Children often find that December is the longest month of the year. It seems like Christmas day, with all its joy and anticipation will never come. Adults, too find it difficult to squeeze everything they want to do in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Families look for activities to bring them together and build memories for the children.
One activity sure to please is a visit to one of the dazzling holiday light displays that Utah has to offer. Combining cocoa and a treat with a trip through a wonderland of lights will make an excellent family tradition. One of these will be sure to please:
Layton Lights in the Park
This light display began in 1986 with three deer outlined in lights. It has grown to include 200 brightly lit animals, trees, and scenes. A drive-through tunnel and a pedestrian passageway use 28,000 lights to brighten the way.
Children will enjoy annual visits to the Layton Lights in the Park to find their favorite action features – a giant spider, a spouting whale, a frog jumping into a pond, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a helicopter flying in the trees. Layton has enhanced the adventure with a program for kids called, “The Elf on the Shelf.” Each day the park staff puts a small elf in one of the displays. Each child who finds the elf gets a treat. The Elf will be on the shelf until December 23rd.
Three new displays are featured in the park this year. When you go, look for a long horn steer, a hippopotamus with her baby, and a horse with a colt. Many families like to make an evening of it by including a treat at the Burger Stop just down the street.
Unique to the Layton display is the option of driving through the lights or to take a walking path that brings you up close and personal. Entrance to Layton’s Lights in the Park is free and the lights will be on until December 31.
For more information visit the Layton City event page.
Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights
Put on by Utah State Parks, Willard Bay is ablaze with a creative array of Christmas lights and creations until December 30. The campground has been turned into an adventure through a Christmas wonderland. The roads you would normally take to find a campsite, now wander through a brightly illuminated fairyland.
This year the Fantasy at the Bay Christmas Lights has been expanded to include an extra loop doubling the size of the display.
To enhance your experience of this Christmas spectacle, 3D snowflake glasses are available at the entrance for a nominal fee. Children will enjoy the views of the lights through these magic lenses.
Find more information check out the Facebook page.
Luminaria – Thanksgiving Point
“Luminaria is an enchanting walk-through Ashton Gardens that transports you to another world with all of the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of the holidays. A one-way path guides you past a light and music show on 6,500 programmable luminaries blanketing a hill, with each luminary a pixel in a moving picture of flying reindeer, ombré waves, and other signs of the season. Songs and shows will be even better with the iconic 120-foot tree (already on top of a 40-foot hill!) incorporated into the show. Don’t forget the Legend of Yeti at Luminaria. Spot him throughout the event until you find him at home in the Himalayan Heights section of Luminaria.
Looking for a quiet moment of spiritual reflection? View the nativity scene before entering the Light of the World Garden. Glowing lanterns and peaceful music accompany this space featuring 35 monument-sized bronze sculptures depicting scenes of Jesus Christ from the New Testament. Continue your holiday stroll while indulging in special touches like s’mores at glowing fire pits, hot chocolate and sweets from the gift boutique, interactive game areas, and more!”
Find more information check out the Luminaria event page here!
Christmas in Color
“Drive through millions of lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music you’ll hear right through your radio. Drive by giant candy canes, snowmen, arched pathways and more. Take your time enjoying this lighting extravaganza — we won’t judge you if you join the kids with your face pressed against the window!”
The Salt Lake County Fairgrounds in South Jordan at 2100 W. 11400 S is one of nine locations around the country hosting this holiday event. Fees are $35 per car and reservations are required. A VIP Party Pack is available that includes —Diffraction Glasses (x4), Light Bulb Necklaces (x2), Candy Cane Light Batons (x2), Rudolph Noses (x2), CIC Air Freshener (x1), In-car Activity Card (x1). The party pack is available for $60 per car.
For more information visit the Christmas in Color site here.
ZooLights at Hogle Zoo
Described as a “bright, sparkling and festive family-fun light event,” the ZooLights return to Hogle Zoo for its 16th year. “Over 200 lighted animal and holiday-themed displays will glisten in the December night as you make your way through the zoo grounds.”
See 10 life-size, animal-shaped Lanterns. They were made specifically for ZooLights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo by Lightasmic of Bakersfield, CA.
“Walk along lit pathways and through their popular 135-foot lighted tunnel – it’s a crowd favorite! Take a spin on the Conservation Carousel (weather permitting) and then stop in to see the Jolly Old Elf at Santa’s Station. S’make a s’more at Oasis Plaza, keep warm with hot chocolate, and you can finish up your holiday shopping at one of the best gift shops around, Wild Zootique!”
Reservations are required and fees are $12.95 per adult and $9.95 per child.
More information is available on the Hogle Zoo website.
Festival of Lights
Spanish Fork is hosting its annual Festival of Lights through January 1. Displays lit up with millions of lights will dazzle visitors as they drive through Canyon View Park. Listen to holiday music on FM 99.7 as you enjoy your light tour.
Having its beginning in 1992, it has gotten bigger every year. “The display is grouped into different themes, including winter sports, toy land, prehistoric times, Victorian village & Nutcracker, North Pole, cowboys, sugar plums & goodies, animals, nativity, and more.”
Fees are $8 per car, $22 for a large passenger van, and $30 for a bus.
More information is available here on the Spanish Fork event page.
The Lights on Temple Square
Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be open to the public this Christmas season with displays and limited lights. Construction and the COVID-19 pandemic have modified some of the plans for this year’s celebration, but families are invited to walk around parts of the grounds and experience an animated nativity in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Virtual opportunities to experience Christmas on Temple Square and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ are also available during the holidays. .
More information is available here on the Temple Square website.
The Ogden Christmas Village
Modeled after Santa’s village at the North Pole, each cottage has its own sponsor and reflects a theme. Some have mechanical displays that spin and move in ways that will delight young and old alike. Dress warm and put on your walking shoes, there is no charge for a stroll through the magic of the season in these gardens.
Located in the park, the Ogden Amphitheater features free nightly concerts with music of the season. Take time to listen to these local singing groups, it will keep you in the Christmas spirit.
Pond Town Christmas in Salem City
Rockin’ around the Christmas pond – Grab a cup of hot chocolate and drive by the enchanting Salem Pond to enjoy twinkling lights reflecting on the water. The atmosphere is peaceful and perfect for viewing a Nativity scene. Admission is free.
It all started with a few strings of lights and a group of inspired neighbors hoping to bring a smile to the face of a little girl battling terminal brain cancer. Even though she is no longer with us, the tradition of filling the park with light and love continues in her honor! Come see the park lined with lights, hundreds of holiday inflatables, and view the inspiring Tree of Hope.
Located in Heritage Park in Farmington, Elora’s Lights illuminates the park in honor of Elora and her brave battle with childhood brain cancer. Come enjoy the lights and help raise funds to fight childhood cancer.
Lights on Sherwood Drive in Kaysville
The Lights on Sherwood Drive has a lot of Christmas lights timed to music. Screens are set up. The lights dance and change colors constantly, everything is so bright and beautiful. There are trees and arches, and the lights are on the house, garage, and in the yard. The screens are the most entertaining since it’s almost like watching a mini movie. The show lasts about 25 minutes and there is plenty to see!
My wife and I visited Layton Lights in the Park, Fantasy at the Bay, and the Ogden Christmas Village. We love the lights of Christmas – they seem to lighten the dark days of December. Consider putting one or more of these displays on your Christmas calendar to light up your holidays.