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Art&Seek Jr: 6 Displays To Help You Light Up The New Year
by Therese Powell 30 Dec 2014

Ring in the New Year with some colorful light displays.

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

It’s strange to me that we live in a society that starts promoting the yuletide season around the middle of October, but there’s hardly a mention of it after December 25. I guess we’re so barraged with the constant fa-la-la-la-la from Halloween on, that we’re itching to take down the boughs of holly and move on to the white sales come December 26.

I grew up in a household that routinely hung on to Christmas until well into January. My mother would point out that the 12 days of Christmas didn’t actually start until Christmas Day, so after December 25 was when the real celebrating should begin. Of course that argument didn’t hold much weight when February rolled around and the tree was still up. Yes, we were THAT family in our neighborhood.

Whatever your feelings on when the tree should come down, it should be pointed out that the perfect time to view those fabulous light displays is after the holidays. The crowds have thinned out and the pressure to get every experience in before Christmas day has magically disappeared. Instead of feeling compelled to rush, you have time to relax and really enjoy the beauty of the displays.

Here are some light displays you and the kiddos can check out. Hopefully they’ll help the holiday glow last a teensy bit longer.

If Clark Griswold is your hero and light displays are your passion, don’t miss Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie. This drive-thru experience is the mother of all light displays. It features 4 million twinkling lights set along 2 miles of path, many of which arch over the roadway. At the halfway point you can stop at the Holiday Village for some hot chocolate and kettle corn. For an additional fee you can let the little kiddles take a romp through the Magic Walk-Through Lighted Forest, or view the indoor laser show. Admission is $20 per car on weeknights and $30 on weekends through Jan. 4.

Start a new bright holiday tradition. (Photo: Prairie Lights)

Start a new bright holiday tradition. (Photo: Prairie Lights)

For a real bargain load up the car and head over to The Christmas Tour of Lights at Farmers Branch Historical Park. The drive-thru animated displays here feature over 500,000 twinkling lights with a  variety of different scenes and themes–everything from fantasy to patriotic. Best of all, it’s free. Better hurry though, the dancing lights are only up through December 30.

It you’d rather walk than drive through your Winter Wonderland, check out Vitruvian Lights in Addison. You and the little kiddies can run, skip, or stroll  through a beautiful 12-acre park that’s lit up with millions of lights wrapped around more than 200 trees. The lights remain on every evening through Jan. 1 and it’s free.

An often overlooked place to view lights is Klyde Warren Park. Get out of your car and let the tines burn off the sugar from the Christmas cookies on the path around the park, or head over to the ultra modern playground for a little jungle gym action. A side note–this park is one of the few that I’ve seen with real bathrooms, not port-a-potties. Trust me when I tell you this is important information to have on hand during hot chocolate weather. If the kids are still extra energetic take a stroll over to the AT&T Performance Center and check out the 72 trees in the center that are illuminated by 250,000 lights.

Now is the perfect time to enjoy area light displays. (Photo: Vitruvian Lights)

Now is the perfect time to enjoy area light displays. (Photo: Vitruvian Lights)

Stop by the Christmas capital of Texas for the Light Show Spectacular, a 25-minute synchronized light and sound display. The show runs continuously from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 4. See the twinkling extravaganza at its new location at the corner of Main and Dallas Streets in downtown Grapevine.

If mother nature doesn’t want to cooperate, move the the light watching party from outside to inside at Sparkle!, the holiday experience at Trinity Hall inside the Hilton Anatole. You and the kids can take in more than a million and a half twinkling lights and colorful holiday decorations. But hold on, besides a galaxy of glowing lights, you can also take a spin around the indoor skating rink (skates included), bounce in the bounce houses and velcro wall, and fly down the giant slide. There’s also less rambunctious activities like face painting, crafts and story telling for those wanting a more low key experience.

Hope your New Year is merry and bright!

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 9-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].

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