Ah, wintertime. It brings frigid temperatures and an ever-blowing icy wind to Ohio, but it also gets people in the mood for the holidays—once the first snowfall arrives, everything becomes enchanting (as long as there isn’t ice). Cozily sitting at the fireside with a fresh cup of cocoa is a hard thing to beat, but what’s the next best thing? Holiday light displays! They’re joyful, colorful, and some even have animations or music paired with them. So grab your friends, family, and some mittens to go down this list of the best holiday light displays in Columbus.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Wildlights
If you’ve never been to the Columbus Zoo—ever—you need to go around the holidays. Polar bears. Need I say more? In the warmer months you can visit all of the animals or cool off in the water park. Starting in mid- November, though, the zoo begins its annual Wildlights event. Lights and trees are put up all around the park; this includes music and shifting colors at different times, especially around the lake area. The Wildlights event also features a whole indoor display of Christmas movie clips and merchandise like Elf and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You can even meet “Rudolph” this year if you are feeling nostalgic.
Everyone already knows that German Village looks picturesque in the daytime—if you don’t know this, plan a trip to Schmidt’s immediately, because you’re missing out. German Village puts up beautiful lights each year in the wintertime, which usually consists of white icicles and string-light outlined architecture that looks like glowing gingerbread houses. The Book Loft looks especially cozy with its many windows full of books, and if you stop by the Fudge Haus near Schmidt’s, your holiday fantasy will truly be complete. These lights are best experienced walking around the village rather than driving through in my opinion; you can get a closer look inside and at peoples’ personal decoration styles. Happy dreaming!
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
Conservatory Aglow – Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking for a great display but want to stay a bit warmer, head over to The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Their Conservatory Aglow holiday display features an interactive portion dubbed “The Pool” that is computerized and will glow wherever and whenever someone jumps on its pads. There is also a rainbow tunnel that will make for the perfect selfie or a cute photo for your Instagram feed. The Conservatory takes a unique approach because many of its displays are actually sculptures by artists (think Otherworld-esque). There is even a gingerbread competition that is put out for viewing, so if you are looking for gingerbread decorating ideas, look no further. This is a great chance to see art, plants, and the holidays come together—what could be better?
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights – Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds
You’ve probably driven around neighborhoods to see holiday lights in your car many times as a kid and as an adult, and this display aims to keep the classic trend going. Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights lets you drive around the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds in your car to experience all of the amazing lights without breaking in your new snow boots. This is a great opportunity to carpool with a few friends for a fun midweek night out together, or make it a date night if your partner is crazy about the holidays; play “All I Want for Christmas is You” for the best potential results. Put a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate together with a few cookies to snack on—this will be a night to put your heart at ease.