Further inspired by Sarah, as she went on a "staycation" I thought, "Why not discover your own city or state with a vacation attitude?" What better way to go on a family staycation than to bundle up, jump in the car and spend an evening taking in some great views of holiday lights? Maybe it could even turn into a new family tradition. Or a great date. I'm the type of person that would like to have most of the events planned out ahead of time in detail. Like what holiday music station we'll be listening to on the radio during the drive, and have some type of snacks packed and coco in canisters ready to go. Yes, I've really thought this one out for a while now! The light display would be so spectacular with snow! Hopefully it'll happen sometime soon.
Here are some of the best (and romantic) places to visit locally for light displays:
Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park
You can drive through the display, but if you want to do something extra special you can do this by horse-drawn carriage. Winter Wonderland is open daily from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., except for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Cars are welcome Sunday through Friday, but Saturdays are reserved for carriage rides. Admission is $9 per car. Tickets for carriage rides are available through MetroTix, and vary depending on the size of the carriage.
Winter Wonderland is centrally located in Tilles Park in West St. Louis County. The easiest way for most visitors to get to the park is to take I-64/Highway 40 to the McKnight Road exit. Go south and the park will be at the intersection of McKnight and Litzsinger Roads. All vehicles must enter Winter Wonderland from McKnight Road and exit via Litzsinger Road.
November 23, 2011 - January 1, 2012
Tilles Park, St. Louis County
Santa's Magical Kingdom
Millions of lights and dozens of holiday scenes fill Jellystone Park in Eureka. You can see Santa's flying reindeer, travel through the Candy Cane Village or visit the Waterfall of Lights. For even more fun, take an old fashioned wagon ride through the display. After seeing the lights, head over to Kringle's General Store for a little holiday shopping. Santa's Magical Kingdom is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Admission is $19 per car or $12 for wagon or train ride tickets.
Santa's Magical Kingdom is located in Jellystone Park, just off of Interstate 44, in Eureka, Missouri. Take I-44 to exit #261 and follow the outer road to the entrance to the park.
November 18, 2011 - January 8, 2012
Jellystone Park, Eureka
Way of Lights
Lights are used to tell the story of Jesus' birth. You can drive through the display or take a carriage ride. There's also a laser light show, camel rides, an indoor Christmas tree display and an interactive play area for the kids. The Way of Lights is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to view the lights is free, but there is a small charge for the laser light show, camel rides and other attractions. Donations are also accepted.
The Way of Lights is located about 20 minutes from downtown St. Louis at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois. To get to the Shrine take I-255 to exit 17A (IL Highway 15 east). Then, go about one mile down Highway 15 and the entrance to the Shrine will be on the right side. The address is 442 South DeMazenod Drive.
November 18, 2011 - January 1, 2012
Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Belleville
All of these locations are quite a drive in distance, but you could always enjoy driving around your own neighborhood for free looking at house light displays. Just try not to look like stalkers cruisin' around!