One of the many joys around Christmas time is spreading holiday cheer! When one of our readers mentioned Tampa’s Nights of Shimmering Lights, we couldn’t resist the thought of another great family adventure. Tampa is a pretty far drive for us, so we asked if our reader would be interested in doing some on site reporting for us. Luckily he took us up on the offer and was pleased to report that his entire family had a great time! Special thanks to the Jones family for not only telling us about this great event, but also taking the time to share some of their new family memories with us.
So what exactly is “Nights of Shimmering Lights”? It’s a great family entertainment value located at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds around this time of year. Now in its 3rd year, Nights of Shimmering Lights is getting better and better! The year features not only a lengthy lighted drive through topping out at over a mile of light displays, but Christmas Village is an experience like no other!
Created by two Hillsborough County residents, Nights of Shimmering Lights allows drivers to go through over 750 lighted tunnels, view unbelievable animated LED light displays, but the best part is, you don’t even need to leave your car. Journey through many themed areas including an “Under The Sea” tunnel complete with all your kiddo’s underwater friends. Many of the displays are animated and actually go over the driving path.
Of course your visit to Nights of Shimmering Lights won’t be complete without a walk through Christmas Village to enjoy some great refreshments and even more entertainment. Complete with fresh hot mini-doughnuts, hot cocoa and more, you can experience local craft vendors with a variety of wares or enjoy a Christmas themed movie on a large outdoor projection screen. If you have a few minutes, you can also take photos with Mr. Clause himself! In addition you may want to purchase special 3D glasses that really help intensify the light displays. For a few dollars you can even take you family on the “Christmas Express” which is an off road light experience that you can’t see via the regular route. This train of sorts will take you through even more light displays. The gentleman driving the train when our reviewers visited was a very friendly person and took care to drive through the displays safely, but be forewarned you will want to really hold on to wiggling kids. There are no restrains on the train cars.
Remember as you are drink through the Nights of Shimmering Lights, the focus is mainly on the light displays. You will want to be careful while driving as all cars are instructed to drive with their headlights off. Take extra special care when exiting the vehicle in the paring area for Christmas Village as well. Don’t worry, if you missed something you can always take another lap around the loop! That’s right you can go around as many times as you want. The Jones family reports that it can take around 45 minutes or so to do the entire loop so it’s a great way to spend time with the family. In fact they are looking forward to returning again next year. In addition, the venue is perfectly suited, as they report it’s only a 10-15 minute drive east of I-75 to get to the fair grounds. You may also want to checkout their Facebook page below to make sure they are opened in the event of inclement weather. If you want to avoid crowds, you may want to attend during a weeknight. It will also save you $5!
While doing research on Nights of Shimmering Lights, something that really stood out to me was the field of deer and forest of trees. The general public is invited each year to bring a light up tree or deer to be placed in the field to honor a loved one. There are a few requirements, but thought this was a nice touch that locals may want to do for next year’s event. Be sure to take a look around our media gallery to see many of the photos courtesy of the Jones family. Remember light displays are very difficult to photograph and don’t really do this event justice!
Want to win FREE tickets to Nights of Shimmering Lights? Be sure to enter our FREE drawing below! Any Facebook ban of FrugalFloridaFun.com or twitter follower can register to win below!
Nights of Shimmering Lights Details:
Dates: 11/30 – 12/29
Sunday – Thursday 6pm to 9pm $15 per car
Friday & Saturday 6p, to 10pm $20 per car
Be sure to check their Facebook page in the event of inclement weather.
Address: 215 Sydney Washer Rd Dover, Fl