Photo by Eric Stauffer
ALTON — Hear the sleigh bells jingle and see 3 million lights twinkle amid a winter backdrop at Rock Spring Park’s Christmas Wonderland.
Back for another year to warm the hearts and holiday spirits of families and friends, the park is lighting the way to another illuminating holiday season through Dec. 28. The display is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday through Sunday at the park, 2100 College Ave., Alton.
Alton’s Grandpa Gang organizes and designs the Christmas spectacular of cascading lights, tunnels and displays known as Christmas Wonderland. This year, the group of retirees and volunteers went to work in the fall hanging lights in the park and sprucing up the festive light displays for the season.
Each evening, the park sparkles against the night sky with millions of glistening lights, all hung by volunteers and the “gang.” Christmas Wonderland warms the hearts and helps families and friends capture the holiday spirit. The Grandpa Gang doesn’t stop at simply decorating the park for the holiday lights festival. They also take time to give back to the community with a portion of the attraction’s seasonal revenue donated to local charities. Last year, admission proceeds were distributed to more than 40 nonprofit organizations.
Every night from through Dec. 28, visitors can turn off their headlights and let the holiday displays carry them through the magical scene of Christmas Wonderland. Even a few of Alton’s historical figures visit, including displays of Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man, placing the star on the Christmas tree and the legendary Piasa Bird carrying a bag of gifts for the kids.
To complete the magical scene, carriage rides will be available on Saturdays on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations can be made for carriage rides during the week. The cost of carriage rides is $30 for the first person and $5 for each additional. Reservations for carriage rides can be made by calling Black Tie Carriage Company and Kris Mooney at (217) 242-1104.
Have you been naughty or nice this year? Santa will be ready nightly to hear your Christmas wish list. Pictures with Santa are $5, or you can bring your own camera for a free photo.
For vehicles entering Christmas Wonderland, the suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. For more information on Christmas Wonderland, call (800) 258-6645 or go to www.VisitAlton.com/Wonderland.