It’s the greatest time of year: the holidays. One of my favorite holiday activities is driving around looking at all the lights people display. Lucky for me, there are dozens of fun light displays around where I live. I visited my first light display of the season over Thanksgiving weekend: the Southern Lights Holiday Festival. Each year, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation sets up over 3 miles of lights for visitors to drive through. There’s also a fun Holiday Festival at the end of the lights that visitors can explore by foot. It’s fairly inexpensive and fun for the whole family! I loved visiting so much that I might just make it an annual tradition.
The Kentucky Horse Park has put together tons of lights for the Southern Lights display! Visitors drive through miles of these set ups. Be sure to tune in to the recommended radio station (signs posted near the entrance) or have some holiday music handy to really make your experience as jolly as possible!
Since it’s Kentucky, expect tons and tons of horse lights. We gave up counting them halfway through our drive because there were so many. My favorite horse light display honored past triple crown winners – cool, right!?
You’ll find also sets dedicated to the 12 Days of Christmas, fairytale favorites, animals, elves, Santa, and more. Roll your windows down if the weather lets you so you can snag some pictures (as long as you’re not the driver, of course).
After viewing the lights, you have the option of parking and exploring the Holiday Festival set up around the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor Center! You’re able to take pictures with the gorgeous tree outside the visitor center and explore even more lights, including a Kentucky Basketball themed display and a giant, 3D ornament!
There is a Christmas market of sorts set up inside the visitor center with all sorts of locally crafted goods. Outside, there are tons of delicious food options, including hot chocolate, funnel cake, kettle corn, roasted nuts, and more! If you keep walking back, you’ll find a building with Santa and model trains. Visiting with Santa is free, but it’s $5 for a photo. The model trains are set up downstairs and are pretty neat to walk through.
The Kentucky Horse Foundation has set up a free petting zoo, carousel, and train ride. Visitors can ride ponies and camels, visit a parakeet house, and feed petting zoo animals for additional fees.
The Southern Lights are open every night from 5:30 to 10 PM each night, though the non-driving activities (aka the Holiday Festival) are closed Dec 24-31. Entry fee charges by the car and is $17 on weekdays and $27 on weekends. Extended vans, RVs, and buses are more expensive. Cash and credit are both accepted for entry. While the Kentucky Horse Park has several entrances, Southern Lights only has one! Make sure you set your GPS to 4089 Iron Works Pike, which is the campground entrance. While the driving portion is in your car, the Holiday Festival is mostly outdoors, so dress accordingly!
Do you have any fun holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!