Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Spin 12.1.09

I like to take my holidays one at a time. Accordingly, I allowed my brain to succumb to its annual turkey-induced coma and waited until the morning after Thanksgiving to begin my Christmas preparations in earnest. I began by doing what any normal human being who hates shopping and crowds would do on Black Friday: I spent the entire day at eastern PA's largest mall with my mom (and Henry the Octopus). Having survived that experience without inflicting permanent injury upon myself or anyone else, I capped off my highly productive first official weekend of the holiday season by tackling that most dreaded of all Christmas chores, stringing lights on the tree. Boo-ya!

But if you think that's impressive, you should see the transformations that have taken place at many of our parks over the past few weeks.

Let's begin with the most unlikely of winter wonderlands, Schlitterbahn New Braunfels. It's hard to believe that this park's Hill Counry Christmas event is only in its second year, as it is quite impressive. Drop into America's favorite water park this month and trade in those Master Blaster rides for a trip down the Bobsled Racer or the brand new Luge Sled Run. In between runs, you can check out one of the park's numerous holiday shows, including a spectacular light show along the banks of the Comal River that's choreographed to your favorite holiday tunes. Fellow character lovers, take note: Photo ops will be available with Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, and even--GASP!!--Schatze, Schlitterbahn's dashing dachshund himself! Did I mention that they have an outdoor ice skating rink too? In Texas? By the time you're done with all that, you just might need a soak in the Winter Wassail Hot Tub. San Antonians have it tough, I tell you.

As you can see from this video, which captured a previous year's event, Lakemont Park's Holiday Lights on the Lake is quite a spectacle!

Inching ever so slightly closer to the North Pole, kids from 1 to 92 are sure to enjoy Lakemont Park's annual Holiday Lights on the Lake event, which features 13 new displays this year. Just picture it: Cruising through 51 acres of twinkling lights and animated displays, singing along to the Christmas carols being broadcast over the park's radio network, keeping track of how many times you spot a certain red-nosed mammal in an effort to win some cold, hard cash...Oh, that last item caught your attention, did it? Well it's true! Rudolph is hiding all over the place, and if you're one of the lucky contestants who accurately counts all of his appearances, you could win a $250 shopping spree to Best Buy. But this particular Christmas event is not about greed--far from it. Each year, a portion of the proceeds from Holiday Lights on the Lake is donated to a selection of very deserving non-profit organizations. Kudos to Lakemont for exhibiting true holiday spirit.

Speaking of lights, the left coast will also be ablaze with merriment this December. Gilroy Gardens is heating up the holiday fun with Nights of Fire, a brand new laser light and fireworks extravaganza set to a holiday soundtrack. It's all part of the park's sixth annual Holiday Lights event, which begins on Friday, December 4. Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang will be on hand to treat kids of all ages to a charming musical performance, after which you can enjoy ice skating under the stars or even a visit with old St. Nick. Select rides and attractions will also be open. And what feast for the senses would be complete without an actual feast? Gilroy's version is of the all-you-can-eat variety, and takes place in a heated venue known as the Snowflake Palace. (Is that irony, or just a little Christmas magic?)

Now I've heard of Ice Queens (nothing good, I might add), but a Snow Queen? Or how about some Snow Princesses? They must be a different breed, because Santa himself invited them to join him at Six Flags Over Texas for this year's Holiday in the Park event. In addition to getting your picture taken with these guests of honor, you can hop aboard the Santa Express, where your leisurely rail journey will be punctuated by the singing of Christmas carols and a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas. If that's not enough of a show for you, check out one of the park's scheduled shows, some of which are so popular you may need to pick up your free admission ticket in advance to ensure you get a seat! Six Flags Over Texas has also cooked up something extra special this year, and I'm not talking about sugar cookies. They've built a sledding hill--with real snow! And those ornaments in the gift shop? Made from real Texas Giant wood, thank you very much. This park is all about keepin' it real. Real Christmasy.

And so am I, so I'll be bringing you much more in the way of glad tidings in the weeks to come!


Unknown said...

whats the largest mall in eastern pa???

Sabrina said...

Why, King of Prussia, of course! At least I *think* it's the biggest. God help us all if it isn't...