Are you ready to get your twinkle on? Grab some hot cocoa, download the holiday tunes and put your kids in the car–it’s time to take a drive through some of St. Louis’ best Christmas light displays! Every year we celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with trip to a couple of these festive light shows. There’s something for everyone! Some shows are complete free and other will cost you by the carload. Check the details on your favorite display, because most of these offer special nights with walking tours, carriage rides, hay wagons, trains or even one with a Segway tour! If you start now, you might just see them all!
Way of Lights at Our Lady of the Snows, in Belleville, IL.
It’s huge, it’s awesome, it’s all about Christmas…and it’s free! OK, you should give them a donation on the way out, but you can pay what you can. Bonus: give them $10 and they’ll give you a Christmas baby book. (Not nearly as good as the Christmas stuffed animals they use do give out, but if you have a baby…)
The Way of Lights also has camel rides, a petting zoo and some indoor activities. Camel & Pony rides are $6, food for the petting zoo critters is a buck.
This freebie is becoming my family’s favorite light show! I know a glorified beer fest isn’t for every family, but you should seriously give it a whirl. The folks at A-B put on an awesome show–and the staff are always super friendly. Parents will appreciate the beer sampling, and you can buy the kid’s a couple s’mores (kits are $2.50) to roast over an open fire while you warm up. You can ride a tram around the display or walk it. Make sure you stop by the historic Clydesdale stable to get a photo with a horse! This year they’re serving snacks in the Biergarten–for $5 you can get one of five offerings: chili, brats, pretzels, toasted ravioli or chicken tenders.
It’s open for walking on Thursday through Sunday, from 5:00-10:00 pm, and runs until January 3.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday you can drive through the display, but there’s no actives.
They’re lighting up the whole garden again! Boy, is it’s something to see (if you have the cash). Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for children. Adult prices goes up to $18 after Dec. 19. Members get a discount. Check out the garden’s website for all the sparkly details.
Bundle up the kiddos for a stroll through the St. Louis Zoo after dark! They’re open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday & Sunday until mid December, then open nightly until January 3. Tickets are $7 for Zoo members and $8 for non-members on weekdays and a dollar more on weekends. Children under two get in free. There is also free parking at both of the Zoo’s lots. Get all the details here: St. Louis Zoo Wild Lights. NEW for 2015: The Penguins, Polar Bear, and Sea Lions will be open during Wild Lights!
This gem is run by the St. Louis County parks department. You can drive through, or ride in a horse drawn carriage! The Winter Wonderland is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., except for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and runs through January 2. Cars are welcome Sunday through Friday, but Saturdays are reserved for carriage rides. Admission is $10 per family car (more for big vans and tour buses). Tickets for carriage rides are available through MetroTix, and vary depending on the size of the carriage.
More than 3 million lights have been strung through Rock Spring Park for their annual Christmas Wonderland lights display. There’s cascading waterfalls, lighted trees and hundreds of light displays! Plus, kids can visit Santa in the Enchanted Forest until Christmas Eve. $7 per car. Open 7 days a week, from 6 to 9pm on weekdays and 5 to 9pm on the weekends.
Drive through lights and holiday scenes set up in Fort Zumwalt Park. The display is open through Dec. 30, but closed on Christmas. Visit Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 6 to 9 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 pm. $10 per family vehicle. Discounts are available on Tuesdays and with a food pantry item donation.
This is the only park that offers a special Segway tour! (You have to be over 16–it is a motorized vehicle after all.) You can also hop on a carriage, sleigh, hay wagon or train on select nights. Check out all the details here.
This one mile light display in Rotary Park features large commercial scenes and tunnels with twinkling, flashing features that offer a thrill for everyone! The drive through is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13, then open daily through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Day). The drive-thru is open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. $8 per car, up to 6 people. (If you’ve wedged more than 6 in your car, it’s a dollar extra per person.)
There’s also a special walk-thru night on Dec. 7 from 6-8 pm. $3 per person when purchased in advance.
Millions of lights in a converted campground! Ride a wagon or take your car. Runs 7 days a week, admission is $20 per car or $13 per person if you take their wagon. They opened November 14 and will go to January 3. You can visit Santa (and have a professional photo taken) in the gift shop.