Have you ever visited Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, PA? During the summer, the park is filled with locals and visitors to the city, and the old-school rides, along with the latest thrill rides, keep bringing fans of the park back year after year.
Four years ago, Kennywood Park began its annual Holiday Lights event. They’ve filled the park with over one million twinkly, sparkly Christmas lights, created holiday shows, and even decked out popular family-loving rides for the holidays. This year, from November 28 through December 21, the park is in full holiday swing and ready to bring your family a taste of the holidays- Pittsburgh style! What’s in store for your family this year? Read on.
From the moment you hit the front gates, Kennywood Park is dressed in Christmas lights. The giant Christmas tree near the front gates is a great spot for family photos and is a fun spot to hang around before the gates open.
Once you’ve walked through the tunnel and head into the park, be prepared to walk with a gaping mouth! The holiday lights are wrapped around everything that stands still and the colors are just magical. The video clip below shows the main entrance’s light canopy. It was a blast to walk through.
Love this pic of The Kid when the park first opened:
When the park opens, several holiday characters are waiting near the tunnel for families to take photos with them. Here’s a fun pic of The Kid and me with a famous snowman:
Try to mosey through the park, at least on your first visit anyway. We spotted Santa and his reindeer climbing The Thunderbolt!
Around The Lagoon, the Christmas lights are so pretty, even when the Holiday Light show isn’t playing. Kennywood Park has a spectacular light show about every 30 minutes, and the Christmas songs rotate so try to catch a couple of the synchronized shows if you can pull yourself away from the rest of the attractions.
The man in red is looking dapper atop all of those presents!
A giant snowman is a great spot for some fun holiday photos.
Here’s a quick clip of the Holiday Lights Show around The Lagoon. The show lasts about 10 minutes, leaving a 20-minute intermission between shows. We loved the fact that The Lagoon is close to the Merry-Go_Round, Paratrooper, and Kangaroo rides, making a fun time passer while waiting in line. A great spot to catch the show is on the bridge if you can find a place to stand.
Three times a night near the Kennywood Racers (where Santa & Kenny the Kangaroo are greeting families and taking photos!), there’s an ice sculpting show from Ice Creations. The show begins with a block of ice that looks like this:
And ends with a complete sculpture like this one:
Here’s a quick clip of the master at work:
There’s also live bands that walk through Kennywood Park playing popular Christmas tunes. At Parkside Cafe where this clip is from, we had a ball listneing to the holiday music and checking out the model train display. There’s also cookie decorating for a small charge. If you’re a fan of It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Lights has a fun display of memorabilia from the movie here as well.
Make sure you stop by the Main Stage and check out a holiday show or two put on by local dance groups and choirs.
Several family-friendly rides are open during Holiday Lights, and even though the lines were long, we had fun checking out the Christmas lights during our wait. They’ve changed out the lights to red and green sparklers, and the rides take on a whole new feel and look.
Our first ride of the night was on the Merry-Go-Round. Look how pretty it is decked out in red and green.
Love this photo of the fam waiting for the ride to begin.
Paratrooper was a blast to ride on, and not only was it a thrill whipping through the air, it had a great view of the lights on The Lagoon. We got lucky and saw a bit of the holiday lights show while we were riding!
Turtle was also up and running during our visit. Check out that view of The ‘Burgh!
Kiddieland had most of its rides running during our visit, and there were a ton of happy kiddos in the area. Speaking of Kiddieland, the park has a petting zoo filled with goats, sheep, calves, baby alpacas, and even a donkey and pony.
You can purchase cups of food at its entrance and even baby bottles (aww!) to feed the baby animals. This is probably my favorite picture of the night. I know, it’s blurry, but when those animals see the red cups coming toward them, it’s a chaotic and fun scene! The Kid was trying to snap a good photo of me feeding them, but she was laughing so hard that this was a good as it gets. I’ll take a blurry photo filled with laughter anytime.
I’ve been collecting animal selfies this year, and this one is one of my faves.
Goats are so much fun-and photogenic!
Several restaurants, including The Original Potato Patch, are opened during the event. The line was the shortest I’ve ever seen it at the famous French fry stand, so if you’ve got a hankering for them, this is the time of year to devour an order. We had dinner at Johnny Rockets and loved our window seat. We had a fab view of the Christmas lights, the Merry-Go-Round, and the Kangaroo.
Kids can write letters to Santa, and as he’s in the park, there’s a great chance he’ll get to read them.
On your way out, near the tunnel there’s fun action shots of families painted on the walls. My family couldn’t pass up a chance to recreate on of the action shots!
We sure did.
Disclosure: I was hosted by Kennywood Park to bring you fine folks the scoop on Holiday Lights. I was not asked to state a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.