Real Richmond Review: Illuminate Light Show and Santa’s Village

Seeing Christmas lights is one of my family’s favorite things to do over the holidays.  But normally we drive through neighborhoods we know are sure to have some tacky lights.  This year we were really excited for a trip where christmas lights were guaranteed to get us in the Christmas spirit.

illuminate light show review

We piled up the kids in the car and headed out to Meadow Event Park for the Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village.  As sometimes happens, one of the 5 of us was in a spectacularly bad mood (it was one might call the big-kid version of a tantrum).  Great. We’re off to a fantastic start.  We are informed that said child absolutely does not want to go and does not want to be there and would rather be doing anything else in the world than being stuck in the car listening to Christmas music with his brothers. At some point there may have been some dramatic sobbing.

We ride up listening to the litany of complaints from the unnamed child and we can see the Christmas lights from the road. We point them out. Said child is unimpressed.  We roll slowly up to the front gate and are told to turn our headlights off and change to the designated radio station.

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As we slowly roll down the path in the comfort of the car the lights are absolutely magical.  Both beautifully and humorously timed with the music, bright and cheerful displays blink, dance and dazzle on a long winding path. There is a notable silence from the grump in the back seat. Oohs and ahs from the rest of the car. The light show was much longer than expected which was nice, it wound around hills and under tunnels lit up with markers along the way. 

As we reached the end of the light show and got out of the car at Santa’s Village my formerly grumpy child, now slightly sheepish hugs me and says (no lie) “Mom, I’m really sorry I got so upset… I’m glad you brought us, that light show was really awesome”.  I am suddenly even more impressed with the light show than I was before. 

Santa’s village is small, Despite decorations, there was only so much to hide the bright lights of the indoor pavilion.  The Santa set up, however was quite pretty with professional photography available. Children can go on a monkey motion ride (essentially a bungee assisted trampoline jump $6 or included in a $10 wristband) and bounce on the moon bounce ($3 or included with wrist band) inside the pavilion. Say “moon bounce” and my boys are happy as can be, so we decided not to spend the money on the wrist band and paid $9 for all three to bounce until they dropped (hello early bedtime).photo 4

Outside we got red velvet funnel cake, hot cocoa and spiced cider all of which was delicious and we petted the horse for the wagon ride (but decided not to take a ride as it was a very, very cold night).

It’s safe to say Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village can put some holiday cheer into the grumpiest kid around… Truth is, it was dazzling, and a really fun family night out. We highly recommend it (and will be going next year).

Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village

Light Show Dates: November 14, 2014 – January 3, 2015
Santa’s Village Dates: November 14, 2014 – December 24, 2014
Event Times: Nightly 5:30pm – 10:00pm.  Open rain or shine, including all holidays.
Wine tastings: Nov. 20th  and 27th  and Dec. 4th and 11th

Ticket prices:
Cars (9 passengers or less) – $22 Monday-Thursday, $25 Friday-Sunday
Limos, Mini Buses (10-34 passengers) – $50 nightly
Full-Size Buses (35 or more passengers) – $75 nightly

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Illuminate Light Show & Santa’s Village provided a ticket in exchange for this review.
All opinions (and grumpy children) are my own.