The roller coasters may be closed for the season, but that doesn't mean Pennsylvania's amusement parks are short on holiday cheer. Several parks are open this holiday season, with special rides, displays, and shows. Here are some of Pennsylvania's top outdoor holiday hotspots, even in the middle of winter.
* Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., is pulling out all the stops for the park's annual Christmas Candylane. Thirty rides are open for business, including the holiday-themed Twilight Express. Highlights include a two-mile drive-through light display, breakfast or lunch with Santa, and walking Hershey products decked out in Christmas attire. There's also holiday choral groups, "A Rockin' Music Box Christmas" stage show, and a light show that features over 125,000 dancing lights synchronized to Christmas music. 100 West Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pa., 17033, (717) 534-3860.
* In the Pittsburgh area, Kennywood Amusement park will present the second annual "Holiday Lights" on weekend nights through December. There will be a Christmas light show set to music, as well as holiday themed rides and carolers. Open rides include the Gingerbread Express and a version of Ghostwood Estate that boasts hints of "A Christmas Carol." Nine Kiddieland rides will also be in operation. 800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin, Pa., 15122, (412) 461-0500.
* In Lancaster, Dutch Wonderland presents Dutch Winter Wonderland on weekends through December. The park will open 19 themed rides and host a Royal Light Show with twinkling lights set to holiday tunes. There will be a miniature train display, a stage show called "Mistletails," and Santa and his "reindeer in training" will be on hand. And since this park has a fairy tale theme, there's even a story-telling princess. 2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pa., 17602, (866) 386-2839.
* Sesame Place in Langhorne is open for "A Very Furry Christmas" on select dates through December. This family-friendly celebration features three Christmas shows, dry rides, and a Christmas-themed Neighborhood Street Party Parade with favorite characters from the PBS children's series. 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, Pa., 19047, (215) 752-7070.
* This holiday season, Lakemont Park in Altoona will host a 51-acre light display, "Holiday Lights on the Lake." There will be Santa photo ops, carriage and wagon rides, refreshments in Santa's Village, and an 800-foot model train display. 700 Park Avenue, Altoona, Pa., 16602, (814) 949-7275.
* And it's not an amusement park, but it is a park. Philadelphia's LOVE Park will be transformed into a Christmas Village through Dec. 24. More than 50 vendors in wooden booths will peddle jewelry, ornaments and crafts, while photos with Santa Claus by a giant Christmas tree will be available. 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pa., 19102.
Victoria Leigh Miller is a freelance writer and lifelong Pennsylvania resident.
- Holidays & Celebrations
- Society & Culture