Fantasy Lights is an amazing Christmas lights display that takes place each year at Spanaway Park, just south of Tacoma. Unlike the other large South Sound lights display, Zoolights at Point Defiance Park in North Tacoma, this event doesn’t require getting out of your car, which is sometimes the perfect way to go in the Pacific Northwest winter.
Fantasy Lights is the largest drive-through Christmas lights display in the Northwest and takes place from the day after Thanksgiving until just past the New Year. While it does not have as much fanfare as Zoolights (no camel rides, classic carousel or hot chocolate), sitting in the comfort of your car can be an ideal way to go if the night is rainy or if you have a group of kids to bring along.
If you don’t have your own Christmas music to bring along, tune to FM 93.5.
Another bonus is that getting into Fantasy Lights is a bit cheaper than going to Zoolights, especially if you have a family. Admission is charged by the car so you can bring along the whole family for one price, so long as you aren't driving a bus (those cost more that general admission).
There are more than 300 lit-up displays that fill Spanaway Park each Christmas season. The path of displays lines the roadways all throughout the park and around Spanaway Lake. If you have been here during the day, you won’t recognize the park at all. After dark, the displays light up and you will feel like you are driving through some sort of wonderland dream.
Many of the Christmas displays come back year after year, but often change positions in the park. Perhaps the most iconic is the giant red teddy bear. Other popular repeat displays are Candy Cane Lane, a giant dragon, a pirate ship, Santa getting blasted from a cannon, and a gingerbread man or a reindeer jumping over the road (make sure to stop underneath them so they can jump over your car). New displays are added each year as well.
Traffic through the park moves quite slowly so you have plenty of time to look around and enjoy the lights. The Spanaway Fantasy Lights are popular so if you are going on a Friday or Saturday night, expect to wait—sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour. If you go on a Monday through Thursday night, there is usually no wait at all. While you might be discouraged by the line of cars outside the entrance, having a line actually slows down the progression of the experience so you get more time to enjoy it.
Also, remember to turn off your lights (or ask for light covers if you can't turn off your lights) so the people in front of you can see, too.
Discounts and Coupons
Admission is paid per carload rather than per individual. The cost is around $15. Rates are higher if you are bringing in a mini-bus or bus.
Fantasy Lights coupons and discounts are commonly available at locations around Tacoma, Spanaway and Lakewood. Usually discount tickets are available at the Lakewood Community Center, Sprinker Recreation Center (right across from Spanaway Park), and sometimes Garfield Book Company near the PLU campus. If you visit the Fantasy Lights website, you can also often find a coupon to print out for a discount. Groups of 10 or more can also typically score discounts if they buy in advance from Pierce County Parks at 253-798-4177.
Location and Hours
14905 Gus G. Bresemann Rd. S.
(Military Road and 152nd Street)
Spanaway, WA 98387
Displays are open from 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. from the day after Thanksgiving until after the New Year.
Directions to Spanaway Park
From I-5, take exit 127 to get onto 512 toward Puyallup/Mt Rainier. Take the second exit on the right after you merge onto 512, which is Parkland/Spanaway. At the stop light, turn right onto Pacific Avenue and then drive for 2.7 miles. Turn right at 152nd Street/Military Road. The entrance to the park is about a half mile down this street on your left.
If there is a line, it often backs up to Pacific. If this is the case, continue past 152nd Street, find a place to turn around, and get into line. Even if the line looks long, it often moves pretty quickly.