Best Places to Visit During the Holiday Season!
1.Kings Island Winterfest
Open Nov to Jan 1st.
Large ice skating on their fountain, Candy Cane Lane, Carriage Rides, Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular, Coca-Cola Polar Bear Plaza, holiday games, ice carvers, Jack Frost’s Igloo Village, some rides, lighting ceremony, musical entertainment through the park, and crafts for the little ones! This is always a favorite for my family! If you have an annual pass you get in Winter Fest free! Check out their site for open days and times for this special magical time in the park.
Early Nov through early Jan
Amazing light show synchronized to both traditional & rocking holiday music through your car radio for 2 ½ miles, millions of lights driven by more than 40,000 computer channels. Show starts at dusk to 10 pm. Usually you are paying $6/person (3 & under Free). This is more expensive than most of the drive thru lights and we have been through a few. This one is the best but also the most expensive and its definitely the furthest for us. I still definitely recommend it! I also recommend going on a week day and before the week before Christmas for shorter lines. We all get in our jammies, drive through the lights, and get shakes/ice cream on way home. A fun little tradition!
Nov 1 to Jan 2nd typical hours 5-9 or 5-10 pm
Over 3 million LED lights, Madcap black light puppet show, Toyland Express train, animals, and Santa! If you have a pass to the zoo this allows you into Festival of Lights as well. We always make a night to come down usually on a week day to avoid the giant crowds. There are animal exhibits still open, beautiful lights, and usually some characters to meet (Anna and Else of Frozen have taken homes there the last few years!). Check them out and enjoy a nice cup of cocoa!
Nov – Jan
Over a mile of light displays from the comfort of your car with over 250 light displays. You pay per vehicle ($15) and you can usually find $2 coupons. Open weekdays 6-9 or 5:30-10 on weekends. We have done this and it was a nice drive. This was the first drive through lights we ever did four years ago! Definitely worth checking out.
5. Pyramid Park – Hamilton
Mid Nov – Jan
This is a 2 mile round trip drive through Pyramid park. You pay per the car load. $20 for the week days and $25 for the weekends. Members are $15. We visited this light display. It was close to our house. It is a good drive. I would maybe place them 3rd on my list of drive through light displays.
6. Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market
Occurs in early November. You can follow them on FB.
This is a GIANT vendor sale down at Duke Energy Convention Center downtown, Cincinnati. I have made this a holiday tradition with my sister, this is not ideal for 3 teenage kids or many kids just due to the size and amount of people that are there. We have figured out how to win tickets following on FB leading up to the event. We pay for early admission and it is night and day! You won’t see everything and you will find something you like for sure!! Love this event!! What a great time to spend with your girlfriends, mom, sister, and maybe some brave husbands (I haven’t brought mine yet).
There are Nutcracker performances all of the country around the holiday time. I have taken my older son one year. We got all dressed up, had dinner, and made a night out of it. This is an activity that won’t keep the interest of everyone. I would recommend older than 4 years old as well. I have a few crazy boys so we aren’t able to do this every year. I am excited to take my daughter soon and make this as a new tradition for us girls! It is a beautiful performance!
8. The Christmas Ranch
A whimsical place with 1 million dancing Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music. This is in Morrow, OH late Nov through Dec 23rd. Admission is per the car load. This is one place that has been on our list and I have wanted to use as our drive through lights activity. This is a sure place to visit for 2020! I will post our experience!
9. Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show
This included a life size nativity scene with live animals, model trains among Cincinnati landmarks, beautiful holiday flowers and plants, and crafts for the kids. I have attended and the flowers are amazing! A beautiful backdrop for pictures! I have not been able to take the kids the last few years but it is definitely on our list for this year to switch some things up. I will post our experiences here!
10. Scuba Santa at the Newport Aquarium
The Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY is open year round but bring in Scuba Santa during the holiday season. This is actually only one of two things on my list that I have not experienced first hand. I do know this is a great activity for the younger kids. I plan to take at least my daughter here next year. Check out our experiences!
11. Christmas Town at Creation Museum
Check out the lights in the botanical garden, animals, food, and the live nativity to experience the true meaning of the season. Brought to you on the weekends. The museum is a short drive right in KY. On the way to the airport. The museum is open year round but this Christmas event is Nov-Jan. If you have a pass this is included. You can pay for museum admission or you can go at a later hour to get a reduced price. We were blessed to show up and be given free tickets from a ticket holder! Funny story the same thing happened when we went to the Ark Encounter the sister site for Creation Museum. Good people! This was the first time the kids rode a camel!
ChristmasTime at the Ark Encounter is becoming a Christian tradition for families. Enjoy the life sized ark and gardens illuminated in rainbow-colored lights, indoor petting zoo, playground, skating rink, festive food, and a nice walk through the museum (ark). This is in Kentucky. If you have a pass this is included. If not you will have to check their site for the prices. This was the first time we went and were very impressed with the museum. The kids tried to enjoy the wax ice skating. HAHA!
We are always looking for more to add to our holiday traditions or rather our Forced Family Fun. On top of all of these activities we usually participate in our local community events at the Community Center and the Santa’s Breakfast at our district elementary schools. You will find a lot of different local events near you that are low cost or even free for you to enjoy with your family no matter their ages.
You have family parties, church activities and service, and so much more! What a fun and exciting time of the year!
Here are a few pictures from our Breakfast with Santa (we have an awesome Santa!) and our picture from Christmas Eve service at the Vineyard.