Where to See the Best Holiday Light Shows in Alabama – Update Alaba

For those brave enough to untangle last year’s Christmas lights, imagine covering an entire zoo or botanical garden in glowing bulbs.

Across Alabama, the custom of lighting up Christmas is elevated to an artistic level with dancing elves, prancing reindeer, walking gingerbread men and, in one case, a moonlit Santa. The displays range from dramatic to whimsical, high in the treetops to underground, and from elegant to so tacky the infamous Griswold House couldn’t handle it.

From November to January, you can fill your senses with holiday cheer. Start early and follow the lighted path from north to south. Or choose an old favorite to share with the whole family. These light displays are full of joy, whimsy, movement, humor and holidays at their best.

(Galaxy of Lights / Contributed)

Huntsville Botanical Garden Galaxy of Lights (Huntsville)

Santa meets the astronauts in Rocket City. Starting with a patriotic red glow, the lunar vehicles light their way. Just down the road, space meets prehistory and glowing dinosaurs. In between, there are fairy-tale heroes and heroines, forest scenes and lots of flowers. Follow the 2.5-mile journey, either on foot or by car, through light scenes. During evening walks with the dog, your four-legged friend can chase an animated squirrel. The lights are on from 11 November to 1 January from 5.15pm to 8.30pm

Christmas at the Falls (Gadsden)

Arrive early at Noccalula Falls for a spectacular two-for-one show. Get there before dark and take the boardwalk to the falls for a beautiful nature light show with a sunset/overlook combo. Then take the time to stroll among the lights and music of dancing snowflakes and exotic animals. Grab a cup of cocoa and ride the train that circles the light show. During Paws for the Falls nights, canine companions are welcome, but you may want to keep them away from the animated tigers! Santa visits between November 25 and December 23. The lights run from November 24th to January 2nd.

Annual Sportsman Lake Winter Wonderland (Cullman)

Here’s your chance to hear sleds on the snow. You can jingle all the way to Sportsman Lake Park with the snow machine and horse and carriage rides. Or take the train. Or take a drive and see more than a million lights twinkle along the way. Take a Christmas card picture in the photo booth. Santa can photobomb you with a candy cane. The park will be celebrating the 20th year of this holiday spectacle. Open 19.-23. November, 26-28 December, 1-5 December, 8-12, 15-23 26-30 December is only a pass.

(Wacky Tacky Light Tour/Mark Peavy)

Wacky Tacky Light Tour (Birmingham)

Going against the grain of beautiful lights, the Wacky Tacky Light Tour seeks out the wackiest, craziest, weirdest and downright funny homemade light displays. They claim that their standards are low and difficult to meet. This two-hour bus tour includes Santa’s Trailer Park, Dueling Neighbors, Mooning Santa, Toomer’s Corner in Lights and Star Wars—because nothing says Christmas like a pair of Darth Vaders. Including a Hanukkah house with a spinning dreidel, a fiddler on the roof and joy to the world, minus the “J”, this is your most inclusive light tour option. The homeowners joke that someone who hangs 10,000 lights on their roof isn’t cursed with shyness, and they lobby to join the tour. The tour lasts four nights: 13, 15, 20 and 22 December, buses leave every ten minutes. Reservation required. Attendees can purchase seats or reserve a private bus for this popular fundraiser for underserved children.

Glow Wild at Birmingham Zoo (Birmingham)

This new holiday show, which has been described as a Zoolight Safari on steroids, features lanterns at night. Wild animals and sea creatures rise to the sky and shine from the lights of the lanterns. You may spy a mythical dragon along the way! Take an elevator ride on the Red Diamond Express Train and then take a spin on the carousel before walking through the ZOO. You won’t see the animals, but you might hear some night calls that add the magic of an illuminated jungle to the environment. This show runs on rainless nights from November 16th to January 16th, Wednesday to Sunday from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, entry closes at 8:00pm

(Majestic Caverns/Contributed)

Majestic Cavern Christmas Laser Light Show (Childersburg)

Prepare your students for a journey into total darkness before laser lights illuminate the caverns in an explosion of color. Majestic Caverns (formerly Desoto Caverns) has a large theater for its light show: a 120-foot-tall, 100-yard-long cathedral cavern. This show is a perfect choice for families with young children: it runs during the day, is unaffected by the weather, and stays a modest 60 degrees year-round. Their Christmas laser light show will be on view during all tours from November 20th to December 31st from 10am to 4.30pm

Festival of Christmas Lights at the Montgomery Zoo (Montgomery)

Penguins can be seen outdoors when the Montgomery Zoo transforms into a Winter Wonderland. Thousands of lights transform into your favorite animals. Take a tour, but also take a train or the Zoofair Skylift. Warm up at the Mann Museum while you get new decorating ideas from the Christmas Tree Village. Hot chocolate Santa and freshly baked cookies accompany it on select nights. The Overlook Café features live entertainment. The exhibition runs from December 2 to 25. Give life to animals in the wild at the Animal Angel Tree.

Christmas Night Lights (mobile)

There are no beads or mooncakes, just a million lights—actually the largest synchronized light show in Alabama. However, the dancing in the street remains as the illuminated figures sway to the music. While driving, tune the car radio to a broadcast station. Expect to hear new holiday hits along with your favorite traditional carols. The path will light your way between nutcrackers, trees and snowflakes that sparkle to the beat. The illumination lasts from November 11 to January 1 from 6 to 11 p.m

(Bellingrath Gardens and Home/Contributed)

Bellingrath Gardens and Home’s Magic Christmas in Lights (mobile)

Come see how creative the gardeners are – three million lights created into scenes designed and built by three Bellingrath employees. They work all year round and add magic to a magical Christmas in lights. There are plenty of botanical environments such as the Secret Garden, Flower Walk and Live Oak Plaza. If you look closely, there are fish swimming in the trees, butterflies and dragons darting about in the Asian-American garden. Bethlehem and Shrovetide celebrate two holidays in separate scenes. Candyland and Gumball Cove are popular with the little ones. The lighted trail is perfect for walking, but wheelchairs and buggies are available. A tour of the house, resplendent in holiday decorations. Santa can be found every night in the Magnolia Room from November 25th to December 23rd. Hot chocolate and hot food are available.

Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade (Gulf Shores/Orange Beach)

Decked out from bow to stern, these boats are a floating party. Boats start at Lulu’s and sail through the Waterway Village with lights ablaze and head to The Wharf. The parade can be viewed along the canal from Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. Boaters decorate the sails and sides with colored lights and illuminated figures that sail through the darkness. The festivities begin at dusk.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

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