Visitors can join officials with the Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross during a month of swamp fun in October as the park celebrates 75 years.

WAYCROSS — Officials with the Okefenokee Swamp Park here have planned a month of swamp fun as they celebrate 75 years of preservation of the natural oasis that is rich in history, culture, wilderness, adventure, and wildlife.

The entire month of October is packed with exciting events to attract locals, surrounding communities, and new visitors to the swamp. This month is not just a celebration of the past, officials say, but it is a “beacon ringing in what is to come for the next 75 years.” The big birthday celebratory block party will take place on Oct. 9 with an official golden ribbon cutting, food trucks, live music all day, with some special guests, and familiar faces.

Military, veterans, and their families can explore what both locations — Okefenokee Swamp Park in Waycross and Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston — have to offer with their 50% off multi-entrance, multiday passes for the weekend of Oct. 22-24. Park staff have filled this weekend with an itinerary of activities to honor our active and inactive servicemen.

DAY 1: Kick off the weekend on Oct. 22 with a s’mores buffet by the campfire as Laura S. Walker State Park. DAY 2: Enjoy a day exploring Okefenokee Swamp Park or Okefenokee Adventures and then get ready for a night of rumbling … and we don’t mean from the alligators this time. Okefenokee Swamp Park is hosting its very first Veteran and Military Rock and Ride benefit motorcycle ride and Southern rock concert on Oct. 23. The opening ceremony begins with a Color Guard ceremony, Pledge of Allegiance, a few words from the VFW, and salute to troops who have served and continue to serve our country. Bring a chair, blanket, and your dancing shoes to enjoy the free Southern rock concert. Donations are heavily encouraged as they will benefit the efforts of several veteran suicide awareness organizations and their dedication to healing America’s veterans and suicide prevention.

DAY 3: The closing ceremony for the first Okefenokee Swamp Military and Veteran Appreciation Weekend will take place in Folkston at Traders Hill Campground with a Color Guard ceremony, food trucks, and live music on Oct. 24.

Monsters from favorite classic horror films lurk in the shadows waiting for visitors to the Okefenokee Swamp Park for one night only at the first annual Swamp Monsters Spooktacular on Oct. 31. This family-friendly, walk-through experience takes visitors on a journey through Mummy’s Marsh, Werewolf’s Den, the Spider’s Nest, the Witching Well filled with candy and photo zones throughout the park.

Expect to shout in horror, or for joy, officials at the park say, over some of your favorite monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein and their brides, the Invisible Man, King Kong, the star Creature of The Black Lagoon, and so many more. Kids are encouraged not fill up on candy from all the candy zones and trunk-or-treating spots, because there will also be food trucks by the Monster Mash Dance Floor. One winner will receive a special grand prize for Best Costume.

For the first time ever, visitors to the Okefenokee Swamp Park will have the opportunity to listen to the untold spooky tales of the swamp through their guided haunted boat and train tours. The haunted boat and train tour is a VIP ticket experience only; spacing is limited and will sell out.

If that isn’t enough excitement in one month, there is so much more going on this October at the swamp: Senior Swamp Day on Thursday; College Swamp Saturday on Oct. 16; HIIT Fitness in The Swamp on Oct. 16 and 30 at 9 a.m.; ZUMBA at The Swamp on Oct. 23 at 9 a.m.; Homeschool Day on Oct. 28; Okefenokeology educational classes every Tuesday; Twilight Boat Tours on Oct. 15, 22 and 23, and Full-Moon Boat Tours on Oct. 20.

Purchase tickets and learn more about all the Okefenokee Swamp Park by visiting www.osp75th.com and following the park on Facebook @okeswamp.

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