It’s time to load up the car and take in all the lights and displays of the season. But where should you go? Here’s a holiday lights guide to make it easier for you to enjoy the holiday spirit in the Des Moines metro this year.
For a Fee:
JOLLY HOLIDAY LIGHTS ($10 per car)
When: November 22 – January 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Adventureland, 3300 Adventureland Drive, Altoona, IA 50009
This 2.5 mile stretch of lights displayed at Adventureland this year boasts over 100 magical lights displays. and is a yearly staple for many families in the metro. 100% of the money raised goes to the Make-a-Wish Iowa, so it’s a win-win for everyone. At the end of the route, be sure to grab a cookie and cocoa at Santa’s Wish Shop where you can also browse the gift shop and get a picture with Santa for $10. For more information visit the Jolly Holiday Lights website.
FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY CHURCH
When: Saturday & Sunday, December 10 & 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: 225 North Avenue, Norwalk IA
Fellowship Community Church invites you their Synchronized Lights & Live Nativity, a unique experience this Christmas season. The property will be covered in 60,000 LED lights that are synchronized to Christmas music. Other features to draw you in include a live nativity featuring real animals and free cookies and hot chocolate brought right to your warm car! Any donations received will go to needy families in the area.
GINGERBREAD LANE, ANKENY
When: December 2 to January 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: SE Richland Court, Ankeny, IA 50021
During the holiday season, Richland Court in Ankeny transforms into Gingerbread Lane to delight children and adults alike. Every weekend, Santa & Mrs. Claus will be collecting canned goods for the Food Bank of Iowa. Visit their Facebook page for schedule updates and more information.
Free Displays (Businesses):
HISTORIC VALLEY JUNCTION
When: November 19 – January 1 from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Where: Fifth Street and Railroad Avenue, West Des Moines, IA
The charm of historic Valley Junction really comes out during the holidays. Enjoy over 100,000 lights and displays and be sure to come early to eat dinner and visit the over 150 specialty shops, restaurants, and services before the lights come on. Valley Junction also hosts a few fun holiday events in December, check them out here.
Family and Neighborhood Lights Displays:
When: November 25 — December 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Ashby and Wallace Avenues, east and west of Beaver Avenue.
About 50 homes compete for the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association’s bragging rights and you can take advantage of the stiff competition. New and exciting displays, as well as beautiful classics are a must-see for many families in Des Moines.
When: December 7 — January 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Recommended streets include South of Hickman Road, Franklin Avenue, Marylynn Drive and 72nd Street
Approximately 120 homes participate in Windsor Heights Foundation’s annual holiday lighting contest. You’ll want to gather up the family and drive by to check out what all the homeowners have come up with this year.
LIGHT UP URBANDALE
When: Sunday, December 11 at dusk to 10 p.m.
Where: Neighborhoods throughout Urbandale, IA.
If the nostalgia of luminaries is what you are looking then the Urbandale Centennial Committee has put together a treat for you. Check out their website for information about a tree lighting ceremony and other activities on December 4.
VENZKE ANIMATED CHRISTMAS DISPLAY
When: November 25 – January 1, dusk to 9 pm
Where: 1335 NE Milan Ave in Ankeny, just off of 36th Street
Everyone around Ankeny loves the private residence of the Venzke’s. New and different each year, some favorites you may see include Frosty the Snowman, a flying cardinal, a skiing snowman, a Times Square ball drop and/or Iowa State basketball and football players.
Also check out this cool interactive website called Des Moines Lights where you can see many other displays around town and even add your own to the map!