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Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights event sparkles

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 out!

It’s open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. And new for 2017, 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. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 and 23. Dinner is a separate cost and held before the park opens.

Cost for Holiday Lights is $18.99 at the gate (plus a $1 West Mifflin amusement tax). Children under 3 are free. But purchase your tickets at Giant Eagle because it’s $16.99 each, or online where it’s $15.99 (plus the West Mifflin $1 tax). There’s a $25 Holiday Lights season pass. That’s an excellent deal!

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

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 24 through December 23. Holiday Lights is also open Tuesday, December 26 through Saturday, December 30. Operating hours are 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

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

Santa and Kenny Kangaroo are 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 Parkside Cafe, along with a small display from the Jimmy Stewart Museum (which also shows clips from “It’s a Wonderful Life”), and an area for kids to decorate cookies.

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; Gingerbread Express (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, Duke from Dutch Wonderland and a few others I think).

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. 16.

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. 10, and here is the list from Dec. 15-23.

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