Brightening traditions: Making this holiday season magical with adventures

Photo Submitted by Calloway Gardens

The holiday season is here, which means it’s a great time to make memories with friends and family. Putting a spin into traditional holiday events is simple with these popular attractions.


Photo Submitted by Calloway Gardens
Photo Submitted by Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens has created a place where guests can enjoy holiday lights, while riding along a guided trail. “The Fantasy in Lights,” will be featured at Callaway Gardens from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2.

The theme of the light show is based on Christmas stories and guests can experience the attractions in multiple ways. Rachel Crumbley, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, describes the light show as being steady and traditional over the years.

“Actually, the scenes are consistent because everyone has their favorite,” Crumbley said. “The last time we had new road work, due to a newly constructed building, there was a new scene added.”

“Fantasy In Lights” is an attraction that began in 1992. This year is the 24th season of the popular holiday event.

The first “Fantasy in Lights” show had only five attractions. All together, it takes about six weeks to complete the setup for the entire events. Today, the show has 15 attractions and approximately 8 million lights.

Traditionally, guests can take the interactive trolley, which tells the story of the lights, while the guests are driven down the trail. Now, they can do more than just ride the trolley, they can ride a bike, take a motorcycle, drive a car, walk and even take photographs.

Certain nights have special events, for instance Nov. 13 was motorcycle night. On Nov. 16, photographers had an exclusive opportunity to take pictures of the attractions at night.

Some of the attractions include Magical Christmas, Snowflake Valley, Santa’s workshop, Toy Soldiers and more.

Package rates for Fantasy In Lights are available to guests. It includes admission, accommodations, the jolly trolley ride, a collectable christmas ornament and more.


Ice Skating at Centennial Olympic Park is a tradition for many Atlanta natives. Photo by Ralph Hernandez | Signal Archives
Ice Skating at Centennial Olympic Park is a tradition for many Atlanta natives.
Photo by Ralph Hernandez | Signal Archives

Ice Skating

Centennial Olympic park is bringing back the ice and holiday lights, starting Nov. 21 through Jan. 10. For each guest to get a maximum of 90 minutes skating time. they pay $12 including the skate rentals. With a larger group, rates starts at $9, and students can take advantage of $9 entries on Mondays and Tuesdays.  

Hours vary based on holidays, for instance Thanksgiving day the ice rink will be open from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m.




Amicalola State Park

Save money and observe the fall trees at Red Top Mountain State Park. For $5, which covers parking, guests can visit the waterfall, go hiking, and more.The state park has 12 miles of hiking trails.

From Nov. 13 through Nov. 20, Stars of Red Top, or star gazing, will be offered at the state park. The guided trip will be at night, so guests are advised to bring flashlights and wear warm clothing. For more information about this event visit the Georgia State Park website.


Snow Mountain

On Nov. 21 through Feb. 28, Stone Mountain Park will be covered in snow. This popular attraction includes a 400-foot hill, where guests can go tubing at Avalanche Alley. They can also make snowmen in the Snow Zone and use tube runners for an individual snow sliding experience.


Hip-hop Nutcracker

Jennifer Weber, choreographer and performing artist of Decadancetheatre, stepped outside of the box with her interpretation of the nutcracker.

The hip-hop inspired nutcracker is coming to Atlanta on Nov. 28. at the Fox Theater. The name alone is what makes the hip-hop nutcracker different. Traditionally, the Fox has ballet interpretations of the seasonal performance.This performance combines classical music and hip-hop, with live musical performances and a DJ. Tickets are available on Fox Theatre’s website.


Cirque Dream Holidaze

The combination of Broadway and Cirque is coming to the Fox Theater on Nov. 25 and Nov. 27. The Cirque Dreams Holidaze is a spin off from traditional cirque performances. This year it will feature a holiday inspired show with 20 acts and 30 performers doing stunts, dance numbers, illusions and more.


Trying new things is a good way to twist up holiday traditions, whether it’s making snowmen, visiting the holiday lights or going ice skating. There are many ways to enjoy the holidays in Atlanta.