By Jonathan Eckelberg
The time has come to unbox the holiday lights and let the decorating commence. If you aren't one to put together an elaborate display on your own, head to one of these light shows and revel in the season that is merry and bright.
Spring and summer blooms in Janesville’s 20-acre botanical gardens are replaced by 400,000 lights, more than 2,500 luminaries and a hundred beautifully decorated trees. Back by popular demand are “selfie stops and photo ops,” with fun props and Instagram-worthy backdrops.
Step inside and warm up with a hot drink, listen to festive local musicians and watch an electric model train display chug around 200 feet of track. Expect a visit from Santa if you visit between Dec. 19 and 23!
You can keep things festive and pick your own music at the casual Looking Glass restaurant, serving burgers stuffed with delicious ingredients like bacon, cheese, jalapenos and olives throughout the week and a heck of a prime rib sandwich.
See the show from the warmth of your car, or take a stroll through the park arm-in-arm with your special someone. Right on the shores of Lake Winnebago, lights will shimmer all around and the animated scenes will warm your heart as they dance to holiday music. Even the trees around you will dance to seven songs! If you’ve got little girls along, they’ll love seeing the Elsa light display!
Looking to keep the kids busy before the sun sets? Take them to the Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac before ending the night at the lights.
See the Henry Vilas Zoo shine brighter than ever. Grab a hot beverage as you stroll down candy cane lane to enjoy the festive sights and sounds. This can’t miss event for the kids combines two experiences they love; visiting cute critters and magical lights of the season. Send the kids on a carousel ride, and you just may spot Santa.
If you’re in town for the weekend, stay at the chic Graduate Hotel. Reconnect with the simple pleasures in life as you’re sent back to your college days, with a few new comforts that you didn’t have last time.
More than 1.5 million lights along this mile-long trail featuring holiday scenes will put a twinkle in your eye. Drive, walk or ride in Santa's sleigh to view the village and light show. Be sure to take time to visit Santa’s workshop or write a letter to the big guy while you're there. Listen to Evy the Talking Christmas Tree as she talks and sings to visitors and spreads Christmas cheer.
Serving the best ribs you may ever experience, you’ll want to head to Oh Dennis Saloon and Charcoal House for dinner. If ribs aren’t calling to you, they also serve tasty steaks, succulent shrimp and seafood and more, all made fresh.
The light shows and holiday celebrations don’t end there. Wherever your travels may take you this season, there’s sure to be some happenings for you to check out.