I know what you’re thinking: It didn’t feel like Halloween last month, it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving now, and I honestly can’t believe that Christmas is a little more than a month away. I don’t know if it’s the weather or the election or what, but it just doesn’t feel like the holiday season.
If you haven’t been able to get yourself into the holiday spirit, then now is the time to bring your family to check out the Fantasy of Lights in New Haven.
If you’ve never been to the Fantasy of Lights, here’s how it works: You roll up to the booth, pay the admission fee, and then drive through the displays at your own pace (being mindful of traffic behind you). While driving, you can turn your radio to station 87.9 to listen to Christmas music and some information about various displays.
With 60 animated Christmas displays consisting of more than 100,000 glittering bubs, Fantasy of Lights is sure to put everyone in a cheery mood. This year marks the 22nd year of the attraction with the addition of 3D glasses that can be worn to enhance the displays and really bring them to life, perfect for families with small children. Who doesn’t love 3D?
This is one of the earliest holiday attractions available in Connecticut, meaning you can go again and again over the next few months. Because the displays are always changing, many families make a tradition out of going year after year to spot the new additions and reminisce about the years gone by. (My grandfather was a big fan of the park, and I can specifically remember going through one year in the snow; it’s one of the things I think about when I think about Christmas in Connecticut).
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can visit the park on December 16 for a free giveaway and meet and greet with Santa, sponsored by the NBC Connecticut news team. If you’re going to wait in line for a photo with Santa, at least you can do it here surrounded by shimmering lights, instead of at the mall surrounded by pushy people!
All proceeds from Fantasy of Lights goes to support the various programs and projects of Easter Seals Goodwill Industries, which works to help disabled individuals become self-sufficient. So in addition to having a fun family-bonding holiday experience, you’ll be donating to an amazing cause—it’s a win-win!
When: November 18–January 1. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 5pm–9pm, Friday and Saturday 5pm-10pm. And yes, they’re open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
Where: Lighthouse Point Park, 2 Lighthouse Road, East Haven
Cost: $10 per car or family minivan, $25 per mini-bus, and $50 per full-sized bus. 3D glasses cost $2 extra per pair. (Cash only)