Lights, Snow, and Ice: Spectacular Christmas Events
While some families romanticize being home for the holidays, the following Christmas events throughout the South will inspire North Mississippi families to take a holiday adventure. Beginning mid-November and continuing through New Year’s Eve, the dazzling lights and promise of a white Christmas will coax all kids at heart to trade in snuggling by the fire for some holiday fun!
The closest featured Christmas excursion is none other than the Memphis Zoo. For Northeast Mississippians who are accustomed to visiting this acclaimed zoo, they will see it in a different light…many of them, in fact. From the 90 foot LED Ferris Wheel to thousands of LED lights throughout the zoo and even snow in the courtyard, zoo patrons will be in for a real treat. They can even visit Santa in his workshop and see live reindeer. With all there is to see and do, families will not ”bear” to leave.
5:30 pm-9:30 pm
Nov. 17-Dec. 30 on select nights
Regular zoo admission ($15 for adults and $10 for kids)
Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights
For even more lights, families can venture to Rock City’s acclaimed Enchanted Garden of Lights to experience four uniquely themed “realms of wonder.” Families are now allowed to pick their own adventure and select their own order of the four different holiday displays. With almost a million lights to see they will be filled with holiday cheer, especially after getting to decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus. Visits and pictures with Santa and live entertainment are also part of the magic.
Nov. 17-Jan. 6 daily
Prices are higher on Friday and Saturday nights
6:00 pm-9:00 pm
Ticket can be upgraded to include a day pass for Rock City (not completely stroller accessible).
Garvan Woodland Gardens
Hot Springs, Arkansas
The flowers may be sleeping in the winter, but the gardens are full of activity and Christmas spirit. With 18-acres of light-filled wonder, a fully animated train, a free hot chocolate tent, jazz piano, and trees wrapped in lights, and a 50-foot tall rose tree with an animated show, families will quickly realize why the lines are so long to get into these gardens at Christmas. Add to the experience a newly crafted ice dandelion, ice tunnels, ice palace, and mythical-based topiaries, and families will add the gardens to their holiday traditions. The gardens are a feast for the eyes, and the holiday lights will amaze kids of all ages.
Nov. 18-Dec. 31
$15 for adults and $5 for kids (4-12); golf cart rentals available on site; opens at 3pm
Tip: Extremely crowded on weekends so encouraged to visit during the week; prepare to wait 1-2 hours to park
ICE-Charlie Brown Christmas
Gaylord Opryland Nashville
Famous nationwide for its rotating annual themes, this year’s ICE features Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the beloved Peanuts characters in a chilly nine9-degree setting. Guests are reminded to dress warmly, even though parkas in all sizes are provided. The two two-story ice slides are the main attraction in the two million pounds of colorful carved ice sculptures, hand-carved by artisans.
Nov. 11-Jan. 1
From $28.99 adult and $20.99 per child
Combo tickets available for snow tubing, ice skating, and visits with Snoopy.
Stone Mountain Christmas and Snow Mountain
Snow is not abundant in the South, except maybe in a place called Snow Mountain, known as Stone Mountain in the non-winter months. Snow tubing and other snow activities are available for hours of delight, but they are just the beginning. Christmas parades with real snow, holiday singalong train rides, character meet and greets with Rudolph and friends, live performances, Christmas lights, and more will delight families for an all-day Christmas celebration. Stone Mountain Christmas was voted one of the top 10 places in the country to visit with Santa, so that will definitely be on the list for the boys and girls after they go snow tubing.
Nov. 11-Jan. 3 (Snow Mountain, which includes snow tubing for two-hour increments is through February $49.95 ppcombo for Snow Mountain and Christmas)
$31.95 for either Snow Mountain or Christmas (when purchased online)
For local families, it may seem challenging to choose just one of these Christmas adventures, but whichever one they select will most certainly get them in the right mood for the holidays!
Heather Gausline Tate lives in Guntown, MS with her husband Logan and their two darling boys London and Christian. They have a few magical Christmas adventures planned together.