For many people in St. Charles County, Missouri, the holiday season warrants a visit to O'Fallon's Celebration of Lights. This drive-through Christmas light display is a popular and devastatingly festive destination for residents and visitors alike.
Since 1991, this St. Louis-area tradition has attracted more than 10,000 vehicles to Fort Zumwalt Park—just a few miles west of the city—each year. The scenes on display are designed and funded by local businesses, churches, and organizations. You're almost guaranteed to see life-sized nutcrackers, scenes from your favorite holiday movies, and, of course, the annual, ever-Instagrammable tunnel of lights.
The Celebration of Lights traditionally commences on the Friday after Thanksgiving and closes in late December. In 2019, the attraction is open from November 29 through December 30, except on Christmas Day. You can drive through this over-the-top spectacle of lights between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. daily. On Fridays and Saturdays, however, it stays open until 10 p.m.
How to See The Celebration of Lights
Reservations are not required for regular drive-through hours, but visitors must pay a fee of $10 per car. Tuesday nights are discounted to $8 and you can also get $1 off the admission price if you bring a food pantry donation Thursday through Sunday.
Although the Celebration of Lights is a drive-through exhibit, there are other more interesting ways to see it. Train rides are available on Monday nights and you may also take a horse-led carriage ride any night of the week except December 9, 10, and 25. Keep in mind that train rides and horse-drawn carriage rides cost extra and require reservations at least two weeks in advance.
On December 9 and 10, 2019, enjoy a wintry stroll through the display for an up-close-and-personal look. No cars are allowed on these nights, nor are any type of special rides available. There will be holiday music, food and gift booths, fireworks, and an appearance by Santa Claus, himself.
Other Nearby Christmas Displays
In fact, the entire St. Louis region has been known to reach this level of festive when the holidays roll around. Every year, the Anheuser-Busch Brewery puts on a pretty spectacular light display, too, as does the Missouri Botanical Garden with its Garden Glow event and the St. Louis Zoo with its beloved Wild Lights.
There's even another drive-through display, called Holiday Night Lights, at Wentzville's Rotary Park. This one is about a 40-minute drive from St. Louis and it's open from November 29 through December 29, 2019 (again, closed on Christmas). This public display features more than a mile of holiday scenes and on Saturday nights, Santa makes his rounds at the Kolb Building, where you can also check out a collection of trees decorated by businesses supporting local charities.
Finally, near Six Flags in Eureka—30 minutes from St. Louis—there's Santa's Magical Kingdom, which packs millions of lights and festive decorations into Jellystone Park. Kids will love taking a train or wagon right through the display while adults won't be able to pull themselves away from the charming Kringle's General Store (a great source for Christmas gifts and trinkets, by the way). Santa's Magical Kingdom is open nightly from November 15, 2019, through January 5, 2020.