by Janet Jonus
Two million twinkling lights, the tallest Christmas Tree in Pennsylvania, rides, food, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Santa herald in Holiday Lights at Kennywood Park.
Holiday Lights returns to Kennywood Park on November 22nd and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 22nd and every day December 26th through the 30th from 500PM-900PM.
Kennywood is partnering with 412FoodRescue to collect personal care items during Holiday Lights! Bring a personal care item (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, diapers, female hygiene products, toilet paper, etc.) to donate to your neighbors in need and receive $6.00 off a gate ticket November 22nd through December 8th. (Tickets will be $14.99 with a donation.)
Kennywood Park is immersed in lights and special holiday entertainment during Holiday Lights. Pennsylvania’s Tallest Christmas is lit up at the Tree Lighting Ceremony every night at 545PM every day near the Pizza Warehouse.
The Kennywood Holiday Lights Show is a light spectacular set to holiday music. The Lagoon area is lit up with dancing lights in two different festive shows. Each show lasts ten minutes. Showtimes are at 530, 600, 630, 700, 730, 800, and 830PM.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is playing at the Kennywood 4D Theater near the Pirate Ship. Share this holiday classic and celebrate the spirit of Christmas in this 4D version of Rudolph. Watch the 3D movie enhanced with in-theater effects including falling snow! The 15 minute movie runs continuously throughout the evening. This attraction can get really crowded with long waits.
The Kennyville Stage near the Potato Patch hosts several holiday shows. Be part of the magic at Doc Dixon’s Holiday Lights Magic Show with holiday-themed magic. Shows are at 530, 700, and 830PM. Join Parker the Arrow and his friends at Parker’s Dance Party. Get up and move to the sounds of the holidays in this song and dance show. Showtimes are at 630 and 800PM.
The Kennyville Stage also hosts nightly readings of the Christmas Classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, by local celebrities at 730PM.
Local groups celebrate the Sounds of the Holidays at nightly shows at the Garden Stage (near Thomas Town). Enjoy performances by local choirs, bands, and dancers. Shows are at 615, 715, and 815PM.
There are plenty of fun activities for the whole family at Holiday Lights.
Have your Picture taken with Santa. Santa has a new home this year. He is in the old arcade, near the racer and the Lagoon. Open all night.
See the amazing Model Train Display from the Pittsburgh Independent Hi-Railers in the Penny Arcade. The miniature village features local landmarks, model trains, and a miniature Kennywood. The Model Train Display is also a good place to warm up. Open all night.
Write your Letter to Santa and send it in a new location, next to the Auto Racer.
Buy a Cookie Decorating Kit in the Parkside Cafe. Each kit comes with a sugar cookie, frosting, and sprinkles.
Bundle up and ride at Holiday Lights!
If you can brave the cold, there are rides operating during Holiday Lights. Little ones have a lot to choose from. There are up to ten rides open in Kiddieland for the smallest members of your family. Ride availability will vary on a nightly basis.
The big draw will be Thomas Town. Ride on Flynn’s Fire Training, Harold’s Helicopter Tour, Cranky’s Drop Tower, and the Diesel Drivers. Best of all Thomas himself will be chugging along the tracks proving he is a Really Useful Engine on Journey with Thomas in the new Thomas Town. Join Emily, Gordon, James, and Percy in a special Thomas Town holiday show. (For a Know Before You Go Guide to Thomas Town, read about it here: http://familyfunpittsburgh.com/thomas-town-is-open-at-kennywood-a-know-before-you-go-guide/ )
The Auto Race is also running. Let your kids drive you around the track in this classic ride.
The rest of the family can ride too. While none of the major rides can operate in the cold, some rides are open. The Turtle, the Kangaroo, the Merry-Go-Round, the Pirate, Noah’s Ark, and Ghostwood Estates are all open and decorated for the holidays.
NOTE: Rides may be closed due to the inclement weather or staffing shortages. On the night Family+FunPittsburgh went, the Turtle and the Pirate were not open.
