The Holtsville Ecology Site on Buckley Road is a good place to visit at any time of the year. The greenhouses are always preparing for the next season and the playground is a favorite spot for children; as is the small zoo where those same children can visit birds and animals.
Friday, the Ecology Site was brimming with activity as Santa made his dramatic entrance via helicopter to light the decorative Christmas tree outside the Information Center.
Inside, the Information Center was decorated beautifully for the holiday season. Poinsettias mixed with fern, animated figures nodded and swayed to greet visitors, a gigantic polar bear attracted children, and a large replica of Santa's Workshop twinkled while figures of elves posed in front of it.
One large archway was flanked by lighted drummers and there was a huge sleigh drawn by white reindeer in another room. Recorded Christmas carols filled the space and brought smiles to those who were visiting. In short, the Center and its adjacent greenhouse were transformed into a veritable Christmas Wonderland.
Many of the Christmas trees in the greenhouse are decorated with ornaments that were made by Girl Scout Troops who have visited the site. It's fun to browse through them to spot names of the girls who have created them.
Outside, there was a lighted tunnel where a large snowman was displayed to greet visitors and green and blue lights flanked the koi pond that was freezing over in the winter chill.
As if on cue, Mother Nature provided a light burst of snow flurries to add magic to the scene.
Brookhaven Town's Showmobile was parked along side the Information Center and volunteers from the Holtville Fire Department served hot chocolate to all those in attendance.
Brookhaven Highway Superintendent John Rouse welcomed the crowd and advised everyone to look upwards as a helicopter carrying Santa Claus approached. The chopper circled the site several times as the children gleefully waved to Santa before it landed in an area on the other side of the site.
Moments later, the Holtsville Fire Department's shiniest trucks appeared brightly decorated with lights and evergreens and Santa himself was perched atop one of them.
He climbed off the truck and onto the Showmobile, where the children had been assembled and on a count-down, lit the huge Christmas Tree in front of the Information Center. The tree, adorned with thousands of colorful LED lights, shone brightly while Santa led the children into a sing-a-long medley of Christmas songs beginning with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reinedeer."
It was a fun-filled evening and although the traditional "Brite Nites" drive-thru light display had been cancelled this year, folks in attendance were assured that it would be back next Christmas to make the Holtsville Ecology Site once again the Christmas destination for families of Brookhaven Town.