Eighth getaway of Christmas: Lake of the Ozarks drive-through light parks
One of the most popular and enduring holiday traditions in mid-Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks are the many drive-through light parks that beckon visitors to ooh and ah at thousands and thousands of lights illuminating dozens and dozens of beloved holiday vignettes.
The Lake’s largest light park is the Enchanted Village of Lights in Laurie, MO. Giant candy canes, rocking-horse reindeer, elves and their workshop, Frosty the Snowman, ice skaters, a boat full of gifts and more light the way through 27 acres of the Laurie Fairgrounds. The Enchanted Village is open daily, 5-9 p.m. weekdays and until 10 p.m. on weekends, now through Jan. 2, 2016. See a video of last year’s Enchanted Village of Lights here. Admission is free; donations are appreciated. For more information, visit the City of Laurie website.
Also in Laurie, just a mile from the Enchanted Village on Highway 5, is the Festival of Lights at the Shrine of Saint Patrick. The focus of this festival is on the true meaning of Christmas and it features a beautiful display of Jesus and his mother, Mary. The oldest light park in the area, it was started in 1981 with hundreds of lights and has grown to include 4,000 strings of lights, over 60 automatic timers and more than 350 extension cords. The St. Patrick Festival of Lights is open daily from 6-10 p.m. now until January 1, 2016. Admission is free. Get more details here.
Versailles, MO, joins the lighting celebration until New Year’s Day with its own sUnity Circle of Lights, featuring 40 lighted holiday exhibits in the city park, at the junction of Highways 5 and 52 in Morgan County. Named after the Unity Circle monument erected at the park entrance to show cooperation among various entities in this community, the Circle of Lights includes several animated holiday scenes sure to put families in the Christmas spirit. The park is open daily, from dark until midnight, through Jan. 1, 2016. Admission is free; donations are requested. More information is here.
In Osage Beach, MO, the city park and many businesses along Osage Beach Parkway are dressed in holiday lights now through January 3. And, on Dec. 12, children of all ages can meet Santa Claus from 3-5 p.m. at the Osage Beach city park. For more information, visit the city’s website.
The City of Osage Beach presents Holiday Lights 2015 now through Jan. 3, 2016, on display at City Park. The drive-thru light park is open 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at City Park on Hatchery Road and the parkway display will take place every evening at various locations along Osage Beach Parkway. Santa Claus will be at City Park, 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, for visits and photo ops (bring your camera or phone). Hot cocoa and coffee will be available for purchase from the concession stand. Admission is free.
Another popular Lake of the Ozarks tradition is taking in all the sights and sounds of “Christmas on Main Street,” an annual presentation by the performers of the Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach. The show features beautifully decorated sets, glamorous costumes, special effects, musical impersonations, comedy skits and the best songs of the season. Enjoy every style of holiday music, from the latest in contemporary songs to favorite Christmas hymns and carols. This show is offered Tuesdays through Sundays through Dec. 20. Tickets: $22/adults; $20/seniors; $13/children ages 5-12; free for children ages 4 and under. For more information, including show dates and times, call 800-348-9501 or visit the Main Street Music Hall website.
In Camdenton, MO, Old Kinderhook Resort transforms into a Christmas village, replete with Santa Claus and storytelling elves, carolers, s’mores, gingerbread house-making stations and horse-drawn carriage rides. (Small fees may apply for some activities.) Old Kinderhook’s new outdoor ice rink will be open to all visitors who want to do some holiday skating. For lodging reservations at Old Kinderhook, or for more details on the resort’s holiday offerings and prices, call 573-317-3560 or visit the resort’s website.
Christmastime is especially festive at the Lake of the Ozarks as many of the lodging properties dress up to holiday nines. Thousands of lights, garland and wreathes decorate the exteriors and interiors of these charming homes-away-from home – and many of the Lake’s lodging properties offer huge savings with up to 40 percent off in-season rates. Winter and holiday special lodging rates are some of the lowest of the year at Lake-area resorts, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, condos, vacation homes, campgrounds and RV parks.
To plan your Lake of the Ozarks drive-through light park getaway, visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau website.