Know Before You Go Notes: It is COLD on the rides. It is even colder when the rides move and the air blows over you! Really, really cold. Even if the air temperature isn’t too bad, it is very cold on the rides! Think about how nice the breeze is on a hot summer day when the rides are moving. Now think how cold that breeze is on a 30 degree day. You have been warned. Dress appropriately.
Kennywood note: All rides are subject to be closed at any time due to adverse weather conditions including snow, rain, and cold temperatures.
Holiday Lights also features delicious, seasonal food.
Star Refreshment stand, near the Aero 360, has funnel cakes with hot apple and holiday toppings plus deep fried Oreos and beignets. Pagoda, near Thomas Town, has Christmas Sundaes plus churros and soft pretzels. The other side of the Pagoda stand has Pittsburgh Kielbasa with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, Popcorn Chicken with mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy, and Chicken & Waffles with maple syrup. The Parkside Café has a soup bar, chicken strips & fries, and hot drinks. Beaver Tails, a new Holiday Lights refreshment stand near the Jack Rabbit, serves “artisanal Canadian pastries”.
If you have a taste for your regular Kennywood food, you are in luck as several Kennywood refreshment stands are open too. The iconic Potato Patch is serving up fries, Johnny Rockets has burgers, fries, and (if you dare) shakes but it also has indoor seating (warm!), Midway (near the JackRabbit) has cheesesteaks, corn dogs, hot dogs, and fries, Snack-a-saurus featuring Bean Sprouts (in Kiddieland) has healthy eats for kids and adults, Pizza Warehouse has pizza by the slice or the pie, and Kandy Kaleidoscope has candy and holiday treats.
There are hot drinks available at many of the food stands including Parkside Café, Pagoda, Kiddieland, Midway, Pizza Warehouse, and Kandy Kaleidoscope. Buy a Souvenir Cup and get $0.99 refills throughout the Holiday Lights season!
For an extra-special treat, you can reserve a special Dinner with Santa on select dates. Dinner starts at 330PM with a buffet of pulled pork BBQ, chicken tenders, mac & cheese, peirogies, chips, and cookies plus milk, iced tea, and hot chocolate. Dinner ends at 430PM. Santa arrives at 400PM for pictures and greetings. Once you say goodbye to Santa at 445PM (so he can make it over to the Racer for an evening of pictures), you can head out to enjoy an evening of Holiday Lights. Dinner with Santa is available November 30, December 1, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 & 22. Dinner with Santa with Holiday Lights admission costs $29.99 for adults, $23.99 for children 4-12, children 3 and under are free. Season Passholders with Holiday Lights privileges pay $18.00 for adults, $15.00 for children 4-12, children 3 and under are free. All prices are base prices plus fees and taxes. (Note: Summer-only season passes do not include Holiday Lights.) Qualified Season Passholders get free admission to Holiday Lights on select dates including December 1, 8, 15, and 22 and qualify for Dinner with Santa at the Season Passholder rates.
Admission to Holiday Lights is $20.99 for everyone 4 and up on Fridays and Sundays. Children three and under are free. Online tickets are $18.49 for guests four and older on Fridays and Sundays. Admission to Holiday Lights is $20.99 for everyone 4 and up on Saturdays. Children three and under are free. Online tickets are $19.49 for guests four and older on Saturdays. Get Unlimited Admission to Holiday Lights for $28.00. Holiday Lights Military admission is $10.99. Children three and under are free. All admission rates are base rates plus taxes and fees. Holiday Lights tickets are available for $17.99 at participating Giant Eagle locations.
Season Passholders with Holiday Lights benefits get in for FREE on November 22, 24, 29, December 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, plus December 26 – 30.
Note: Summer-only Season passes (Bronze, Senior Evening, and End of Summer) are not eligible for free admission during Holiday Lights.
Parking is Free. Port Authority Bus 61C stops at Kennywood Park.
Special needs guests should stop by the Service Center near Noah’s Ark for information about accessibility.
Kennywood Park 4800 Kennywood Blvd West Mifflin PA 15122 / 412-461-0500 / https://www.kennywood.com/