Christmas Light Display at Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark
While most amusement parks in northern climes close after Halloween due to the cold weather, a few have extended their season with Christmas celebrations featuring holiday lights, a visit with Santa, and a spin on selected rides for the price of admission. ATZ took a look at four parks that are worth the drive from the New York metro area, as well as Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and Gothenburg’s Liseberg.
Christmas in Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo via Facebook.com/Tivoli
CHRISTMAS IN TIVOLI
Tivoli Gardens, the 170-year-old amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen, has been open for Christmas for the past 20 years. Thousands of lights adorn the buildings and rides, while glass, mother-of-pearl and heart-shaped lights bedizen the trees. Father Christmas and his elves greet visitors and the Tivoli Boys Guard parades through the Gardens playing Danish and English marches and carols. The park features 50 Christmas stalls and 32 rides including five new rides which are part of a Russian and Scandinavian-themed Christmas. For the first time ever, Tivoli will be open for walk-in guests on New Year’s Eve before the Fireworks are launched. Last year’s successful opening of some of Tivoli’s restaurants on New Year’s Eve sparked the idea of a full scale opening of the rides, games and shops. November 15-December 31. Closed December 24 and 25.
Christmas at Lake Compounce, Bristol, CT. Photo via Lake Compounce
HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT LAKE COMPOUNCE
Lake Compounce, North America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park, is bedecked with thousands of bulbs including “12 Days of Christmas” displays to celebrate the park’s 2nd annual Holiday Lights event. A selection of kiddie rides and family rides are open for the occasion. Lake Compounce’s train, which circles the lake, has been recommissioned the North Pole Express. Among the indoor activities are Story Time with Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating and gingerbread house making, carolers, an ice carver, clowns and holiday characters. November 29-December 22, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Hershey Park Christmas Candylane, Hershey, PA. Photo via Hershey Park
HERSHEYPARK CHRISTMAS CANDYLANE & HERSHEY SWEET LIGHTS
Founded in 1905 as a leisure park for Hershey Chocolate Company employees, Hersheypark marks its 30th holiday celebration this year. Christmas Candylane features more than 30 of the park’s rides including the Twilight Express, Santa and nine live reindeer, the N.O.E.L light show with 125,000 lights synchronized to Christmas carols, live entertainment, costumed characters, games, shops and food. Hershey Sweet Lights is a 2.3-mile drive-thru of 600 themed light displays with a customized radio broadcast. November 15-January 1. Closed December 24 and 25.
Christmas at Storybook Land, Egg Harbor, NJ. Photo via Storybook Land
CHRISTMAS FANTASY WITH LIGHTS AT STORYBOOK LAND
Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Fairytale-themed children’s parks were a popular attraction in the 1950s but New Jersey’s Storybook Land, near Atlantic City, is one of the few that has survived and is thriving in the 21st century. Christmas has been celebrated here for over 25 years and is a tradition for generations of South Jerseyans. Through December 23rd, Santa Claus comes out of the chimney of his house nightly at 5pm, waves his wand and lights the park’s million lights. Bubbles the Coaster, the Tick-Tock Clock Drop and other kiddie rides along with the park’s storybook architecture are also bedizened with lights. November 23-December 30. Closed December 24 and 25.
Christmas in Kennywood. Photo via Kennywood.com
12 NIGHTS OF HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT KENNYWOOD
West Mifflin, PA
Kennywood’s 3rd Annual Holiday Lights Festival includes two different light shows every half hour in the area surrounding the lagoon, local choirs, magic show, strolling band, dinner with Santa, and readings of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Pittsburgh radio and TV personalities. Operating rides include the Paratrooper, Kangaroo, Merry-Go-Round, Turtle, Ghostwood Estate (with a special holiday twist), The Gingerbread Express (Holiday Lights version of the Olde Kennywood Railroad), and up to 9 rides in Kiddieland. Although the park’s roller coasters aren’t open, guests are invited to stop by the Racer to take a unique picture with Santa in a replica coaster car. November 29-December 22. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Christmas at Liseberg. Photo via Liseberg.com
CHRISTMAS AT LISEBERG
Founded in 1923 as a temporary attraction for the 300th anniversary of the city of Gothenburg, Liseberg is Sweden’s most popular amusement park. In November and December, the 260-acre park hosts Scandinavia’s largest Christmas Market, which is illuminated by nearly 5 million lights. Rustic stalls and shops sell arts and crafts, and traditional food such as marinated herring, roasted reindeer meat from Lapland, marzipan pigs and glögg. Some rides are open including the Liseberg Wheel, carousels and kiddie rides. There’s also sleigh rides, an ice skating show, Santa’s House, a midwinter festival at a medieval village, and white rabbits from the North Pole greeting the park’s green rabbit mascot. November 15-December 29. Closed December 24 and 25.
Related posts on ATZ…
December 18, 2013: Photo Album: Christmas Peddlers in Old New York
December 13, 2013: Photo Album: Gingerbread Coney Island in City Harvest Extravaganza
October 21, 2013: Traveler: Osteria Ai Pioppi’s Homemade Amusement Rides
December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge
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