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The 5 Best Places To See The Holiday Lights in Central Iowa

Traci Jennings

Broker/Owner RE/MAX Real Estate CenterTeam Leader of The Jennings Real Estate TeamBuyer and Listing Specialist Traci Jennings attributes her teamwork ...

Broker/Owner RE/MAX Real Estate CenterTeam Leader of The Jennings Real Estate TeamBuyer and Listing Specialist Traci Jennings attributes her teamwork ...

Dec 11 4 minutes read

The holidays have arrived!

Not only do we love this time of year, but we love seeing all of the gorgeous lights and decorations all over Central Iowa.

1. Winter Wonderscape at Reiman Gardens | Ames

Walk through a winter wonderland at Reiman Gardens! This outdoor holiday light show goes throughout out their entire 17 acre site on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night evenings up to January 2nd. Walk through brightly lit tunnels, meander through fantasy lights falling like stars, view massive disco balls twirling to laser lights, enjoy a 20’ wide fountain and a wide array of other sparkling wonders. The kids will enjoy lighted sculptural forms including Peter Rabbit in the Edible Garden, the metamorphosis of the luna moth, penguins cavorting around the lake on skis, sleds and ice skates and the Campaniling kissing polar bears. Get your tickets before you go online at their site or purchase at the door!

Ticket Prices: $10 adult; $8 member adult and ISU student; $5 all children 2-12; under 2 free 

Dates: December 3,4,5; 10,11,12; 17,18,19; 24,26; 31, January 1,2 from 5:00 p.m. to last ticket sold at 8:30 p.m.

2.  Gingerbread Lane | Ankeny

All 31 houses on Richland Court in Ankeny transform into Gingerbread Lane during December, lighting up with festive lights and telling the original Gingerbread story! You can see Santa and Mrs. Claus collecting canned goods for the Food Bank of Iowa and accepting donations. Use SE Richland Ct, Ankeny, for your GPS.

Ticket Prices: Free

Dates: Visit between 5:30-9:30pm every night through December

There are two more chances to see Santa and friends on Gingerbread Lane! Santa will be out tonight (12/22) from 6-8pm...

Posted by Gingerbread Lane Ankeny, IA on Sunday, December 22, 2019

3. Jolly Holiday Lights | Des Moines

Jolly Holiday Lights began when a group of dedicated volunteers led by Joe and Tammy Bechen suggested a new fundraiser for Make-a-Wish Iowa. What began as a small event in 1996 at Water Works Park grew to Make-a-Wish Iowa’s largest fundraiser. The  2.5 mile stretch of lights displayed at Adventureland boasts over 100 magical lights displays and is a fun holiday activity for many in Central Iowa. 100% of the money raised goes to Make-a-Wish Iowa and funds about 80 wishes to a child with a critical illness each year!

Ticket Prices: $20 per car, $40 per limo/minibus, $70 per chartered bus

Dates: November 27 - December 30 5:30-10pm (Closed December 24 & 25)

4.  Hometown Holidays Aglow | Ankeny

Find dazzling 25 animated LED light displays throughout SW 3rd Street in Uptown and extend through the Ankeny Market Pavilion. You’ll find twinkling tree trunks, light lined rooftops, eye catching window displays, snowflakes galore and loads of lit trees. Don’t miss this opportunity for some FREE festive family fun brought to you by the businesses of Uptown, local sponsors and the City of Ankeny.

Ticket Prices: FREE

Dates: December 1 - January 1

🤩 UPTOWN IS AGLOW! 🤩 You now have 43 nights to enjoy them! A very special thanks to our display sponsors: Wags Pet...

Posted by Uptown Ankeny on Friday, November 20, 2020

5. Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad - Santa Express | Boone

Boone brings “The Polar Express” to life with the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad - Santa Express! This holiday themed train ride has been named one of the 30 Best Holiday and Christmas Trains in the US, it’s a one-hour round trip journey to the quaint but festive “North Pole.” Along the way you’ll hear the story of Santa’s Scenic Valley Ride, sing Christmas carols and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Book your tickets online ahead and come aboard!

When: Santa Express trains operate on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 27 through December 20. Tickets are $20 - 45 per person. 

Where: 225 10th Street, Boone, IA 50036  

Santa just called and is excited to hear that snow is in the forecast! He said his elves will be sure the track is clear...

Posted by Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum on Friday, December 11, 2020
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