December 14, 2021

Where to see Alabama’s best holiday light displays

3.7 min read

With the holidays creeping closer and closer, there’s no time like the present to get in the Christmas spirit. When you’re not busy baking gingerbread cookies or trimming your tree, there are plenty of festivities across the state. One of our favorites? Checking out Alabama’s many extravagant holiday light displays. From zoos and parks to the historic grounds of historic homes, some of our favorite Alabama attractions have transformed into dazzling light displays just in time to ring in the holidays. Check out a few of our favorites below.

(The Birmingham Zoo/Facebook)

Glow Wild 

Location: The Birmingham Zoo

Cost: $16.95-$20.95 adult / $9.95-$12.95 children

Dates: Through January 17

The Birmingham Zoo’s larger-than-life illuminated experience gives visitors the chance to see the zoo in a new light—literally. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., attendees can walk the zoo’s various exhibits to find dozens of giant light-up lanterns representing many of the animals that call the zoo home. The jaw-dropping plant and animal lantern creations are accompanied by string light displays throughout the zoo. Be sure to take a ride on the Radiant Railway to marvel at the impressive light-filled tunnel.

(Bellingrath Gardens and Home/Facebook)

Magic Christmas in Lights

Location: Bellingrath Gardens in Theodore

Cost: $16 adult / $8 children

Dates: Through January 5

Take a walking tour of the 65-acre Bellingrath Gardens to see more than 3 million lights, 1,100 set pieces, and 15 festive scenes as part of Bellingrath’s Magic Christmas in Lights display. Display themes range from Butterflies in Flight and Secret Garden to Christmas Tree Lane, Under the Sea, Fire & Ice, Mardi Gras, and Candyland. There’s something to capture the imagination of every holiday light lover, from age 3 to 93. The tour takes about one hour to walk through, and guests can purchase an accompanying ticket to tour the historic home.

(Wacky Tacky Light Tour/Facebook)

Wacky Tacky Light Tour

Location: Birmingham area

Cost: $45

Dates: December 14, 15, 16, 21

The Wacky Tacky Light Tour is your cheat sheet to seeing Birmingham’s funniest residential light displays. The bus tour takes folks on a drive around Birmingham neighborhoods to see some of the brightest, boldest, and most over-the-top light displays. Dare we say, some of them are even a bit wacky and a maybe a touch tacky. Riders are encouraged to wear their tacky sweater best. Blowups are plentiful at houses with nicknames like Santa’s Trailer Park and Saddle Up Santa. The best part of the event? All proceeds from ticket sales benefit Fresh Air Family, a local nonprofit that provides science camps for kids.

(Noccalula Falls Park and Campground/Facebook)

Christmas at the Falls

Location: Noccalula Falls in Gadsden

Cost: $8-$10

Dates: Through January 1

See legendary Noccalula Falls all gussied up for the holidays at Christmas at the Falls. The annual event features millions of lights winding through the park with holiday displays and decorations around every turn. Walk the park’s paved trails to see the glowing displays, or board the park’s train for an accelerated journey in the land of twinkling lights. Children will have the chance to visit with Santa while there, and everyone can grab yummy refreshments from food and drink vendors.

(The Wharf/Facebook)


Location: The Wharf at Orange Beach

Cost: Free

Dates: Through December 31

What the Gulf Coast lacks in winter weather, it more than makes up for in glorious holiday spirit. Orange Beach’s Winter at The Wharf programming includes an iceskating rink, Toys for Tots bike drive, photos with Santa, horse and carriage rides, Christmas tree lighting, and the always incredible Holiday SPECTRA Laser Light Experience. For the show, the entertainment district’s main street is transformed into a magical stage where palm trees come alive in a choreographed light show set to popular Christmas songs.

(Huntsville Botanical Garden/Facebook)

Galaxy of Lights 

Location: Huntsville Botanical Garden

Cost: $9-$15/child walking; $16-$25/adult; $25/car

Dates: Through January 1

The Huntsville Botanical Gardens are set aglow every year for the Galaxy of Lights, a series of magnificent light displays that can be toured by car during the month of December. Tune into local radio station 89.5 for a soundtrack perfectly timed to match the display.

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