Thursday, December 6, 2007


One of my favorite things about the holiday season is, it's a celebration of light. You can read any religious context you'd like into that, but what makes it especially fun are all the places you can go to see some really cool light displays. I've tried to cover Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, so here are three I highly recommend in the D.C. area.

1. Zoolights at the National Zoo, Washington, DC

If you have kids (and even if you don't), this is a great combination of Christmas lights and zoo animals. The zoo is free during the day, but for this evening event there is a fee and you do have to buy tickets. National Zoo is located between Connecticut Avenue and Beach Drive. It is recommended that you ride Metro's Red Line to the Woodley Park/National Zoo stop.

2. Bull Run Festival of Lights, Centreville, Virginia

If you enjoy a drive in the countryside, head out to Bull Run/Manassas/Centreville, for the Bull Run Festival of Lights. This festival of lights is fun for the whole family, too. There's a fee for this one, as well, but you pay by the carload and there's a $3 coupon on the website. The festival is three miles from the Bull Run/Manassas Battlefields off of I-66 and Route 29.

3. The Festival of Light at the Mormon Temple, Kensington, MD

Rising above the Capital Beltway in Kensington is the Mormon Temple. During the holiday season, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the temple, decorates the grounds with Christmas lights. There's also a live nativity, as well as concert performances by various religious and school choirs and bands from around the region. Additionally, the Visitor's Center features a beautiful exhibit of creches from around the world. The temple is located off of I-495. Take the Connecticut Avenue exit and turn right on Beach Drive, then follow the signs.

Photo copyrights: National Zoo, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, and Carol Cooper, respectively.


Cele said...

Oh I love a good light show. I'm hoping take Burp to the Shoreacres Festival of Lights this weekend in Coos Bay. Very kewl.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: Looks like a good one! You'll have to take and post pictures for all of us to see.

Holly said...

OK, I know this is going to sound really grinchy and awful, but sometimes I see these elaborate light shows and think, "good god, what a waste of electricity and inexcusable contribution to global warming."

My favorite light show is the milky way, which light pollution has made all but invisible in most populated areas.