Twinkling holiday lights fill Chesapeake Country, creating dazzling winter wonderlands of animation, hidden images and luminous seasonal spirits
ANNMARIE GARDEN IN LIGHTS
Stroll a path thru woods glittering with illuminated one-of-a-kind light sculptures handmade by artists. Live entertainment nightly; shop the Ornament Show & Sale, and the Small Works Show, visit the holiday train display (thru Dec. 12). Special nights include Local Heroes Night, Wine & Lights Night (Dec. 2), Holiday Character Nights (Dec. 5 & 19), Special Needs Night (Dec. 7), Merry Menagerie Night (Dec. 9), Santa Night (Dec. 12), Golf Cart Tours (Dec. 13 & 28) and Pet Night (Jan. 1). Daily 5-9pm, thru Jan. 2 (closed Dec. 6 & 7, 24 & 25), Annmarie Garden, Solomons, $12 w/discounts: annmariegarden.org.
FAIR FAMILY CHRISTMAS
Experience a drive-thru holiday display; proceeds benefit the Anne Arundel Co. Food Bank. FSaSu 7-10pm, thru Dec. 19, Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, $10/vehicle, Facebook: @aacofair.
LIGHTS ON THE BAY
Lights on the Bay transforms Sandy Point State Park into a gleaming winter world with over 70 elaborate animated displays. Cruise through two sparkling miles to see North Pole scenes, penguins, a colonial village, a giant red teddy bear, midshipmen, Chessie and more; purchase 3D glasses for extra effects ($5). Benefits Anne Arundel SPCA. Daily thru Jan. 2; 5-10pm rain or shine, Sandy Point State Park, $20/car, $30/passenger van or mini-bus, $50/bus, special discount nights info online: lightsonthebay.org.
NORTH POLE LIGHTS WALK
Walk through Willow Oak’s glittery Winter Wonderland to see flower fairies decorate the gazebo, visit Polar Bear Central, the Gingerbread House, the Train Garden Gazebo and the Enchanted Fairy Garden. Santa visits children in the garden cabin (FSa). ThFSa 4:30-7:30pm, thru Dec. 30, Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, Severn, $8 w/ discounts: willowoakherbs.com.
SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS
This dazzling display of holiday lights is over 25 years old. See more than 100 larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations, made up of over 300,000 bulbs. On Dec. 8, bring your dog to walk the path during Tail Lights (6-7:30pm, $10/person). Welcome 2022 early with a walk thru the lights followed by fireworks display Dec. 31 (5:30-7:30pm, $15/person or $50 for family of 4). Drive-thru daily thru Jan. 2 (except on walk-thru nights; closed Dec. 6 & 7, 13 & 14), M-F 6-10pm; SaSu 5-10pm, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, $20/vehicle: merriweatherlights.com.
WATKINS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Cruise a 3-mile loop through Watkins Regional Park’s winter wonderland. Over a million lights form dazzling displays of archways, fairytale characters and holiday scenes. Bring canned goods donation to aid local food banks. Daily 5-9:30pm, thru Jan. 2, Watkins Park, Upper Marlboro, note: New entrance this year at Rt. 202/Largo Rd.; $10/car w/discounts: pgparks.com/742/Festival-of-Lights.
WINTERFEST OF LIGHTS
Make the drive to Ocean City for this walk-thru illumination and see how the beachfront town sparkles. Walk the animated light displays along a paved path, sip hot chocolate, take a photo with Santa, visit the gift shop and walk through the array of holiday exhibits. Come see the 50-foot Christmas tree put on a show and soak up all of the holiday spirit. Leashed dogs welcome on Wednesday nights. W-Su 5:30-9:30pm, thru Jan. 1, Northside Park, Ocean City, $5 w/discounts: ococean.com/events/winterfest-holidays.
ZOO LIGHTS AT THE MARYLAND ZOO
Zoo Lights is a seasonal after-hours spectacle that begins at Eagle Gate and proceeds down Buffalo Yard Road as guests follow a lit winding path past dazzling displays including some favorite animals reimagined as light sculptures. Guests can walk the event on foot FSaSu (5-8pm) or drive-thru WTh (5-8pm), thru Jan. 2, $33/vehicle for drive-thru, $28/person for walk-thru; advanced timed ticket req’d: marylandzoo.org/ZooLights.