Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Southern Lights holiday festival, presented by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., returns to the Kentucky Horse Park from November 22 to December 31. In addition to reaching a milestone two decades as a premier holiday event for Kentucky families, Southern Lights, produced by the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, has also achieved status as a leading holiday event in the region and nation. More than 27,000 cars and 115,000 individuals attend Southern Lights annually.
From 5:30 until 10:00 pm each evening, visitors will be awed by the majestic light displays against the winter landscape. The drive begins at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground, and will proceed through an enhanced dreamland of dazzling lighted and often animated figures. While many displays represent the holiday season, favorites are customized to represent the Bluegrass state.
This year’s displays include the Christmas Village, the 12 Days of Christmas, Keeneland Race Track, Show Jumping, Steeplechase and the Spires of Churchill Downs — comprised of thousands of twinkling lights. New this year will be several Wizard of Oz light displays featuring everyone’s favorite characters - Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, and the Wicked Witch.
After enjoying the drive, visitors will be able to leave their cars behind and visit inside the park to see a multitude of holiday happenings and seasonal entertainment. Enjoy shopping the Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop and holiday craft vendors. Bring the little ones to meet and have their picture taken with Santa Claus and Frosty. There will also be an exotic petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides and, new this year, an encounter with live reindeer. Catch a ride on the Mini Train Express as it goes chug-chug-chugging around the Man o’ War statue. Then be sure to stop by and see the model trains and antique dollhouses, visit the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate, and enjoy a festive dinner in the Bit & Bridle Restaurant.
The American Bus Association (ABA) selected Southern Lights as a Top 100 event for 2013 and 2014, which is an annual compendium of the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Winners are chosen from hundreds of celebrations, festivals, fairs, commemorative events, and more that have been nominated by ABA members. In addition, the Southeast Tourism Society has again selected Southern Lights a Top 20 Event among states across the southeast, and the Kentucky Travel Industry Association annually selects Southern Lights as a Top 10 Winter Event in Kentucky.
The Southern Lights Stroll, the only night the lights can be viewed on foot, is Thursday night, November 21. Featuring a competitive 5K race in addition to the leisurely stroll available to families, the Southern Lights Stroll is $15 for pre-registered adults ($20 walk-up) and includes a long-sleeved t-shirt for the first 500 registered; and $10 for pre-registered kids 7-12 ($15 walk-up) and includes a souvenir holiday item for the first 200 registered. Sponsored in part by John’s Run/Walk Shop, the event features race awards, prize drawings, refreshments, entertainment, the Mini Train Express and more. For more information about the Southern Lights Stroll, visit www.khpfoundation.org.
All proceeds support the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. The 2013 Shining Star Presenting Sponsor is Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.; the Holly & Ivy Sponsors are Kerr Brothers and Café Press, Inc.; and, the Ribbons & Bows Sponsor is KU.
For more information on Southern Lights, group admissions, and the Southern Lights Stroll registration, contact the KHP Foundation at (859) 255-5727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.SouthernLightsKy.org.
ADDITIONAL ATTRACTIONS -
Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop
Holiday Craft Fair
Pony Rides and Camel Rides ($)
Exotic Petting Zoo
Santa Claus with visits from Frosty and pictures with Santa, with Lexington Rotary Club ($)
Mini Train Express
Live Entertainment and Activities for Children
Bluegrass Railroad Club Model Trains
The Bluegrass Miniature Society Dollhouses
International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate
Bit & Bridle Restaurant, home of Santa’s Workshop
Dates & Times:
November 21, 2013 – Southern Lights Stroll- 5:00 pm registration, 6:45 pm stroll begins
November 22 - December 31, 2013 - 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm each evening
Driving tour only on Thanksgiving night, November 28, and December 24-31 (indoor closed)
Sunday – Thursday $15.00
Friday and Saturday $20.00
Extended Van $30.00
School Bus $75.00
Motor coach $125.00
NOTE: Complimentary Passes will be accepted Sunday – Thursday ONLY
Location & Parking:
Enter at KHP Campground entrance to drive through lights,
Park in Main Visitor Parking to go to additional attractions inside the park
Directions to the Kentucky Horse Park:
Please note that some electronic map services available on Apple and Android mobile and auto GPS devices are not providing accurate directions to the Kentucky Horse Park. We recommend that visitors use their home computers to access a mapping service for directions, use the directions provided on the KHP website, follow the Kentucky Department of Transportation’s brown highway signs or call ahead to double-check their route. Additionally, we recommend that out-of-town visitors use Interstate 75, Exit 115 (Newtown Pike) instead of Exit 120 (Georgetown Road) to access the Southern Lights entrance at the KHP Campground to help avoid congestion and a left-hand turn across traffic into the park.