Light shows illuminate the holiday season

Youngsters are thrilled by the light show at the World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road. 
(Courtesy of World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Youngsters are thrilled by the light show at the World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road. (Courtesy of World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road)

Any astronaut in outer space should easily spot Atlanta for the next couple of weeks. Why? The area’s holiday light shows feature millions of lights — and those megawatt displays will not only light up the faces of all who come to see them but the skies as well.

“We tour at least one light show around Atlanta every year. It’s a must do,” says Ellen Hartman, president of Hartman PR. As the grandmother of nine, Hartman says they have visited a variety of light show including Callaway Gardens, Stone Mountain and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Stone Mountain Park's Christmas activities include holiday lights, festive music, visits from holiday characters and more.

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“Callaway is fabulous but this year we’ll try to do something closer to home, maybe Stone Mountain. The Atlanta Botanical Garden is absolutely a must-do. Their displays are so well done because it incorporates exhibits featuring wild nature themes with plants and animals and then you have those beautiful manicured gardens and lights. It’s a magic experience.”

With grandchildren whose ages range from 7 to 20-something, Hartman says doing a drive-through or walking light tour is fun for all. “It really is cross-generational. They all are mesmerized by the lights and love the tradition of going each year.”

November 13, 2017 - Atlanta, Ga: Atlanta Botanical Garden garden lights event Monday, November 13, 2017, in Atlanta, Ga. Photo by JASON GETZ / GETZ IMAGES


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Of course, Hartman points out that there are light shows in every neighborhood. “As a young girl growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, we would ride around the rich section and it was such a thrill to see how the rich people would decorate,” she says. “We intend to go to a couple of light shows but we’re also going to drive through Buckhead and Druid Hills and see how they’re decorating.”

Of course, most light shows bring back the annual favorite displays while introducing new displays into the mix.

“This year’s show is brand new to the Atlanta area and we can’t wait to show off our latest creation,” says Yakir Urman, CEO of the World of Illumination.

“Reindeer Road is full of magical surprises, including Santa’s workshop — the world’s largest animated toy shop. Our goal is to push creative boundaries and immerse our guests in an out-of-this-world visual and audio experience. This year’s show is no exception.”

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s light show, “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights,” not only puts people into the holiday spirit, it also is a prime place to propose. Last year there were 72 marriage proposals at the garden. 
(Courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Garden)

Credit: Jason Getz

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Credit: Jason Getz

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” presented by Invesco is known for its whimsical displays and many, such as “Nature’s Wonders,” Storza Woods’ vertical-moving curtain of light, and the “Flower Walk’s Glowing Grove,” are annual fan favorites.

This year, new exhibits include an installation of illuminated large metal sculptures of birds flocking to the recently renovated Anne Cox Chambers Garden. The ethereal sculptures by French artist Cédric LeBorgne include birds perched among the hardwoods and range up to 10 feet wide and 16 feel long, all glowing under warm white up-lights.

The garden will be lit by more than 1 million light bulbs and the total length of all the light strings is about 50 miles — or from Atlanta to Jackson. The exhibit, which takes four months to assemble, certainly rings in the holiday season; speaking of rings, last year there were 72 marriage proposals.

Stone Mountain is also introducing a new light show — drones. Be sure to look up because the sky will glow with hundreds of drones flying above the reflection pond in the Christmas Drone Show. The 12-minute show includes larger than life formations that are professionally choreographed with color-changing lights synced up to holiday music.

In addition to the drones, Stone Mountain still puts on the world’s largest Christmas Light Show where favorite holiday songs are brought to life in a 20-minute experience that features videos, special effects and a fireworks finale.

Here are some light shows worth checking out.

The World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road is the world’s largest drive-through animated light show with more than two million animated lights.
(Courtesy of World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road)


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World of Illumination’s Reindeer Road. Drive-through animated light show with 2 million animated lights. 6-10 p.m. Every day through Jan. 1. Starts at $39.99 per carload. Six Flags White Water, 250 Cobb Parkway N., Marietta. 815-450-3466,

Shine Light Show. First time drive-through show with 1 million synchronized lights. 6-10 p.m. through Jan. 1. Weekdays, $39.99; weekends, holidays and select weekdays, $42.99. Coolray Field, 2500 Buford Drive, Lawrenceville. 678-277-0346,

Holiday Lights at Veteran’s Park. 2-mile drive-through light show. 6-10 p.m. through Dec. 31. $20 per car. 7345 Cumming Highway, Canton.

Holiday in the Park. Stroll through a tunnel of more than 1 million dancing LED lights. 2-9 p.m. through Jan. 1. Various prices. Six Flags Over Georgia, 275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. 770-739-3400,

Holiday Lights of Hope. A walk through display with more than 2 million lights that benefits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. 6 p.m. Nov. 25-Dec. 23. $10; under age 14 free. $10. Hobgood Park, 6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock. 678-504-6388,

Celebration at the Station. Light and snow show set to holiday videos. 5-9 p.m. daily. Free. Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta. 404-410-4014,

Lakeside Lights Spectacular. Walk through a light show set to seasonal music. 5 p.m. Nov. 23-27, Dec. 2-4, then weekends only through Jan. 16. $24.99; ages 3-7, $14.99; age 2 and younger free. Margaritaville at Lanier Islands, 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 470-323-3440,

Lights of Life. More than 1 million lights on a 1.5 mile drive. Dark until 9 p.m Sunday-Thursday; dark until 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Nov. 24-Dec. 31. $10 per car. Life University, 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 770-426-2600,

ATL Holiday Lights. 6-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday; 6-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. $30-$50 per car. Lakewood Amphitheater, 2002 Lakewood Way, Atlanta.

Winter West Wonderland. Walk through lighted displays of student-built sculptures. 4:30-9 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 2. Free. University of West Georgia, 302 W. Georgia Drive, Carrollton. 678-839-5000,

Stone Mountain Christmas. Times vary. Through Jan. 1. $34.95-$49.95. Parking is $20 for a one-day pass, $40 for an annual pass. Stone Mountain Park. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690,

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. 5-10 p.m. through Jan. 14. $27.95-$62.95. Atlanta Botanical Garden,1345 Piedmont Ave. 404-876-5859,