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Ohio’s 10 Largest Christmas Lights Displays

The holidays are right around the corner and Ohioans are busy at work stringing up millions of lights around the state. Families from miles around will flock to these enormous displays to partake in the spectacle and to become imbued with the holiday spirit. End to end, the lights from Ohio's 10 largest displays would outline the state, with enough left over to reach from Cleveland's Lake Erie shore to the Ohio River bank in Cincinnati. Or, from Cleveland, they would stretch nearly to the Arctic Circle. Check out Ohio's holiday lights by the numbers:

  • 14 million: Number of holiday lights in Ohio's ten largest displays
  • 68,500: Number of six-foot trees 14 million lights could decorate
  • 1,578: Miles of light strands in Ohio's ten largest displays

Legendary Lights at Clifton Mill, Clifton, Nov. 27 - Jan. 1 (3.5 Million Lights)

Clifton Mills, Ohio

Clifton Mill, Ohio

More than 3.5 million lights adorn Clifton Mill, one of the country's largest operating gristmills. Built in 1802, this place is holiday magic. Lights cascade like water down cliffs and a 100-foot waterfall. A covered bridge shines radiantly with thousands of tiny bulbs, and a spectacular synchronized light and music show plays out hourly. Before light-gazers come in from the snow, they can enjoy the animated miniature village, complete with tiny moving riverboats, a train, 1950s diner and a drive-in movie theater. Don't miss the collection of 3,500 Santa Claus figures.

Wildlights, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell, Nov. 20 - Jan. 2 (3 Million Lights)

Celebrate the holidays eco-friendly style at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's Wildlights among more than 3 million lights, half of which have been converted into "greener" LED lights including a second animated light show set to music. This year the Zoo premiers their Holiday Encounters Village featuring a pop culture salute to the season and memories from favorite holiday films. Don't miss the Magical Timbernacle Forest Chorus consisting of 35 melodious animatronic trees guaranteed to "leaf" you in amazement when they come together to form one harmonious 12-foot holiday evergreen tree.

PNC Festival of Lights, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Nov. 27 - Jan. 3 (2.5 Million Lights)

This long-standing holiday tradition features 2.5 million twinkling lights including the Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake, the Madcap Puppet Theatre's black light puppet show, storytelling by Mrs. Claus and the hilarious Rappin' Elves! And that's only the beginning of the entertainment opportunities; visitors also can enjoy the Polar Express 4-D Experience, Gingerbread Village and a visit with Santa.

Lights Before Christmas, Toledo Zoo, Nov. 20 - Dec. 31 (1 Million Lights)

This winter wonderland showcases more than 200 images of favorite zoo animals with more than one million lights, ice-carving demonstrations on Thursday evenings, carolers, the Swanton Area Railroad model trains and visits with Santa. A spectacular 85-foot Norway spruce located behind the zoo's conservatory lights up the night with 32,000 sparkling lights, and the North Star Trading Post gift shop is the perfect place to warm up and do some holiday shopping.

Holiday Lights on the Hill, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, Nov. 20 - Jan. 3 (1 Million Lights)

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park contains more than 80 pieces of monumental art and highlights the entire park with more than a million twinkling lights during the Holiday Lights on the Hill. This drive-through light show takes visitors throughout the park's 265 acres and delights with sights of Santa, his elves and other holiday favorites.

Holiday Fest, The Beach, Mason, Nov. 27 - Jan. 10 (1 Million Lights)

The Beach is getting iced over for the 11th Holiday Fest featuring a 7,500 square-foot ice skating rink, toboggan slide, an old-fashioned carriage ride and petting corral. Hop in a paddleboat for a cruise around the waterway and enjoy the reflections of millions of lights or send the little ones on an adventure to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express train ride then warm up with some hot chocolate in the Bavarian Mall.

Deck the Hall, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, Akron, Nov. 19 - Dec. 30 (100,000+ Lights)

Every year during the holidays, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens-the former estate of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company founder F.A. Seiberling-lights up with more than 250,000 holiday lights. Check out the Manor House full of holiday decorations from the Seiberlings' time and visit the Corbin Conservatory decorated with thousands of lights that beautifully reflect off the structure's 4,322 panes of glass. Advance ticket purchase is recommended; call (888) 836-5533 for more information.

Holiday Trail of Lights, Lake Hope State Park, McArthur, Dec. 1 - 31 (100,000+ Lights)

Lake Hope State Park is a premiere site for hiking and wagon rides, where nature and more than 100,000 lights perfectly complement one another. The Trail of Lights features animated scenes, decorated trees and landscape lighting. In an attempt to be more eco-friendly, many of the displays along the Buzzard Cave Trail utilize motion detectors, solar power and low voltage light to conserve energy. Both admission and parking are free.

Country Lights, Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, Dec. 8 - 23 (100,000+ Lights)

This fun-filled celebration of the season features horse-drawn wagon rides through a winter wonderland trimmed with more than 200,000 twinkling holiday lights and farm-themed displays. Check out the festively-decorated Christmas trees at the visitor center and visit the classroom filled with the sights and sounds of model train layouts. Santa's Workshop is a special treat for families where children can make wooden toys to take home. Advance ticket purchase is required; call (440) 256-2158 for more information.

Low Light Highlights

Many light displays in Ohio use no electric lights at all - they hearken back to an earlier time when candlelight was all that was available. The flames of hundreds of candles flicker on windowsills, in lanterns and in the hands of guests, and cast an ever-changing glow upon freshly fallen snow. For a taste of a simple but powerful candlelight display, try the Christmas Candlelighting at Roscoe Village on Dec. 5 and watch as the crowd of holiday cheer glows by candlelight. Village Lights in Columbus' German Village entertains visitors on Dec. 6 with horse-drawn carriage rides while the Christmas of Yesteryear at Historic Lyme Village in Bellevue on Dec. 27 showcases buildings that shine with decorations in typical 1800s-style holiday décor. Or enjoy Holiday Lantern Tours at Historic Sauder Village Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 11 and 12 and experience a turn-of-the-century holiday.

For additional locations to view these sparkling spectacles, visit

Related posts:

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  2. Kids Go Free During Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway
  3. Holiday Happenings in Washington County, Ohio
  4. Visit the Biltmore Estate and Learn How to Create Your Own Biltmore Christmas at Home
  5. Create Your Own Biltmore Christmas at Home

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