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Every year, Ohio lights up with colorful Christmas lights in mid-November to ring in the holiday cheer. There are many walk-in and drive-through displays throughout the state that your family can enjoy with a thermos of hot cocoa in hand. The most impressive light displays are in Cleveland, Columbus, Clifton, Morrow, and Hamilton.
Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (November 20, 2020–January 3, 2021)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights is a popular holiday season destination for families. Animated animal displays sparkle with thousands of twinkling lights throughout the park. There are also dozens of activities for kids of all ages: from live music and ice skating to Santa's Holiday Home. Kids will enjoy Holiday Star Light Star Bright Seek-n-Find. Disney on Ice presents Reach for the Stars, with new winners and magical prizes each week. Wildlights rides include the Polar Bear Express through the North American winter wonderland, camel rides, and the 1914 Mangels-Illions Carousel. And of course, you can also enjoy live animals in their heated, indoor shelters!
Clifton Mill Christmas Lights (November 27–December 30, 2020)
Famous Clifton Mill Christmas Lights is a cherished Miami Valley tradition bringing joy to families for over thirty yea. Clifton Mill light display is one of the largest in the U.S., featuring over 3.5 million lights illuminating historical buildings, riverbanks, bridges, and gorges. The highlight of the show is a 30-m (100-ft) waterfall of twinkling lights. The fantastic winter wonderland hosts a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum, and a musical light show at the old Covered Bridge. Santa's Workshop invites kids to see Santa at work and going up the chimney to load his sleigh.
The Christmas Ranch, Morrow (November 20–December 23, 2020)
The Christmas Ranch on South Waynesville Road in Morrow, Ohio, is one of the state's most visited holiday destinations. The spectacular ranch is decorated with over 350,000 lights, synchronized to music. Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology, The Christmas Ranch “The Gift of Lights” display is a truly memorable experience. Occupying five acres, The Christmas Ranch features an illuminated drive-thru route that ends in the magical Christmas Village. Stop by the barn for some hot beverages, watch the Jingle Bell Show, and take a walk through a forest full of animated Christmas trees decorated with 15,000 synchronized lights. Dozens of Santas and Snowmen bop and spin to the sounds of Bing Crosby and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Lights Before Christmas at Toledo Zoo (November 20–December 31, 2020)
Lights Before Christmas is Toledo’s favorite holiday tradition. Merry and bright displays feature over a million sparkling lights, animated figures, an ice slide, and much more. The Big Tree at the Toledo Zoo is a true state-of-the-art creation. Additionally, there are over 200 illuminated animal displays across the Zoo, for a perfect holiday evening. Stop in the ProMedica Museum of Natural History for a hot cup of cocoa or a treat while checking out the unique Ohio natural wonders. An interactive LED display lets visitors move or dance on the Amphitheatre ﬂoor and see their silhouettes light up on stage.
Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus (November 14, 2020–January 10, 2021)
Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park in Columbus is one of the biggest and brightest holiday shows in the city. The park, as well as the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden and the Grand Mallway, sparkle with lights and whimsy displays. The Conservatory, with its unique plant collection, is the main attraction in the park. Kids' favorite shows include the Rainbow Tunnel, the Whirly Tree, topiary flamingos, gingerbread houses, and the illuminated Sandstone Creek. The Grand Mallway is another festive area featuring The Pool, an interactive environment by artist Jen Lewin with giant rings of circular pads that change colors with movement and pressure.
PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo (November 21, 2020–January 3, 2021)
The annual Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights is a dazzling holiday display and a favorite local holiday tradition. Running since the 1980s, it has over three million LED lights and several displays. The Cincinnati Zoo is transformed into a wild wonderland where visitors can watch a puppet show, ride the Toyland Express, look for fairies in Fairyland, wander in Candy Cane Forest, visit Frozen characters, and stop in the Gingerbread Village. Santa is available for visits every day, starting at 4 p.m. No additional ticket is required, as Festival of Lights is included in the Zoo Admission
Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights, Delaware (November 20, 2020–January 3, 2021)
More than one million LEDs light up the Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio, a real winter wonderland attracting thousands of people from all over the state. Over 130 light displays include Santa, reindeer, and other popular holiday characters. Enjoy the lights while you warm up with hot chocolate and cookies. You'll also get a chance to meet Santa himself. Admission to Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights, formerly known as Alum Creek Fantasy of Lights, starts at $20 per vehicle on weekdays to $30 per car on weekends.
Wild Lights at Akron Zoo (November 27–December 30, 2020, on select days)
The wildest light display of the year, Wild Lights at Akron Zoo in the city of Akron, Ohio, promises plenty of fun activities for the whole family. Kids can visit Santa Land and tell jolly old St. Nick their holiday wishes. Also, see the Snow Queen, the Snow Princess, and the Snowman. Entertainment includes performances from local choirs, Holly Jolly Hillside with lighted North American animals & trees synchronized to music, and Classic Holiday Town in Grizzly Ridge. Rockin' Lighted Spectacular is a wall of animated lights synchronized to holiday music. Enjoy roasting s'mores and sample other treats. Adults can get a glass of beer or wine or add some jolt in their hot chocolate or coffee.
Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron (November 27–December 30, 2020, on select days)
The iconic Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a famous country estate in Akron, Ohio. It is one of the largest homes in the United States and a National Historic Landmark and features a classic comic hero Christmas every year from late November through December. Deck the Hall nights take place in nineteen rooms in the Manor House that are themed with the stories of classic comic and movie heroes: Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, and others. Another unique attraction is the giant interactive snow globe in Gingerbread Land. Visitors can walk into the snow globe that features a winter scene with gingerbread elements, candy canes, and holiday lights.