Making Memories in Alabama
Christmas is a time for family, making memories and recalling Christmases past. There are lots of ways to add some magic to your holidays this Christmas season right here in Alabama. The Alabama Tourism Department offers the following suggestions to help make new Christmas memories with your family.
Governor's Mansion Candlelight Open House - Montgomery, Monday nights Dec. 8, 15, and 22
Tour the state's executive residence while it's decorated in all its holiday grandeur. The 1907 Governor's Mansion will be aglow with lights and filled with the spirit of the season. Hours: 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Call 1-800-Alabama.
See Animals in Lights at the Montgomery Zoo, through Dec. 31
More than a half-million lights illuminate the pathways on a leisurely stroll through the Montgomery Zoo during the city's Holiday Lights Festival. You can ride the train through the forested wonderland and see animals come alive in lighted displays. (334) 240-4900. www.montgomeryzoo.com
Experience the Galaxy of Lights in Huntsville, through Dec. 31
Celebrate the holiday season with a drive or a stroll through the Huntsville Botanical Garden. This magnificent holiday light extravaganza features 600 lighted displays arranged in 125 varied holiday scenes and themes, including a Patriotic Celebration, Winter Wonderland, Santa's Workshop, Christmas Celebrations, Nursery Rhymes, Birds, Bees, Butterflies, and more. (256) 830-4447. www.hsvbg.org
Celebrate Christmas in the Park in Arab, through Dec 31
For the 13th consecutive year, the City of Arab will offer a dazzling display of nearly 2 million holiday lights in the park. Enjoy live entertainment by local church groups and individuals, holiday music and special decorations in the Historic Complex, which features an old church, a school and an operational gristmill. (256) 586-8128. www.arabcity.org
Enjoy the Magic of Christmas in Lights in Mobile, through Dec. 31
Stroll through a wonderland of more than three million twinkling lights and 600 custom-designed holiday displays during Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile. Tour the historic Bellingrath Home decorated in its holiday finery, enjoy nightly entertainment and visit with Santa. (251) 973-2217. www.bellingrath.org
Celebrate the Festival of Lights in Florence, through Dec. 25.
Florence businesses and Wilson Park will be decorated for Christmas. Visitors can shop while listening to music on the street corners and in the park. The jingle of bells on horses giving carriage rides adds to the festive atmosphere. Call for times. (256) 740-4141. www.flo-tour.org
Enjoy a Victorian Christmas in Opelika, through Dec. 13
Step back in time with a visit to an Ole World Christmas wonderland in Opelika. On the Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour, you'll see more than 60 turn-of-the-century homes in all their lighted glory featuring life-sized Santas, angels, toy and teddy bear displays, carousel horses and other figures. Also, enjoy live holiday entertainment and other festive activities. (334) 887-8747. www.aotourism.com
Go on a Zoolight Safari at the Birmingham Zoo, Dec. 12-23 & 26-30
Ride the Zoolight Express train, enjoying a half million twinkling lights on your travels. The spirit is festive and the tradition comes complete with hot cocoa, a light show synchronized to all your favorite holiday tunes, Santa and snow. (205) 879-0409. www.birminghamzoo.com
Visit the Albany and Old Decatur Historic Districts in Decatur, Dec. 13
Decatur's historic districts are decorated with luminaries, greenery and thousands of lights. Several homes are open for tours. Refreshments are served and carriage rides are available. The tour is from 4-8 p.m. (256)350-2028. www.decaturcvb.org
Holidays at Old Alabama Town, Montgomery, through Dec. 31
Old Alabama Town's house museums are authentically decorated for the holidays to give visitors an inside look at how Alabamians celebrated during this special season. Don't miss our Holiday Open House and special exhibit in the Reception Center. Call for more information. (334) 240-4500.
Courtland Christmas Open House Tour - Courtland, Dec. 14 only
Downtown Courtland lights up for the holiday season. Adorned with holiday decorations, the antique shops, homes and the Presbyterian Church are open for tours. Carriage rides also offered along with refreshments. Hours: 1-4:30 p.m. Call (256) 637-2707.
Heritage Holidays at the Julian House - Tuscumbia, through Dec. 13
Special holiday meals or tea time refreshments served at the Julian House c. 1819, which provides a quaint setting with period holiday decorations, antiques and 19th Century memorabilia. Call (256) 383-4401.
Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum - Calera, Dec. 6-21, Saturdays & Sundays only
Santa rides the train with you! Tell him what you would like for Christmas as he greets passengers, poses for photos, and gives a treat to each rider! All seats (age 2 years and older) $14, plus convenience fee. Call 1-800-943-4490.
For more information and other events taking place in Alabama throughout the year, contact Kory Ward, (334) 242-4514, or visit the Alabama Tourism Department's Web site at www.alabama.travel.