Holiday lighting events that will brighten the season
Sure, Colorado is known for its slick mountain resorts. The upscale eateries. The craft beer. The sledding hills with fresh pow-pow. But another thing the state totally hits outta the North Pole? Holiday lighting events.
Attractions across the state light up the cold winter night’s sky with thousands of holiday lights, warm drinks, festive tunes and more for you and the family to enjoy.
From the Denver Zoo Lights to the 9NEWS Parade of Lights, we’ve rallied up 11 of the season’s hottest Colorado holiday lighting events that have become traditions for families each year. What are you waiting for? Grab your planners, get bundled up and go out and have some illuminating fun.
Adventure Golf Holiday Lights
When: Through Dec. 11, Thursday-Sunday, 5:30-9 p.m. Then, open daily from Dec. 15 through Jan. 1, 5:30-9 p.m. Price: $10/adult (13-59); $8/child (4-12); $8/senior (60+) Location: Adventure Golf & Raceway, 9650 N. Sheridan Blvd., Westminster Website: www.adventuregolfandraceway.com/plan/holidaylight.cfm
A great way to brush up on your putt-putt skills, with 54 holes of miniatures golf and nearly 100,000 twinkling, colorful lights. The folks at Adventure Golf seriously know what’s up when it comes to creating the magic. Kids will love the volcano that erupts every 10 minutes and the light holiday treats and beverages including hot cocoa, s’mores and Y-E-S, adult spirits.
Butterfly Pavilion Living Lights
When: December through January, 6-9 p.m. (check website for specific dates) Location: 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster Price: $11/adults; $9/seniors (65+) and Westminster residents; $6/children ages 2-12 Website: www.butterflies.org/event/livinglights/
If you’ve ever been to the Butterfly Pavilion, then you know all about its creepy, crawly and magnificent animals, bugs and butterflies. During the holidays, however, you get to see those animals in a whole new light. Literally. After dark, bring the family to see the light displays. Oh, and mom: You’re in luck. They actually bring in bartenders to serve up beer, wine and various cocktails. (OK, we buried the lead on that one, didn’t we?)
Denver Zoo Lights
When: From Dec. 2 to Jan. 1 Location: Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St., Denver Price: For peak nights, $17/ adults; $12 for children ages 3-11; $14 for seniors (65+). Website: www.denverzoo.org/zoo-lights-2016
Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo is the Rocky Mountain Region’s largest lighting event, with 70 acres of illuminated sculptures, festivities that include meeting Santa Claus (select dates, check the website), live animal demonstrations, ice carvers, jugglers, carolers, singing princesses, instrumental groups, delicious holiday treats for the kids — and adult beverages that just might make mom actually kiss Santa Claus. Admire all the lights as you walk through the Denver Zoo looking at rhinos, hippos, mountain goats, elephants, gibbons. (You get the point.) Dec. 26-30, the zoo will celebrate Kwanzaa with African cultural holiday music, entertainment and various activities. Check out the calendar online for specialty nights for additional celebrations.
9NEWS Parade of Lights
When: Dec. 2 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. Location: Kicks off at Denver’s City and County Building Price: Grandstand tickets $19/adults (people over 12); $16/children ages 2-12; free elsewhere along parade route Website: www.downtowndenver.com/pol-2016
9NEWS Parade of Lights gives Disneyland a run for its money. It’s exactly what you imagine, only better. Bundle up the kids and head to Denver’s City and County Building to watch some of the state’s best high school marching bands playing Christmas classics, floats with thousands of sparkling lights, Major Waddles, hot chocolate and various vendors serving drinks to warm the soul — and stick around to the end with an appearance by Santa. Grandstand tickets let you see all the action up-close.
