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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:

  1. Free in Chicago: ZooLights at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo
  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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