'Tis the season to start your winter celebrations! We've compiled some family-friendly events that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit, beginning this month.
'Tis the season to start your winter celebrations! We've compiled some family-friendly events that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit, beginning this month. HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING AND VILLAGE LIGHTS ADDRESS: Historic German Village PHONE: 614-221-8888 WEB: germanvillage.com PRICE: free DATE: 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30 for the Tree Lighting; 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2 for the Village Lights event; enjoy the seasonal decorations throughout the month DISTANCE: 1 mile south from downtown Columbus DESCRIPTION: Join residents of the village tucked next to downtown Columbus for the Tree Lighting on Nov. 30, where Santa will make an appearance and guests can enjoy treats, cider and hot chocolate. Then, the area will light up on Dec. 2 with the annual Village Lights. Stroll through the streets, grab a bite to eat and explore the shops. FANTASY OF LIGHTS ADDRESS: Alum Creek State Park, 2911 S. Old State Road, Delaware 43015 PHONE: 740-549-2267 WEB: alumcreek.com PRICE: Starts at $10 per car; varies by date and vehicle size DATES: Nov.16-Jan. 1 TIMES: 5:30-9:30 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 5:30-10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday DISTANCE: 20 miles north from downtown Columbus DESCRIPTION: For the 13th year in a row, Alum Creek is presenting its Fantasy of Lights. Just hop in your car and enjoy the drive-thru lights experience, which includes fun displays throughout the route in the woods. Once you're done, there's free hot chocolate and cookies at Santa's House (located down the road at Cross Creek Camping Resort), and families can have photos taken with Santa, too. And you can check some holiday shopping off the list - Santa's house also has a selection of gift items to purchase. MERRY & BRIGHT ADDRESS: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus 43203 PHONE: 614-715-8000 WEB: fpconservatory.org PRICE: regular admission rates ($11 adults to age 59, $9 ages 60+ and college students with ID, $6 ages 3-17, free for ages 0-2) DATE: Nov. 17-Jan. 6, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas TIME: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays DISTANCE: 3 miles east from downtown Columbus DESCRIPTION: Visit the Conservatory for lights, trains, gingerbread houses and more! Along with the decorations available for viewing daily, the Conservatory stays open late on Wednesday evenings for Merry & Bright Nights. And don't forget to enter the gingerbread house competition! Entries for the different categories are due by Dec. 2, and the houses will be on display the remainder of December. Check the website for more information about special family programs throughout the season. OHIO STATEHOUSE TREE LIGHTING AND HOLIDAY FESTIVAL ADDRESS:The Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square (Downtown), Columbus 43215 PHONE: 888-OHIO-123 WEB: ohiostatehouse.org PRICE: free DATE: Dec. 3 TIME: 5:30-7:30 p.m. DESCRIPTION: For nearly 100 years, Columbus residents have been gathering at the Statehouse for the tree lighting. The holiday festival that night also has plenty of family-friendly activities including refreshments, historical characters and singing with carolers. This event begins a month-long holiday celebration at Capitol Square with holiday tours, choir performances and more. WILDLIGHTS ADDRESS: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Road, Powell 43065 PHONE: 614-645-3550 WEB: columbuszoo.org PRICE: regular admission rates ($14.99 ages 10-59, $9.99 ages 2-9, $10.99 ages 60+, free for ages 0-2); parking is $57 per car; members receive free admission and parking. DATES: Nov. 16-Jan. 1, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas Eve TIMES: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays DISTANCE: 17 miles northwest from downtown Columbus DESCRIPTION:If you've never been to our nationally renowned zoo (it's pretty much a Columbus crime if you haven't!), then the Wildlights are the perfect time to go and make some family memories. Beginning mid-November and lasting until 2013, the millions of lights will dazzle you, and kids will love seeing the animals and visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus. HOLIDAY LIGHTS! AT CREEKSIDE PARK ADDRESS: Creekside Park & Plaza, 123 Mill St., Gahanna 43230 PHONE: 614-418-9114 WEB: visitgahanna.com PRICE: free and open to the public DATES: Nov. 10-Jan. 2 TIME: Monday-Sunday, any time DISTANCE: 10 miles east from downtown Columbus DESCRIPTION: This season-long lights display begins with a holiday tree lighting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, including a ceremony with the mayor. Then, on the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 23), take part in a Healthy Holiday 5K and catch the Holiday Lights! parade at 6 p.m. that evening. Registration for the 5K is available at visitgahanna.gov. THE GRAND ILLUMINATION OF DOWNTOWN COLUMBUS ADDRESS: Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Dr. (Downtown), Columbus 43215 PHONE: 614-645-3300 WEB: sciotomile.com PRICE: free DATE: 5 p.m.,Nov. 30 DESCRIPTION: Bring the family and join Mayor Coleman as the Scioto Mile becomes illuminated for the season. Activities throughout the evening include musical performances and more. And tell kids to be on their best behavior, because Santa might be stopping by! The area will remain lit through the holiday months.