** This year (2016) everyone gets into Candlelight Christmas for $5. That is such a great deal since last time we went we felt it was a little pricey, so we are excited for the $5 price.
This is the Place Heritage Park hosts a fun Christmas event every year called Candlelight Christmas. This is one of our favorite state parks to visit because they always have a lot of fun activities for the children to learn about life as a pioneer. Candlelight Christmas is no different. You step back in time and celebrate Christmas pioneer style, and it is definitely worth visiting.
The old pine church was showing a Christmas movie.
This park has historic buildings from the days of the Utah pioneers, and at Christmas time they are all decorated for the holidays. Certain buildings are set up with Christmas activities that are authentic to pioneer days. Some of the activities are interactive like pioneer dancing, or making a craft. Others are more informational where you learn about the time period or watch them print a Christmas card in the print shop.
We listened to Christmas books in one of the pioneer homes.
There were freshly printed Christmas Cards for a quarter each.
Our boys enjoyed learning about leather work.
At the hospital, we made a craft. That’s Dad’s beeswax candle in front. The boys are working on a reindeer made from cork.
We stopped and listened to the carolers and their beautiful harmonies more than once.
The train shuttle is up and running so you can ride around the village and see a few Christmas lights. We like to ride the train to the top of the village by the hotel, and then walk down main street and pop in and out of the different buildings. When you check in at the Visitor’s Center, they do give you a map that shows where all the activities are located. There is also a wagon ride which is a ton of fun, and definitely puts you in the pioneer spirit.
Ride the train up to the bank and walk downhill.
We took a wagon ride for free.
The barn area is converted into a live Nativity. There are a few pictures with signs, and scriptures, as well as small areas set up to represent the shepherds and wise men. As you climb up to the barn, you will see the star lighting the way to see baby Jesus. Inside the barn, you will find the little family, as well as some animals. Please remember to maintain a spirit of reverence as you approach this area.
Signs tell the story of the Nativity as you approach the stable.
We loved following the star to see baby Jesus.
We had a quiet moment with Mary and Joseph and their tiny (and very real) baby.
“Father Christmas” (don’t say Santa Claus) is part of Candlelight Christmas. He has a special place on the 2nd floor of the Visitor’s Center, and we stopped to see him on our way out the door, but you could easily stop and see him when you first arrive. The boys each got a candy cane, and a few minutes to visit with Father Christmas. You can take as many photos as you’d like for free.
We love all the activities at Candlelight Christmas, but here are a few of our favorites. One of our favorite activities was writing letters to Father Christmas. After we wrote our letters, we burned them in the fire so that the smoke could take them away to the North Pole. Another favorite activity was the pioneer dancing. All three of our boys said that was their favorite part of the night. Mom and Dad wished that we still danced like the pioneers with memorized steps and interaction with others. This was definitely the highlight of our trip.
The boys were mostly okay with writing a letter and lighting it on fire.
The smoke is carried all the way to the North Pole.
The dancing in the old schoolhouse was our favorite.
We arrived around 6:40 due to traffic, and we stayed until they closed at 9:00 pm, but we still did not make it to all the activities. If you are planning on going make sure to arrive as close to 6:00 pm as you can so that you can enjoy all the fun. We felt like this event was worth the money since there was SO much to do. And make sure to dress for the weather because a lot of these activities are outside, and you will be walking around the village all night. We were all bundled up for this adventure.
Candlelight Christmas runs from Dec. 9-Dec. 23, 2016 and it is open from 6-9 pm every night except Sunday. You can find more information on their site.
These trees light the way.