Holiday lights brighten the season

Heading out to enjoying holiday lights is always a fun way to celebration the season.

There are several locations that can be an easy evening day trip.

The Dominion Garden of Lights at Norfolk Botanical Gardens display is highly celebrated with awards from USA Today. It also boasts of being “One of the 12 Magical Christmas Destinations You Need to Add to Your Holiday Bucket List” by Simplemost.com.

This year the gardens will be open longer for the Million Bulb Walk — until Dec. 15. This is a chance to stop and smell the flowers as well as enjoy the lights, said Kelly Walsh, marketing and communications director for the Gardens.

Visitors will be able to drive through daily until Dec. 31, from 5:30-10 p.m.

“This year is our 24th anniversary for our drive-through light show. There is a lot of love put into this show — it is staff designed and created. Our light crew always try to add new surprises,” Welsh said. Another way to ride through is on the open-air trams, she said.

To work off holiday goodies, patrons can participate in the Garden Fun Run through the light display from 4-7 p.m. Jan. 1, 2019.

Finally, before the show closes, patrons can walk through with their dogs on a leash Jan. 3-5, 2019.

Prices vary for all events. For more information visit norfolkbotanicalgarden.org.

Newport News Park

Closer to Williamsburg is the 26th Annual Celebration in Lights at Newport News Park until Jan. 1, 2019. This is Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event.

There are two new things this year: a gingerbread house display and new scenes on the two giant 25-by-16 foot screens of color-changing LED lights, according to Renee Popernack, promotions coordinator for Newport News Parks, Recreation and Tourism office.

The Forest of Lights display area has been upgraded to color-changing LED bulbs to create more complex colors and patterns on the trees.

There are more than 350 individual display pieces, 50 arches, and over three miles of rope lighting that enhance the natural beauty of the two-mile drive along Newport News Park’s main road, she said.

With a nod to Newport News’ history, there is a light display showing the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack, she added.

The event will be open each evening, 5:30-10 p.m. Admission is $12 per car and $60 per bus. Gift tickets may be purchased at the Newport News Visitor Center. For more information, call 757-926-1400 or visit nnparks.com.

Meadow Event Park

Heading west, the Illuminate Light Show and Santa’s Village at the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County has nearly a million LED lights that are synchronized to music from visitors’ car radio.

In addition to the light display, Santa’s Village, is open until Dec. 23 and gives children time to talk with Santa and have their picture taken. There is also a shopping area to purchase gifts.

Prices for activities vary. The light show is $25 per car for up to nine passengers, $55 for limousines and mini-buses and $150 for tour buses or recreation vehicles. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through Dec. 21, bring five cans of food for the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank and receive $5 off admission. Visiting with Santa is free. For more information visit illuminatelightshow.com.

Lewis Ginter Park

The Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens will feature well-known art with one-million lights. The art — dance, music, sculpture and painting — will be re-interpreted with sparkling color. Visitors can walk through to see handcrafted botanical decorations, model trains and enjoy a fire pit with s’mores and hot chocolate for sale.

The light show runs through Jan. 7, 2019, from 5-10 p.m. The park is closed Dec. 24 and 25. Ticket prices for nonmembers are $13 for adult, $11 for seniors (55-years-old and up) $8 children (ages three-12). Members are $7 and $5 for children. For more information, visit lewisginter.org.

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