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Holiday Light Displays in Connecticut (CT Blog)

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Holiday Light Displays in Connecticut

Lights Usher in the Holiday Season in CT

Lights! Whatever holiday you celebrate this winter (or even if you celebrate no holidays at all), there will still be a huge, glorious amount of colored lights hanging off of everyone and everything for at least another month. Every street you drive down, there will be lights on bushes, lights on houses, lights on trees, and probably at least three terrifyingly giant blow-up snow globes in varying states of flaccidity. If you’d like to ditch the neighbors’ small-time displays and see some large amounts of professionally installed lights, there are several sites to choose from around the state. Lights!

Holiday Light Fantasia in Hartford’s Goodwin Park

Holiday Light Fantasia in Goodwin ParkOver 35 scenes and 200 individual displays of colored lights can be seen from now until January 6th in Goodwin Park, where an over two-mile drive takes you past scenes of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more. The display, which hasn’t appeared in three years, is now on again, and is run by the Channel 3 Kids Camp; admission is $10 per car and all proceeds go to the program, which provides recreational opportunities for underprivileged kids ages 6 to 16. A radio broadcast provides holiday music and information on the lights, which are open for viewing every night. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 5pm to 9pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm to 10pm. Visit for more info.

New Haven’s Fantasy of Lights

Managed by Easter Seals Goodwill Industries, the Fantasy of Lights show in New Haven features over 60 images constructed out of colored lights, including elves, igloos, bears, and a dragon. Drive through Lighthouse Point Park any night until January 7th; hours are Sunday through Thursday 5pm to 9pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm to 10pm, and just like in Hartford, it’s only $10 a car. Check out for directions.

Mystic Aquarium’s Festival of Lights

From 5pm to 8pm on December 9th, Mystic Aquarium is illuminated for the annual Festival of Lights. Walkways are lined with luminaries, and various organizations will provide entertainment in the form of face painting, music, and story-telling, as well as an appearance by Santa. The shops in Olde Mistick Village will also be illuminated for some night-time Christmas shopping, which hopefully shouldn’t put too much of a dent in your pocket, since admission to the festival is free with one nonperishable food item. See for more information.

Winterfest at the Connecticut Trolley Museum

Winterfest. Photo Courtesy of the Connecticut Trolley MuseumWant to ride a trolley? Want to do it at night? Under a tunnel of Christmas lights? From now until December 30th, you can at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor. It’s not a solid tunnel so much as it is strings of lights placed at intervals along the track, but when the trolley gets going the cumulative effect is that of a tunnel. Riders have the option of either the closed trolley or the open “electric sleigh,” which provides a ride that’s chilly, but more scenic. The Visitor Center is also open at night, and has displays of model trains and some Christmas decorations. The museum is open from 5pm to 9pm Friday through Sunday and after Christmas from 6pm to 9pm. See for more info on hours and pricing.

Meriden’s Festival of Silver Lights

One of my favorite Christmas-time things to do is see the lights at Hubbard Park in Meriden, because they’re not just holiday lights— they’re all white lights, and shaped mostly in the form of animals (with the occasional castle and snowflake thrown in). They’re also unique in their placing. Rather than just being set up along the road, each animal or object is placed in its natural environment: turtles make their way towards the water, reindeer are placed on a roof, snowflakes hang suspended from the trees right over your head as you drive underneath, and there are even some brightly lit swans floating on the surface of the pond. Best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day, every day, and it’s free. Call 203-630-4259 for more information.

Sarah Alender is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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