Monday, November 23, 2009

Get Your Lights On: Christmas Lights in Tulsa

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This week isn't just about stuffing yourself with pound after pound of nap-inducing poultry or shopping the Black Friday doorbusters in your chain mail. As any former kid knows, Thanksgiving Day and the days that follow are for decking the halls and trimming the Christmas tree.

After everyone understands each other about the "strange words" you were shouting as you attempted to detangle yourself from a mammoth ball of Christmas lights not even Clark Griswold could muster, it'll be time to brighten these wintry, early-occurring evenings with the lighting of hundreds of thousands of little twinkling lights.

Good thing there are plenty of ways to see the first of this year's Christmas lights in the Tulsa area, and more than one of them includes cookies and hot chocolate. Check 'em out:

Rhema Lights On
When: Wednesday, Nov. 25, 6pm
Where: Rhema Bible College, 1025 W. Kenosha Street
Take a break from cooking and join Rhema's Hagin family as they flip the switch on one of the most anticipated Christmas lights display of the year in this neck of the woods. Making Tulsa visible from space for the 27th year in a row, Rhema expects to draw more than 200,000 from all over Oklahoma and our surrounding states to show off their 1.8 million lights. The kicker? Once you fight the traffic and find parking, there isn't one. It's all free and open to the public.

Utica Square Lights On
When: Thursday, Nov. 26, 6:30pm
Where: Utica Square, 21st Street and Utica Avenue
Put away the turkey, bundle up the kiddos and head to Utica Square this Thanksgiving Day to bear witness to one of the most well-attended, longest-running (40 years!) lights on events in the state. Santa Claus will make an appearance, and he'll stick around long enough to count down the lighting of over 700,000 bright-and-twinklies in nearly 200 trees all over Tulsa's most upscale, historic shopping center.

Garden of Lights
When: Thursday, Nov. 26
Where: Honor Heights Park in Muskogee
Count 'em - one million lights, baby. It takes 120 acres to contain all that Christmas cheer at Muskogee's Honor Heights Park. The fun continues through Dec. 31.

Arvest Winterfest 2009

Arvest Winterfest
When: Friday, Nov. 27, 4pm
Where: On Third Street, between Denver and Frisco Avenues in downtown Tulsa
Wanna see the largest Christmas tree in the entire state of Oklahoma? Then you've gotta check out the new and improved, second annual Arvest Winterfest celebration. Relish the chance to ice skate outdoors (not always a sure thing when it comes to winter in Oklahoma) on a 60-by-150-foot rink, yummy food, live entertainment, photo ops with the Segway Santa and a carriage ride through the streets of downtown Tulsa. If you miss it this weekend, don't worry - it continues through Jan. 4. Get a listing of a full months' worth of Winterfest goodness here.

Wonderland of Lights

When: Fridays-Sundays, starting Friday-Dec. 20, 5-9pm
Where: Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, southwest of Barlesville
Ever seen a buffalo with a red, glowing nose? You just might if you head to Woolaroc for its Wonderland of Lights. See 650,000 lights, sing carols, sit back for a wagon ride and a cup of cider, see Santa and sneak a peek at the Holiday Horseman, all on Oklahoma's own 3,700-acre wildlife preserve. Just, whatever you do, don't tip Rudolph. Admission is $8 for guests aged 12-64 and $6 for seniors. Children 11 and under get in free.

Christmas Kingdom at The Castle of Muskogee

Christmas Kingdom
When: Friday, Nov. 27
Where: The Castle of Muskogee, 3400 Fern Mountain Road
There's nothing like a 20-foot inflatable to get a person into the holiday spirit. Get that and 999 other Christmas Inflatables, along with thousands of lights, in this fourth annual, free event. Check out the horse carriage rides starting at 6pm, and don't miss Christmas in the Garden Room, cookies and hot chocolate (nightly from 6-10pm), tractor-drawn hay rides and a visit with Father Christmas (Fridays and Saturdays, 6-9pm). Check out the full calendar of events at

Lights on the Hill at Chandler Park
When: Fridays-Sundays, starting Nov. 27 thru Dec. 27, 6-9pm
Where: Chandler Park, 6500 W. 21st Street
When it comes to aerial views of neighborhood Christmas lights (not to mention the view of the skyline), it's tough to beat the top of the hill at Chandler Park. Throughout the rest of this month and into the next, take a drive through three miles of bright lights and whimsical displays, catch live performances by local high schools, churches and more. Plus, snag a scenic horse-and-carriage ride. Be sure to stay tuned until Dec. 5 from 4-6pm, when you and the kiddos can have your photo snapped with Santa. Don't forget to bring enough cookies and milk to share.

Garden Glow
When: Saturday, Nov. 28, 4-8pm
Where: Philbrook Museum of Art, 2424 S. Rockford Ave.
Don't use all your Christmas light-gawking energy before Saturday, folks, because this second-annual, free event at one of Tulsa's cherished landmarks is not to be missed. Spend some time perusing the exhibits at Philbrook and then head outside at 6pm to see thousands of lights come to life in the garden. The entire museum will be open to all, and music, food, hot chocolate and kids' activities will be in good supply.

Hey. Where do you go to find Christmas lights in Tulsa? Enlighten us (sorry, I couldn't help myself) in the comments.

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Holly said...

I skipped on the light tours last year, but that's not going to be the case this year. I used to LOVE the one at Honor Heights Park when I was a kid. I wonder if it would still be as magical as a grown-up...

Anonymous said...

This is the most comprehensive guide to local lights that I've found (kinda sad for the local press). Thank you! We look forward to checking each one of these off of our newly-formed list.

Steven H. Roemerman Sr said...

How do I score a carrige ride at chandler park? Just show up?

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