s night out. Learn the Art of Making Cocktails, Italian Wines, and how some of the master chefs created extraordinary culinary masterpieces. My mouth is watering already. Oh yeah, and there’s wine!
When: March 1st-5th 2017
Where: Various locations throughout Ocala, from the Appleton Museum (Chef’s at the Museum 2/3/17 6.30 pm) to La Cuisine Restaurant (The Art of Cocktails 2/4/17 3:30-5pm) to Tuscawilla Park on NE 9th Street(Grand Tasting 2/5/17 2-6pm)
Cost: prices vary per event. ( $65 Italian Wine Seminar; $125 Chefs at the Museum; $175 Grand Tasting)
This event is NOT for children
Plowing Up the Past at Dudley Farm Historic State Park.
Do you ever wish your kids could see how life was before the internet? Take them to Dudley Farm! Step back through time at this 1930’s era farm during the planting season. Historic tools, period costumes and hands-on learning experiences in farm life. This will help your kids (and you) appreciate the modern conveniences of today!
When: March 3rd-4th 2017 9am-3pm
Where: 18730 W. Newberry Rd, Newberry, Florida 32669
Cost: $5 carload (2-8 persons)
Dudley Farm will also be hosting a Kids Farm Day event on March 11th 2017 (10am-2pm)
71st Annual Azalea Festival
Located in historic downtown Palatka, this 2-day event starts with a parade Saturday morning at 10 am. Vendors, food, and art, all right next to the St. Johns River. And if you get bored, you can always pop over to nearby Ravine Gardens State Park, ooh and ahh over their gorgeous blooming azaleas and check out the mini- Azalea Fest they are holding on Saturday!
When: March 4th-March 5th 2017
Where: 900 St. Johns Ave, Palatka, FL 32177
Cost: Free (woohoo!)
Azalea Days at Ravine Gardens State Park
When: March 4th 2017 10am to 5pm
Where: 1600 Twigg Street, Palatka, FL 32177
Cost: $5 carload (2-8 persons)
Also, this weekend kicks off the Annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. If you’ve ever eaten a real Plant City strawberry, you know what real flavor is!
The Floral City Strawberry Festival only lasts for the first weekend. Smaller & less expensive, but still berry nice.
*If you are in Plant City with any Jurassic Park fans, be sure to check out Dinosaur World– life-sized dinos in a swamp setting. Boardwalks to keep your feet dry. Not a large place, but neat.
March 10th-12th 2017 Events in North Central Florida
The Nature Coast Civil War Reenactment
Located at Kirby Farm in Williston. The battle runs between 2 to 3 pm and the train on the farm is involved, but before the battle gets underway, take a ride on the Lost Train through civil war history.
When: March 11th-12th 2017 Gates open at 10am
Where: Kirby Farm 19630 NE 30th St, Williston, FL 32696
Cost: $10 ages 3 and up (includes train ride). Additional fee for amusement rides
- If you are in Williston, be sure to check out the Japanese Botanical Gardens at Cedar Lakes, Woods & Gardens. Waterfalls, bridges, koi ponds and all inside a limestone pits! Most people don’t even realize it’s there!
- Diving or Snorkel Fanatic? Descend into the depths of a prehistoric underwater cave at Devil’s Den.
Santos Fat Tire Festival
Located near Belleview. Bicycle enthusiasts unite to ride the uber-cool vortex at Santos Bike Trail, compare the latest mountain bikes and biking gear of 2017 with the top mountain biking manufacturers and bike companies and hang with other like-minded cycling minds. Bring your own bike and try one of Santos famous bike trails.
When: March 10th-12th 2017
Where: Santos Trailhead 3080 SE 80th Street, Belleview, FL 34480
Cost: Free!! (Fee for Saturday Epic 50 mile ride)
Marion County Master Gardener’s Spring Festival
The biggest garden festival in the area– this is one massive plant sale and garden expo. Looking for some herbs and veggie plants to start your own garden? Check out Crone’s Cradle Conserve stand- they tend to have a vast array of plants perfect for the homestead. This is the one place where I have found Datil Pepper plants– a historic pepper, you stuff them in a jar with vinegar for a hot sauce perfect for greens. You will come away with lots of plants. 4-H kids are on hand with wagons to carry your purchases and deliver them to your car in case you go overboard- just leave them a tip! Planting workshops, seminars & kid zone.
When: March 11th-12th 2017 (8am-5pm Saturday, 9am-4pm Sunday)
Where: 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, FL
Cost: Saturday $2, Sunday $1 12 and younger free
Later in the Month:
Spring Festival at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
This place is a good place to take your kids, even without a festival. There’s a little hedge maze, a pond full of giant water lilies, a kids garden, bamboo garden, old kitchen gardens, cactus garden and paths that wind and twist through everywhere. This year’s theme is Florida Friendly Landscapes. Plant sales, seminars, kid zones and a beautiful botanical garden to explore.
When: March 18th – 19th 2017 9am-5pm
Where: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32608
- If you’re in Gainesville and need a break from the Florida heat, check out the Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the University of Florida campus.
- Or you can hike the gator gauntlet on La Chua Trail (if you dare!) *not for small children
So many festivals and so little time! Know of any events in your area? Drop a comment in the comment box below & have an incredible weekend!
Need some inspiration? Check out these posts:
- 21 Cool Ways to Spend Spring Break in Florida
- Kayaking on Dunnellon’s Rainbow River
- Exploring Shell Island
- Hiking Churchhouse Hammock Trail
- Adventures at Homosassa Springs