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Blazing Trails

Written by , published December 22, 2008

Spent a delightful evening last Friday at the Trail of Lights in Austin's Zilker Park. Our group (which ranged in age from five to 75) wandered mesmerized through the extravaganza of illuminated holiday displays (think canopies of radiating trees, character scenes from Snoopy to SpongeBob, and a gleaming Nativity). The brilliant scene could beam the Bah! Humbug! from old Ebenezer himself.

Zilker Park Tree of Lights (Austin)

We ended the evening with our traditional, dizzying spin under the 155-foot Zilker tree. On the list for next time is a night ride on the Zilker mini-train, which becomes a Polar Express of sorts as it winds along the blazing trail. Hurry—the Trail ends Dec. 23 (of course, next year's event will be here before you know it). Quick tips: Go early and be prepared for crowds; the Capital Metro shuttle at Waterloo Park to and from the event is quite efficient.

For those near Belton this season, there's more time to catch Fort Hood's Nature in Lights, at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area, which extends into early January (Jan. 4, 2009). The five-mile-plus, drive-through trail winds past more than 100 themed displays (the dancing reindeer and Santa on a motorcycle were my kid's favorites), with lovely Lake Belton as a backdrop. Make a stop midway at Santa's Village for cocoa, crafts-shopping, and photos with the jolly one. At trail's end, the whirling tunnel of lights sent us home with woozy smiles. There's just something about a dizzying finale.

Where have you found lights fantastic this season?

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