Lots to Do While Waiting In Line to See the Lights

Those who wait until dark to make the six-mile drive through the dazzling, larger-than-life displays of Oglebay Park’s Winter Festival of Lights before returning home are only scratching the surface of what Oglebay has to offer for the Christmas season.

“There is plenty to do and see at Oglebay while waiting for the lights to come on,” said Caren Knoyer, the park’s marketing director.

For a touch of nostalgia, there’s the annual holiday model train display at the park’s Good Zoo, the largest such exhibit in West Virginia. And for something a little flashier, the nearby Benedum Theater offers holiday laser shows.

If you bundle up and venture from the warmth of your car to stroll the brick path between Carriage House Glass and the Mansion Museum, you’ll be treated to the Gardens of Light, which feature 150 illuminated hanging baskets and thousands of lighted flowers and shrubs, all set to relaxing Christmas music, 30 live, decorated Christmas trees and a life-sized nativity scene.

Visitors also can browse the offerings of park’s many specialty shops, from handblown collectibles at Carriage House Glass to chocolate and other sweets at Farmhouse Sweets & Treats. The Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club – only open during the Festival of Lights – features one-of-a-kind ornaments and decorations.

The Festival of Lights continues through Jan. 5. Visitors can take advantage of guided, narrated trolley tours offered several times each night beginning at Wilson Lodge.

Those who prefer a self-guided tour can download the park’s new free mobile app for iPhones and iPads, which includes photos, maps, and detailed information about each of the more than 80 displays that make up the festival.

The park does not charge admission to view the lights, but for a $25 donation visitors will receive a DVD that tells the history of Oglebay and the Festival of Lights.