The Governor's Mansion is open for tours year round, but right now there's a seasonal twist to it. Florida's first family is spreading some Christmas cheer by welcoming the public in for a holiday tour.
The curator of the Governor's Mansion had to show proof to a group of sixth graders from St. Petersburg, Florida that the first family actually lived here.
CJ Boake, a sixth grader, says, "I didn't look real like someone would live here; it's too clean and perfect of a house."
For the holidays, this 18th century decor home is complimented with elegant Christmas decorations complete with three trees, but that's not what kept the kids’ attention. What's more exciting is the first lady paid them a special visit, welcoming them into her home.
Columba Bush, Florida's First Lady, says, "Christmas is so important to the Bush family and so we always focus on celebrating. [It’s] the best time of year to have family and everybody."
The visitors got a peek of the five state rooms and the outside courtyard. It's only a 30-minute tour, but there's a way you can take a piece of the mansion home with you. A silver punch bowl, which was once on the USS Florida, now sits in the state dinning room and is featured on a holiday keepsake ornament.
Columba adds, "It's one of five that can be collected so people can enjoy."
These students got the royal treatment. They were the first to tour the mansion this holiday season and the doors are now open to the public.
The proceeds from the keepsake ornaments go to the first lady's art recognition program. For more information or to schedule a tour time, call 850-922-4991.