The holiday spirit is in the air and everyone is eager for a joyous season! We’ve compiled a list of local, family-friendly events to make your winter celebrations even more memorable this year.
Where: Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton
When: November 30-December 30
Already a family favorite, Carillon Park becomes even more magical during the holiday months. The 65-acre exhibit features 15 miles of Christmas lights, letters to Santa, hot cocoa, train rides and more! Don’t forget to let your kids slide down Candy Cane Slopes while you’re there.
Where: Downtown, 23 N. Main St.
When: November 29
An annual tradition your family will look forward to each year, the Dayton Holiday Festival might just be the highlight of the season! The evening begins with the Grand Illumination tree lighting and a children’s nighttime parade. Little ones can pick up a pair of free “magic” glasses before the event to experience a fun surprise within the 100,000 lights. You’ll also find holiday treats, live music, live reindeer, horse drawn wagon rides and so much more!
Where: James Ranch Park, 177 Fairground Rd., Xenia
When: December 4-7
Enjoy a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus or take advantage of a souvenir photo opp. Afterwards, go for a stroll through the illuminated park to see holiday displays made with thousands of lights! There are also refreshments, interactive stations, and holiday crafts and activities for the kiddos.
Where: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, 1100 Spatz Rd., WPAFB
When: December 14
The Band of Flights, a musical group from our own Wright-Patterson AFB, promises a night filled with both new and classic holiday sounds. Tickets are free but required and the concert begins at 7:30 pm.
Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve
Where: 2385 State Route 41, Troy
When: Select evenings, December 27-December 29
Take a magical drive through a wooded farm transformed into a holiday wonderland with 1.25 miles of animated light displays! Because you’re able to enjoy this attraction from the warmth of your vehicle, it makes an especially enticing choice for anyone wanting the opportunity to visit an outdoor light experience, without also having to brave the cold!
Where: 8200 McEwen Rd., Centerville
When: November 22-December 23
Walk through a winter wonderland full of whimsical lights and holiday themed fun. Dazzling displays are set up throughout the winding pathways and are even reflected around the pond. You might also get the chance to meet Santa in his cabin, enjoy amusement rides and horse drawn carriage rides, or warm up with a few tasty treats around a bonfire.
Worth the Drive
When it comes to holiday magic, distance is no obstacle. We’ve added a few Dayton Parent-approved attractions to our list of local options for families who don’t mind traveling the extra mile!
Where: Creation Museum, 2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd., Petersburg KY
When: November 29-December 30
If you’ve ever thought about visiting the Creation Museum, Christmastime provides a wonderful chance to plan your trip. The museum’s botanical gardens are illuminated by thousands of glimmering displays, with new designs added each year. If you’d prefer a bird’s-eye view of the holiday magic, take a ride over the garden on the special three-line Christmas zip line course. Live animals, live nativity scenes and hot cocoa from Noah’s café will also prove to be a memorable experience for your little ones. (featured image)
Where: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W Powell Rd., Powell OH
When: Thanksgiving week until after Christmas week
Meet Santa and sample tasty treats from Mrs. Claus, visit Rudolph and his friends, and take in all that the Columbus Zoo has to offer during this wonderful time of year. In addition to the reindeer, some of the regular zoo residents will be out and about, and the exhibits are transformed with animated light shows and themed displays. After visiting with the animals, take a Polar Bear Express train ride or enjoy a Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer 4-D Theater experience.
Where: Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Dr., Kings Island OH
When: Select nights November 22-December 31
Kings Island transforms for the holidays, featuring 10 winter wonderlands throughout the park. Ice skate on the Royal Fountain, meet Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum Fairy, or marvel at the famous Eiffel Tower turned into a 314-ft Christmas tree. You’ll encounter traditional carolers, live holiday shows and find freshly baked goodies to sample while you take in this magical event.