Another holiday season is upon us, and that means the return of the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay. For 32 years, this one-of-a-kind light show has dazzled the Wheeling community and visitors from far and wide. This year brings some exciting additions for guests to enjoy.
The Festival of Lights encompasses over 300 acres of twinkling light displays stretching along a six-mile drive. With the addition of two new displays this year, there are 89 light attractions throughout the park. One new display is a color-changing chameleon located near Schenk Lake. The second new display is the 24-foot-tall Kaleidoscope Christmas Tree powered by American Electric Power Foundation. This 1800-light display features animated snowflakes and gingerbread men dancing up and down the magical tree. The Festival of Lights driving tour is free of charge, though a donation is encouraged. Guest donations are reinvested into the park and the Winter Festival of Lights.
Trolley tours are offered daily during Festival of Lights. Tours depart hourly from Wilson Lodge during the hours of 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The ticket price Sunday through Thursday is $11 per person, while the price on Friday and Saturday is $12, plus tax and fees. Tickets can be purchased up to seven days in advance by calling 304-243-4100.
Festival of Lights is also a great holiday shopping destination. The Christmas Shop is a winter wonderland filled with unique décor, ornaments, and gifts. This seasonal shop is located at Christmas at Crispin, across from Crispin Center. The shop opens on Nov. 10 and will remain open until Jan. 1, 2018. The hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The Christmas at Crispin Attraction also features holiday train rides for kids, family wagon rides and straw mazes for tykes and teens. This area of the park will also feature a live Christmas tree sale from Dec. 1 – 23.
Oglebay’s other retail shops will also offer great gift options. The Resort Shop located inside Wilson Lodge offers resort wear, Oglebay merchandise and unique gifts. The West Spa Boutique has an array of bath and skin care products, plus spa gift cards. At the Hilltop, Farmhouse Sweets & Treats Shoppe offers specialty chocolates and candy, regionally produced food and custom gift baskets. Carriage House Glass, Palm Room and Wheeling Civic Garden Center Gift Shop will all offer season items and gifts.
While visiting the Winter Festival of Lights, guests can choose from a variety of dining options. The nightly dinner buffet at Ihlenfeld Dining Room in Wilson Lodge begins Nov. 10. The cost is $29.95 for adults and $10.95 for kids 5-12. Kids under four dine for free. Wilson Lodge also offers a casual dining option at Glassworks Grill, and Speidel Golf Club offers seasonal hours.
There are also several special dining options during the holiday season. Ihlenfeld Dining Room will offer a Thanksgiving Buffet, as well as a Christmas Buffet. The cost is $34.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids 5-12. In December, Breakfast with Santa will take place each Saturday leading up to Christmas. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m., and reservations are required. The cost is $18.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids 5-12. Children under four are $3.95 each. Guest may add a photograph with Santa for an additional $5. Reservations can be made by calling 304-243-4090.
New this year is Feast with the Beasts at Oglebay Good Zoo. This new experience offers a family-friendly atmosphere and an alternating menu of pizza, pasta and tacos. The hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 24 to Dec. 30. The cost for adults is $10, while kids 5-12 are $5 and children under four eat free. There is also a family special offering four dinners for just $25. Reservations are suggested for larger parties. For more information, call 304-243-4100.
Festival of Lights also boasts a full schedule of nightly entertainment. The Nightly Cordial Gathering in Hickman Lounge at Wilson Lodge takes place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night during Festival of Lights, offering complimentary live music and refreshments. Entertainment is also offered nightly on the Good Zoo patio. This Light and Music Extravaganza features over 35,000 LED lights choreographed to favorite holiday songs. The Good Zoo is also home to Santa’s Reindeer Training School. This new attraction offers 30-minute group encounters with real reindeer. Group encounters are available daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. for a cost of $65 for groups of six or less. Appointments can be made by calling 304-243-4100. Walk-in appointments are also offered at the Good Zoo office, based on availability. Guests are also encouraged stick around for zebra s’mores from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.