Downtown Denver Grand Illumination
When: Nov. 25, 6 p.m. Location: Union Station, Skyline Park, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, 16th Street Mall and D&F Tower Price: Free Website: www.denver.org/ event/downtown-denvergrand-illumination/5211/
If you’re looking for a holiday tradition, head to Downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination with a Thermos full of hot cocoa for the kids and blankets. On Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m., some of Denver’s most iconic buildings will flip the switch and light up the night’s sky. 9NEWS will have a live “light the lights” countdown at Union Station, which begins at 6 p.m., but check out all the buildings during Downtown Denver’s Grand Illumination. In addition, Union Station, Denver City and County Building, Skyline Park, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions, 16th Street Mall and the historic D&F Tower will all officially turn on their holiday displays.
Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade
When: Dec. 3 at 5:50 p.m.
Location: Tejon Street, downtown Colorado Springs Price: Free, donations accepted online Website: http://csfestivaloflights.com/
If you want to step away from the Mile High City for an evening of holiday fun, put Colorado Springs Festival of Lights Parade on the family itinerary. Now in its 32nd year, the parade is set for Dec. 3 at 5:50 p.m. Everyone will love watching bright floats, high school marching bands, Santa Claus and other holiday festivities. Grab your warm clothes, bundle the kiddos and take in all the dazzling lights. It’s a memory you’ll cherish forever. Yes, even if your 2-year-old has an epic tantrum over eating another candy cane. Ahhhhh, memories.
Blossoms of Lights
When: Through Jan. 1 (includes Dec. 24, 25 and 31) from 5:30-9 p.m. Location: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., Denver Price: $13/adults; $11/adult member, seniors (65+), military; $10/children ages 3-15 Website: www.botanicgardens.org/events/specialevents/blossoms-light
Get ready for an impressive, make-your-jaw-drop holiday light extravaganza at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Blossoms of Lights. Guests will love the grand illuminated O’Fallon Perennial Walk and the Romantic Gardens. Walk through the gardens to admire twinkling lights, warm and tasty drinks and get a souvenir mug.
Chatfield’s Trail of Lights
When: Through Jan. 1 (includes Dec. 24, 25 and 31), 5:30-9 p.m. Location: Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton Price: $11/adult; $9/adult member, seniors (65+), military; $8/children ages 3-15 Website: www.botanicgardens.org/events/specialevents/trail-lights
Walk through a winding path with gorgeous scenery and magnificent light displays at Botanic Gardens Chatfield for the annual Trail of Lights event. For 2016, they’ve added longer trails with more lights, Farmer Green and animal light sculptures at Green Farm Barn, a magical enchanted forest, insect light sculptures at Lavender Garden, music in the children’s play area, a warming hut, fire pit and more. On Dec. 6 and 7, the kiddos will love story time and cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus.
Gunnison Night of Lights
When: Dec. 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Price: Free
Location: Downtown Gunnison Website: www.gunnisonchamber.com/events/details/ gunnisons-night-of-lights-321
Head to Gunnison for the Night of Lights, which makes for a fun couple of hours for the family. Santa will light the community Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m., and there will also be light sculptures, live entertainment, fun games and more.
When: Dec. 2 and 3, 5:308:30 p.m. Location: Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St., Lakewood Price: Free Website: www.lakewood.org/ HolidayLights/
Experience thousands of lights with many familyfriendly activities, from haywagon rides to museum tours, photos with Santa, music, holiday ornamentmaking, shopping and more. If you head out on Friday night, Dec. 2, you can listen to Green Mountain High School’s Shadows of the Mountains choir.
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade
When: Dec. 24, 6-8 p.m. Location: Telluride Resort in Telluride Price: Free Website: www.alltelluride.com/events/christmas_eve_torchlight_parade.php Wanting to get away for Christmas? Load up the gifts, pack your suitcases, your stockings and don’t forget the wiener dogs — or the kids — and head to Telluride for the annual Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade. Up to 100 Telluride Ski Area employees can be seen from town as they ski down Coonskin to Telluride Trail while holding glowing torches. Pretty cool, right?
Denver Botanic Gardens’ annual (and wildly popular) “Blossoms of Light” returns to its York Street location.