Not ready to let go of the holiday glow just yet? Savor it a little longer with a tour of the local yuletide lights. Not that you need convincing, but after Christmas can be the perfect time to take in those fabulous light displays. The crowds have thinned out and the holiday pressure to get every experience in before Christmas day has magically disappeared. Instead of feeling compelled to rush, you have time to relax and really enjoy the beauty of the displays.
Here are some light displays you and the kiddos can check out. Hopefully they’ll help the holiday glow last a teensy bit longer.
Tucked away in the middle of Addison, Vitruvian Park is great if your little one shies away from crowds. Its annual Vitruvian Lights display skips the glitz and flash of some of the bigger ones in favor of some low-key charm. Bring your dog, a ball, your sled, a thermos of cocoa—whatever you need to enjoy the lit-up trees reflecting over the lagoon. Best of all, this display will cost you the low, low price of zero dollars. Not a bad deal if your purse is feeling that post-Christmas pinch, eh? The lights will be on every night until January 1.
Ice skating! Carriage rides! A petting zoo! Whether you’re a kid or just a child at heart, there’s something for everyone at Christmas in the Square Light Extravaganza, the largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas. This display brings over 665,000 visitors a year to Frisco Square, but the crowds are greatly thinned now that Christmas is (technically) over, so you might have the 175,000 lights all to yourselves. The best part is that no matter how balmy the Texas winter, it’ll be a white winter wonderland in the Square, thanks to their snow machines. This light extravaganza is on display until Jan. 2.
The Texas Motor Speedway’s Gift of Lights display is Texas-sized. It’s the biggest drive-through light park in the Lone Star State, and this year, there are 150—count ‘em, 150!—new displays, so it’ll be a fresh experience no matter if it’s your first time or fifteenth. Whether your kids still want to jam to “Jingle Bells” or J-Biebs, you can create the perfect soundtrack on your radio as you cruise through the park. You’ve got until New Year’s Eve to see this fabulous display.
Fun facts: the 12 days of Christmas don’t actually begin until December 25, and if you were to purchase your tyke each gift mentioned in the song, you’d have to plunk down around $107,300. Luckily, you can just take him or her to the Dallas Arboretum’s 12 Days of Christmas exhibit for the same amount of fun—after all, what’s a kid going to do with three French hens? The exhibit fills the garden with a dozen 25-foot glass gazebos, each filled with festive mechanical mannequins, holiday music and elaborate props. We particularly love the seven glittery swans a-swimming and the added lights to illuminate the .75 mile nighttime path. You can see the popular Christmas carol come to life through Jan. 3
Farmers Branch Historical Park has really brought it—“it” being the holiday spirit and thousands of lights– with its annual, animated light show Tour of Lights. Each display has a theme, and the tour ends with a grand finale with Kris Kringle himself. An added bonus is that the whole thing is donation only. What’s not to like? If you want to see the lights shine better get a move on because they’re only on through Dec. 30.
Trust me on this one: you probably want to save Prairie Lights for a weeknight. It’s so popular that during peak hours, waits to get into the park have been known to take up to a few hours. That said, it’s totally worth it. Picture this: you’re bonding with your little ones over a picturesque two-mile drive, oohing and aahing at four million lights. In the middle of the journey, you can park your car for a pit stop at Holiday Village, where you can grab hot cocoa and cider, hang out with Santa (who’s happily rested after his big December 25 delivery!), spin around on the carnival rides and check out the laser show. Round out the outing by exiting the light tunnel—it’s sure to impress. The Prairie Lights will be shining through Jan. 3.
KERA’s Kristen Taylor contributed to this report.