10 Christmas light displays in Des Moines, central Iowa that will wow you this holiday season
As the days get darker, the Christmas lights around the region are getting brighter. For central Iowan's interested in navigating their way to a light show for the holiday season, here are 10 regional holiday displays to create a festive mood around Des Moines.
Santa's Rock N Lights in Urbandale
Boasting more than 100,000 animated lights set to Christmas music across almost a mile, Santa's Rock N Lights is already back in Urbandale.
The drive-thru light show promises a "socially safe, contactless experience" for attendees who can see lights in the shapes of snowflakes, polar bears, dinosaurs and more.
This Iowa iteration of Santa's Rock N Lights is held at Living History Farms — 11121 Hickman Road in Urbandale — with upwards of 100,000 visitors expected this year.
Tickets for the event must be purchased online through santasrocknlights.com and range in price from $19.99 to $29.99 depending on the date. The display stays up through Jan. 2.
Dazzling in the District and Mayor's Tree Lighting/Fireworks in Ankeny
Over in Ankeny, the lights will pack a bit more of a punch or — more aptly — a bang.
Dazzling in the District combines strings of Christmas lights, window displays and an appearance from Santa Claus with fireworks at the Ankeny Public Library, 1250 SW District Drive, starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Following an afternoon festivities, fireworks and the lighting of the mayor's tree are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. More information is available on the city's website, ankenyiowa.gov.
Gingerbread Lane in Ankeny
Gingerbread Lane will wind its way through Ankeny starting on Friday, Dec. 3.
The event accepts donations for the Food Bank of Iowa, but is technically free to enjoy. The 31-house route of lights will also feature special guests on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
This seasonal tradition, which can be enjoyed in a car or on foot, begins on Southeast Richland Court, just off of Southeast Eighth Street, on Friday, Dec. 3, and recurs nightly through the end of the month.
Argo Christmas Lights in Ankeny
The final Ankeny entry manifests in music with the Argo Christmas Lights Display.
In the past, the Christmas lights display showcased themes such as "Little Drummer Boy" and "The Greatest Show." This free spectacle, adorning the exterior of a residential building, asks audiences to come around and tune their radios to 94.3 FM to experience the show.
This year's 30-minute playlist includes "Dueling Jingle Bells," "Christmas Every Day" and "Spidey Bells" among other holiday favorites.
The light show can be viewed from 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Jan. 2 at 1023 NW 32 St. in Ankeny. More information about the event can be found through its Facebook page at facebook.com/ArgoChristmas/.
Jolly Holiday Lights at Adventureland
Adventureland Resort, 3200 Adventureland Drive in Altoona, is keeping the spirit of adventure and the season kindled with Jolly Holiday Lights.
Now in its 26th year, the seasonal event is already running and will continue through Jan. 2. To witness this light show, visitors drive through the 2.5-mile park with more than 100 displays.
The display is open every day from 5:30 to 10 p.m. except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Tickets start at $25 per car at Adventureland, Hy-Vee, Casey's General Store and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office and go down to $20 online. Skip the line for $200.
The event was started by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has been able to fund more than 1,000 wishes so far. More information about the event as well as tickets can be found online at jollyholidaylights.org.
Light up Carlisle
Local businesses will be bustling in Carlisle as they set up inflatable holiday decorations to help the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce Light up Carlisle.
The one-day event not only welcomes shoppers but invites attendees to drive through the city to look at holiday displays, including a residential Christmas display competition.
Carlisle Hometown Pride will also be hosting a chili dinner, as well as two stations for cookie decorating and ornament making, respectively. Santa Claus is also scheduled to make an appearance at the event, which takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the city's North Park.
Synchronized Lights & Live Nativity in Norwalk
Though arguably not as brilliant as the Star of Bethlehem, visitors can mark this Norwalk-based Nativity scene by the light of 80,000 LED lights flashing to the tune of Christmas songs.
The free drive-thru event features cookies and cocoa brought to the cars of visitors who choose to attend. Synchronized Lights & Live Nativity boasts just that, a live Nativity scene pulled straight from the gospel, farm animals included.
The event is located at Fellowship Community Church, 225 North Ave. in Norwalk, and will be held on Dec. 11 and 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. as a free drive-thru event.
More information about the event can be found through fellowshipnorwalk.org.
Winter Wonderscape in Ames
Reiman Gardens' Winter Wonderscape is popping up Dec. 2 through this weekend in Ames with tunnels of lights, lit fountains and live musical performances — the latter of which alternates by day.
In Winter Wonderscape's second year, musical performers will include the husband-and-wife acoustic duo known as Coffee Shop Romance as well as the all-ukulele ensemble Britches & Hose Ukulele Club, among others.
The display runs through Jan. 1 from 1407 University Blvd., and tickets range from $5 to $10 with children under 2 able to enter for free. More information about the event can be found at reimangardens.com.
Lights! Christmas! Action! in Winterset
Though the city of Winterset kicked off the season on Nov. 26 with its festival of lights, that isn't the only Christmas display planned for the holiday in this seasonally named city.
Lights! Christmas! Action! will feature live window displays in businesses around Winterset's Courthouse Square, showcasing a "Christmas around the World" theme.
Take it in from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 10. More information can be found through madisoncounty.com, which also notes a Winter Solstice Market from noon to 6 p.m. the following day.
Beaverdale Christmas Lights
For years, residents on Ashby Avenue and Wallace Lane in Beaverdale decorated yards and houses, with the holiday lights becoming so popular that limos and buses clog the residential streets to get a glimpse of the neighborhood packed with dazzling displays. No one really knows how the tradition started, but now neighbors go full tilt on decorating, even stepping in to add some lights to vacant houses awaiting a new owner.
The lights go on at dusk, and the line to drive through the neighborhood can snake around for half a mile.