Things to Know: Southern Lights

For many central Kentucky residents, Southern Lights is an annual event. But others have heard about the Kentucky Horse Park Southern Lights holiday event and never attended because they don’t know what to expect. If you are in that latter group, then read on for details about how to prepare and why this should be on your December list this year.

This post includes affiliate links. Tickets were provided to facilitate this post.

Things to Know: Southern Lights

Southern Lights is located at the Kentucky Horsepark in Lexington, Kentucky. This annual celebration of the Christmas season is a fun experience for the whole family and a great way to enjoy over a million twinkling lights without leaving your vehicle.

Prepare to Wait in Line

It is important to remember that there are thousands of other families with the same plan. Southern Lights opens at 5:30 but you may not start your drive through the park right at that time. Everyone who visits has their idea of the best time to come. Some people think you should get in line at 5:00 so you can be ready to drive through exactly at 5:30. Others think you should wait a little while and get in line later on in the evening so you don’t have as many people.

Whatever time you choose to arrive, just be prepared to wait a few minutes in the car. So plan accordingly with your bathroom needs or how much you drink. The experience is absolutely worth the wait!

Open the Windows and turn on the Heat

We love looking at all the lights as we drive through the park, but sometimes it’s hard to see all of them if the windows are closed. So our solution to that is to open the windows, pile on a few blankets, and turn up the heat.

Play the Christmas Music

Southern Lights has a recommendation of which radio station you can listen to as you tour the park or you can crank up your personal favorites on your car radio or Spotify playlist. Whichever you choose, the lights just seem to be more fun when you are all singing out Jingle Bells or 12 Days of Christmas.

Park & Enjoy More Holiday Magic

After you wind through the Southern Lights display, make sure you park your car and enjoy the rest of the experience.

There are vendors where you can buy hot chocolate, snacks, and kettle corn plus amazing lights to walk around, in and through. Step inside the giant lit-up Christmas ornament, walk through the starry tunnel, or step inside the holiday Christmas frame.

Don’t miss the free petting zoo experience. From goats and sheep to alpacas, cows, and even camels, this petting zoo is a fun way to get up close to the animals. *You can buy food to feed them or just walk through and enjoy petting them without paying anything extra.

Make sure you take time to visit the model train exhibit brought to you by the Bluegrass Model Railroad Club of Lexington.

You can mail a letter to Santa and enjoy live music in the cafe.

A visit to Southern Lights is a full experience for the whole family and a definite must-see in the central Kentucky area.

Open times:

  • November 24-December 31, 2023 (Closed Christmas Day) from 5:30-10:00 pm.

Celebrating its 30th year at the Kentucky Horse Park, Southern Lights presented by Friends of Coal is a magical holiday tradition for thousands of families throughout the Bluegrass and beyond.  See over a million twinkling lights from the safety of your car.  Enjoy the return of the Holiday Village which promises to be brighter than ever!  Featuring photos with Santa, Animal Land, model trains, and so much more, the Southern Lights Holiday Village is sure to delight guests of all ages.

Kentucky Horse Park: Southern Lights

Have you visited Southern Lights this year? What is your favorite part of this local holiday tradition? I’d love to hear.

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