Behind-the-Scenes Magic at Celebration in the Oaks in New Orleans City Park

This post is brought to you by New Orleans City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks as part of our Holiday of Wonder celebration.
Throughout this holiday season, we’ll bring you stories straight from New Orleans’ whimsical holiday lights festival, as well as inspiration to bring a bit of New Orleans into your own home for the holidays. Enjoy!

Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park is a holiday tradition for our family. Every year, we pack up the kids and drive to New Orleans for a night under the live oaks. Magnificent live oaks all dressed up in lights for one of the most gorgeous and entertaining holiday light festivals in the country.

It’s one of our favorite times of the year and one of my family’s most treasured traditions.

I’ve always wanted to bring that experience to life for my friends far and wide (and online!), but why do I think you would care? Why do I know your families would love it?

This is About Magic

Celebration in the Oaks: Carousel Gardens at New Orleans City Park

Celebration in the Oaks has everything we love here at Wonder and Company: magic, thrills for the whole family, and so much imagination to sweep you away into a wonderland of possibility.

Expanding across 25 acres of the park, you’ll find winter wonder under swaying spanish moss in displays in the Botanical Gardens, the Storyland playground, and Carousel Gardens, an amusement park sure to delight even the most determined humbug in your family.

But more than playful magic, they offered us a peek into the creativity that goes into building the magic and we think that’s the most spectacular bit of all.

This is About Creativity

Celebration in the Oaks: Buggin Out at New Orleans City Park

This holiday season, we invite you to consider traveling to New Orleans and visiting Celebration in the Oaks. A short cab ride from the French Quarter or Uptown, New Orleans City Park offers something for everyone. Before you come, share the video above for a peek behind-the-scenes into what it takes to bring the big show to life. We loved showing this to our own kids because it illustrates the endless outlets for the creativity we hope to foster in them from now through their careers.

Do your kids love building blocks? Tinkering in robotics? Imagine building a land full of illuminated characters designed to capture the imaginations of nearly 200,000 visitors every holiday season… as your job!

This is About the Work it Takes to Make Magic

Celebration in the Oaks: Dripping Snow Tree at New Orleans City Park

What does it take to create that sense of wonder at Celebration in the Oaks each year? Share these fun facts with your explorers:

  • 7 staff members + lots of volunteers (we really thought it would be more than that!)
  • 8 months of preparation (that puts our science projects into perspective)
  • 558,350 LED bulbs
  • 42,000 LED bulbs in the Dripping Snow Tree (seen above, it takes only the electricity a toaster would require)
  • 32,800 linear feet of rope light (we’re sure this is the tool our kids would really want to master)
  • 95,000 4″ cable ties (okay, those all have to actually be tied… whew)
  • 500 live potted poinsettias (we’ve been debating the work it will take to pot 5 in front of our house. 5.)

We talk a lot here about the work that it takes to build our dreams. We think it’s important to not only bring magic into the lives of our kids but to show them that real people make that magic happen because they do the work.

This is About Believing in Possibility

Celebration in the Oaks: Cajun Night Before Christmas at New Orleans City Park

The holidays are all about believing in the possibility of magic for us. We don’t just wander through the cypress groves and nod at the pretty lights: no, we let ourselves pretend that we really are under the sea in Sea-Labration or peeking through a window at the family in Cajun Night Before Christmas. We open our arms wide and take in the Dripping Snow Tree (which we’ve always called the Avatar tree) and imagine a world where trees like that might exist.

We want to share it with you because we think you’ll love the escape into imagination that Celebration in the Oaks offers for your entire family just as much as our families love it.

This is about Family

Mister Bingle at Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park #cito2014

Just as Mister Bingle is a big part of the New Orleans City Park family, our friends are a big part of ours here at Wonder and Company. As part of our Holiday of Wonder campaign, we invited a fantastic group of local writers to bring their own families to Celebration in the Oaks. Check out their experiences below (including some stunning photography of the festival and perspectives unique to each family and couple) and see if it doesn’t just inspire you to bring your own loved ones down for a night under the shining oaks this December. We’d love to see you!

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Experimental Mommy
Celebration in the Oaks {Worth the Drive} at Northshore Parent
Holiday Romance : Celebration in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park at Traveling Mamas
Celebration in the Oaks #MerryMakers #iheartCityPark at Blogging Babies and the Bayou
A New Orleans Tradition at What Mommies Need
Celebrate The Holidays In New Orleans With Celebration In The Oaks at Jefferson Parish Parent

• • •

Thank you to New Orleans City Park for sponsoring our Holiday of Wonder campaign. Considering holiday travel this season? Visit Celebration in the Oaks, the nation’s most spectacular holiday lights festival for a world of wonder sure to enchant your entire family. The festival is open now through January 3rd (closed on 12/24 and 12/31) and tickets are only $8 per person. We highly recommend buying your tickets online and visiting during the week to enjoy small crowds and more time to play!

Be sure to scroll back up and watch the video of the Merry Makers working behind-the-scenes!

Wonderful Objects Mystery Box + Magical Teasers
Wonderful Objects Mystery Box + Magical Teasers


Cofounder of Wonder and Company, Megan Jordan is a writer, editor, and consultant with an engrossing love of family travel, theme parks, and adventure. Striking a balance and perspective that make her a sought-after voice, the mother of three updates her personal blog, Velveteen Mind, at a Southern pace (read: leisurely) and is always looking for a theme park to visit. Seriously, do you have one? She wants to come visit. Megan is regularly featured in national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Southern Living, MSNBC, as well as national TV. Come down and explore the bayou with her at her home in Gulfport, Mississippi. Contact Megan

Wonder and Company is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, or other properties featured. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Although we occasionally partner with other creative properties, all opinions are our own. Have questions? Contact us.

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