Lakes Regional Park is the place to go year around for frugal family fun and outdoor recreation. But in late October, Lakes Park is transformed into a spooky lair for ghosts, goblins and various other denizens of the Halloween season. Bring the kids … they’ll love it. “More than 60,000 park patrons are expected at Lakes Regional Park's 5th annual Fall Festival and Halloween Extravaganza now through Halloween.
You can take a seasonal train ride through the villages (it's about a mile and a half of ghostly displays, graveyards and the skeleton crew ). Visit Lee County's largest pumpkin patch, hop on a hay ride, vote for your favorite scarecrow on display, and take part in family friendly activities and games. The pumpkin patch, hayride, scarecrows and games will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday … The Halloween Express Train rides will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 to 9:45 p.m. It seems like the evening trains will be more fun but there are no reservations and the lines can be long, so don’t wait until the last minute.
The Fall Festival will be fun for the whole family, but is it frugal? The fee for parking at Lakes Park follows the usual Lee County non-beach schedule: $1 per hour to a maximum of $5 for an all-day pass. You can go on an evening hay ride for $2 each. The Halloween Express train, a 15 minute miniature train ride with a spooky theme, costs $2 apiece for children 1 through 5 years old and $5 for ages 6 and up. (children under the age of 1 are not allowed). Food is available at the Festival and is reasonably priced.
Other children’s amusements such as a “bounce house” are also available at an additional cost, but these can run up the overall price pretty quickly. If you are careful, a family of four can enjoy the whole Halloween experience for about $20. Lakes Park is located at 7330 Gladiolus Drive, just west of state highway 41.