Kennywood’s Holiday Lights is Pittsburgh’s newest tradition

Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights

Bobby Cherry

You’ve soared high on the Phantom, splashed down on the Log Jammer (RIP!) and rode the Thunderbolt at night.

But if you haven’t visited Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights event, you’re missing one of Pittsburgh’s best new holiday traditions!

Kennywood is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. And, Holiday Lights will be open Dec. 26 through Dec. 30. Operating hours for each night are 5-9 p.m. They also offer dinner with Santa on Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. Dinner is a separate cost and held before the park opens.

Cost for Holiday Lights is $19.99 at the gate (plus a $1 West Mifflin amusement tax). Children under 3 are free. But purchase your tickets online and save a few dollars. There’s a Holiday Lights season pass for less than the cost of two tickets.

And certain summer season passes are eligible for free entry on some nights. Check the park website for details.

The park celebrates the holidays with more than 2 million (!!) lights, including a dazzling twinkling lights show synchronized to a great holiday music playlist.

Santa is available for photos at the Racer station. You actually sit with Santa in a roller coaster car with a festive background! I purchased the photo with me and Kenny Kangaroo a few years back, and it hangs on my tree every year!

You’ll also find a massive train display inside the Penny Arcade, along with a small display from the Jimmy Stewart Museum. Parkside Cafe features an area for kids to decorate cookies, and they also sell soups and desserts.

Yes, there are rides open.  The park’s website says that, weather depending, guests can find these rides likely operating: 4-D Theater, showing The Polar Express 4-D Experience; Auto Race; Journey with Thomas (it’s the Olde Kennywood Railroad ride); Ghostwood Estate (turned Christmassy); Kangaroo; Merry-Go-Round; Noah’s Ark; Paratrooper; Pirate; and up to 10 rides in Kiddieland.

Every night at 5:45 p.m., they light Pennsylvania’s tallest artificial Christmas tree.

Kennyville Stage activities include a magic show, Parker’s Dance Party (Parker is Kennywood’s arrow mascot, and it’s joined by mascots from sister parks: Sandcastle, Idlewild’s Ricky Raccoon and Duke from Dutch Wonderland).

Plus, most nights, the park has a celebrity guest read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Here’s the list. Rick Sebak is scheduled to be there Dec. 21.

At the Garden Stage (where the old Mon Monster used to be, and near the Pagoda), the park offers local performing groups (mostly schools). Here is the list through Dec. 8, and here is the list from Dec. 9-23.

Holiday Lights is sure to become a tradition for you and your family and friends!

And as a stocking stuffer … you get to see construction of the park’s new Steel Curtain coaster!

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