The holiday season is upon us, which means everything and everywhere is getting all gussied up in their finest string of lights and brightly colored baubles to celebrate the season in style. But nowhere is this truer than at the Oglebay Festival of Lights in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Returning for its 38th year, the 6-mile drive is entertaining young and old with enchantment and magic through more than 100 lighted displays across more than 300 acres, making it one of the country’s largest illuminated shows.
As spectacular as the drive is, there is so much more to the Oglebay Festival of Lights. This year, take time to step outside the car and experience Oglebay’s wonder, joy, and spirit.
Reflections on Schenk Lake was introduced last year and wowed the crowds with its delightfully lit candy canes dancing around the lake’s perimeter. In the center stands a 15-foot-tall, animated globe set to music. Guests staying at Wilson Lodge on one of the package plans will take home a commemorative ornament resembling the enchanting globe.
The Hilltop greets visitors with a 70-foot-tall tree encased in LED lights and set to music. Encircling the tree are pathways decorated with more than 150 hanging baskets, flowers, and trees, all with twinkling lights that lead to the animated light show at the Oglebay’s Mansion Museum, where guests can tour the inside and enjoy 13 historical rooms adorned in holiday splendor.
Outside the Carriage House is where you will find the life-size nativity. This crowd favorite depicts the scene of the Messiah’s birth, mesmerizing guests with its depiction in intricate detail.
The Levenson’s Shelter hosts the family-friendly Winter Carnival. Children love taking rides on the snowflake express train. Wagon rides are always a big hit. New additions this year include an ice rink with skate rentals, a decorated Christmas Tree Trail, and a 32-foot climbing wall.
Various food concessions are available and include freshly made doughnuts. Don’t forget to get a warm cup of hot chocolate. It’s not a holiday without a hot mug to chase away the winter chill.
Oglebay’s Good Zoo is the place to be if you love snow. Every night, there is a Wish for Snow experience, and even if you don’t love snow, there is so much going on here that you won’t mind a little of the white stuff. A riveting Holiday Laser show is held inside the Benedum Theatre/Planetarium, accompanied by B.E. Taylor and Brad Paisley music.
The zoo encompasses over 30 acres of woodlands and features more than 50 animals. The Good Zoo is the perfect place to enjoy animals like the two-toed sloth and the red river hogs up close. At the same time, a rocking Holiday Light Show keeps the party going on the outdoor patio with 40,000 LED lights choreographed to music legends like Led Zeppelin and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Make sure to visit between 6-8 pm. The big man in red also likes to stop by for pictures with the kids.
Route 88 Burgers and Brews is the place to be if you are hungry. Open all year, their signature-style burgers and New Jersey-style rippers (deep-fried hot dogs) served with a craft beer or a delicious malt will tackle any appetite.
Jingle All the Way is Oglebay’s dinner show, offering a more intimate experience. Enjoy performances of classic holiday songs and stories while relaxing and enjoying a delicious meal. Shows run Thursday through Sunday during the Festival of Lights season. Call 877-436-1797 for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.
The Speidel Christmas Shop at the Speidel Golf Club offers holiday decor, apparel, and unique gift items for your shopping pleasure.
The Carriage House at The Hilltop is where you will find stunning handmade glassware. Some are made right on the property. Among other delightful finds are Fiesta Tableware, Oglebay’s famous hyacinth flowers, and beautiful items from Boise Glass (Idaho), Mosser Glass (Cambridge, Ohio), and Blenko Glass (Milton, WV).
Each year, over 300,000 visitors from all over the country will drive through the Festival of Lights, many returning year after year to enjoy the splendor and thrill of Oglebay.
Guests receive over $500 in coupons redeemable at various attractions at Oglebay and Wheeling Park through 2024, including a complimentary one-night stay, free green fees, ski lift tickets, and dining specials for a $30 donation at the Festival of Lights ticket booth. The suggested donation helps keep the lights shining bright for visitors all season.
The Festival of Lights runs from dusk to midnight from November 9 through January 8, 2024.
The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and making beautiful memories. Fill your car with your closest people this year and visit the Oglebay Festival of Lights. It encompasses all the beauty of the season while inviting guests to linger over hot chocolate, listen to some carols while enjoying thrilling light shows set to the music, and simply slow down and savor time with those you hold dear and experience all the magic Oglebay has to offer. Check out www.oglebay.com to begin planning your holiday memories.