Oohing and aahing over Christmas lights is as American as overeating at Thanksgiving, and the Garden State offers some primo sites to take in multimegawatt displays featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus, reindeers, elves, candy canes — and that’s just for starters, according to mommypoppins.com. Here’s a quick peek at eight of the most spectacular.
- Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights at Egg Harbor Township sets more than a million bulbs alight and features a house-sized shoe and a merry, twinkling village.
- Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show in Augusta makes its easy to bask in the blaze: The mile-long, drive-through show boasts more than 2 million lights on display, including nativity scenes, twinkling snowflakes, skating penguins and jolly snowmen. Be sure to roll the windows down to catch the holiday tunes.
- DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express in Hammonton features a meet-and-greet with Santa and walk-through holiday village, as well as some less traditional treats, like mini-golf and bowling.
- Holiday Lights Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange lets visitors stroll through the grounds after dark to see the animals frolicking under the incredible light displays. Donations of canned goods, unwrapped toys and winter coats for the less fortunate are appreciated.
- If you have trouble getting your mind around Christmas at a casino, check out the Holiday Musical Light Show at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, which features a 35-foot decorated tree with lights synchronized to holiday music.
Other glittering and twinkling venues worth visiting: Magic of Lights in Howell; Historic Smithville Holiday Light Show, Galloway Township; and Vernon Lights Festival in (you guessed it) Vernon.
Be sure to call ahead or check the venue’s website before you visit to make sure it will be open and see if there’s an admission fee.