One of my favorite holiday traditions is seeing the Garden of Lights at Rock City. This Chattanooga attraction has been drawing in holiday fun-seekers for over 20 years, and I have fond memories of seeing the lights as a child. (Though my parents claim I ran through the park too quickly because I was cold.)
This year, being Critter’s first Christmas, we’ve tried to be especially festive. Christmas parties galore, the tree went up the day after Halloween, we all have Christmas outfits….you name it, we’ve done it.
Although we had been planning on going to Rock City anyway, my dad came across a family pass which gave free entrance to two adults and two children. Critter is actually young enough that she doesn’t count as a child yet, but the thought of wrangling two extra children and a baby through a crowded park at night was not my cup of tea. We did, however, invite my little brother, who was home from college for Christmas break.
We picked the busiest night of the season to go. Whether it’s because it was only a few days before Christmas or because the weather had improved dramatically from the previous week, I’m not sure. There was a line of cars halfway down the mountain, a line at the ticket booth, and a line to get in.
Rock City had smartly been divided into four “realms” this year, all with a different theme. You could visit any realm you wanted first, so the crowd dispersed inside the park. The only place we had trouble while inside the park was Fairyland Caverns, an underground cave filled with scenes from fairytales and folklore. The trail is especially narrow through the caverns, so one person stopping to take a picture could back up the crowd for a hundred feet or more.
Critter wasn’t old enough to enjoy everything yet, like visiting the ice queen and Jack Frost, or seeing Santa. She also wasn’t old enough to partake in some of the optional (read: cost extra) things like decorating gingerbread cookies, either.
However, she loved seeing the lights! Her favorite part was the magical forest, which is light up trees synced to music. This just about blew her mind. You know the “aliens” meme? That’s what she looked like the whole trip through the dancing trees.
We plan on going back next year, when she’ll be able to enjoy the lights even more.
Do you have any Christmas traditions?