McKee Botanical Garden, a magical place at any time of year, takes on a particularly festive glow during its annual Holidays at McKee, which this year included nearly a month’s worth of family fun. This expanded edition of one of Vero’s favorite events was designed to spread cheer and not COVID. Festivities were held only during the day, and the additional days helped limit the numbers of visitors at any given time.
There was plenty to keep visitors of all ages engaged and entertained, with themed storytime, crafts and games, classic movie showings and ‘mascot’ visits from Santa and his friends – including brief visits from real live reindeer.
There were also various performances throughout the month by local individuals and groups, including a brass quintet from the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra, which presented two performances of its Once Upon an Orchestra musical series, a program funded through an Indian River Impact 100 grant to educate preschool and kindergarten children about music. That day, the musicians and a narrator brought “The Night Before Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol” to life inside the Hall of Giants.
“This one is focused on younger kids, so preschool age, and then we have other programs that are focusing on the older ages as well. It’s just a fun way to tell a story through music,” said Aaron Collins, Space Coast conductor and artistic director. “We’re very happy with this program; we want to see it grow and reach as many people as possible, but of course it’s reliant on so many different other factors, so we just do our best.”
In between performances, youngsters oohed and aahed over the intricate Christmas village display, giggled over the ‘snowflakes’ being blown out into the Spanish Kitchen, and earnestly shared their Christmas wishes with Jolly St. Nick.
And then it was off to the winding paths of McKee where, nestled among the always-spectacular flora, all cleverly and festively decorated for the occasion, were some unusual fauna – Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects creatures, made entirely with LEGO Bricks. That exhibit will remain on display through April 25.
For more information, visit mckeegarden.org.