The lights! The music! The pure Christmas joy! These are all things you might think as you cruise through Christmas In Color, an outdoor spectacle of animated Christmas lights that you can see right from your car. The event will run through January 1, 2023 at three locations in the Denver metro area.
There is one at Water World Family Water Park (8800 N. Pecos St.), another at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (25690 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora), and the third at Bandimere Speedway (3051 S Rooney Rd., Morrison) .
It doesn’t matter which spot you choose, every landscape is swept away by the darkness and all you and your car of family and/or friends see are the lights. Thousands and thousands of colorful lights.
Bonus, most of the places you can see from afar as you drive there, like a sea of sparkling Christmas beckoning you.
Head north on Pecos Street and the Water World location lights up on the horizon. And from the highway, it’s easy to see the glory that Bandimere Speedway has taken over.
Christmas In Color really took off a few years ago during the pandemic. At a time when everyone had to maintain social distancing, it was a way to get festive without exposing yourself to other people.
Turns out we still like to do things from the comfort of our cocoon, aka car.
The company, which also has Christmas In Color locations in other states, actually launched more than a decade ago in founder Richard Holdman’s home in Utah.
Holdman started putting lights around his house, animating them and setting the movement to holiday music.
His house was near the local children’s hospital, and when cars passed and taped the show, they often donated. Holdman, in turn, gave the money to the hospital.
Now the event raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses.
That means when you pay the general admission, it’s not just for your entertainment, but also to help sick kids.
Each ticket can be purchased online for $35 per caras long as it is not a limousine, bus or camper, they are not allowed.
That means you can pack that three-row car with all the kids and their friends and it’s still only $35.
If you want to splurge, buy the party package ticket. It costs between $55 and $65, depending on the day, and includes two light sticks, four 3D glasses, two light-up necklaces, and a festive air freshener.
Note, you may need to remind the person scanning the tickets that you have purchased this option, especially if you are going early in the season before everyone is on their toes on the process.
Another caveat to going early in the season, some lights may not work 100 percent. There are plenty of other things to look at, for example over a million lights, but don’t be surprised if some of the decorations stay dark.
Now, the details.
Before you go to the show, make sure your radio is on the right station. For the Water World location it was FM 87.9.
The station is beamed all over the park and interacts with many of the lights.
We admit that during the 30 minutes you drive through the lights, the music repeats.
There’s no shame in throwing out the radio and putting on your own Christmas music after the first run. Just don’t blow it so loud that it disturbs other cars that might want to hear the station.
In case you didn’t guess, yes, you should have your windows rolled down. And why not open that sunroof too?
Many visitors do this, and it’s not strange to see a bunch of kids with their heads popping out of the car.
Pickup trucks are another favorite vehicle because people can sit in the back and see the lights without obstruction.
In general, the event takes about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how long the line is to get in and how slowly you drive.
Don’t worry about going extra slow, or even stopping to take a selfie with one of the illuminated reindeer or in one of the magical Christmas tunnels.
Pack snacks for the road and maybe a travel mug of hot chocolate too. There are no concessions here, it’s all bring your own.
Although not offered now, Groupon sometimes has discounted tickets available.
Last year, the site offered them for the week between Christmas and New Year. We’ll keep you posted if they launch the same deal this year.
Another way to save money is to pack your vehicle with as many people as possible. The more in the car, the lower the price per person.
And bring hologram glasses if you have them. It makes the show even more exciting.
Go here for the nearest Christmas In Color location, schedules and to purchase tickets.
Then follow this enlightened adventure with a tour of decorated neighborhoods. We’ve got a list of some of the best places to hit, all of them FREE naturally.
Daily @ 5:30 pm-9:30 pm (November 25, 2022 – January 1, 2023)
Christmas In Color: A Drive Through Animated Holiday Lights