Light shows make for safe entertainment

Photo by Renee Nieckula
Families take photos inside the multi-colored sphere at Brookfield Zoo.

 This winter, light shows will be more impactful than they ever have been because of quarantine. Now is the chance to get out of the house while getting in the holiday spirit!

  These light shows are different from the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. They are all unique in their own way to hopefully leave a lasting memory for the people that attend.

  The CDC recommends that the size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay six feet apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow health and safety regulations. This is an ideal scenario for people attending light shows, as people would be in a car most of the time.

  The Chicagoland area is great for light shows; some have even won awards on the TV show, “The Great Christmas Light Fight”.

  Lincoln Park Zoo offers an affordable light show at $5 for a family entry. Changes have been made to keep families safe such as lighter capacity, smaller groups, and closing animal buildings. 

  “Our family had stopped by as a part of a holiday trolley my family took around Chicago,” Joey Pileggi, junior,  said.  “I was amazed at the amount of lights that were there.”

  Pileggi says the one aspect he and his family remember the most would be “the icicle lights hanging down above them as they walked around.”

  While more expensive, Brookfield Zoo is also a top candidate for Christmas light shows. Their higher price, $21.95, is justified by more food options inside the park and more lights. 

  Patrick Kacena, junior, who last went three years ago, ran into a minor issue when he and his family attended. 

  “The big, main Christmas tree was not fully lit,” Kacena said. However, he and his family still had a good time because they all agreed they would go back because of the lights and animals. One key feature that stood out to his family was how some of the lights looked like animals.

  Straying from the Zoo’s, a closer option would be the Morten Arboretum. While being up to $23 per adult and up to $15 per child, some different opinions have been expressed whether the Arboretum is worth it or not. Ethan Whitney, junior, and his family are of the opinion that it is worth it.

  “The colors and the overall atmosphere of the whole thing was pretty cool,” Whitney said. “The Arboretum is great if you want to enjoy some time with your family and just relax and see something cool.”

  My family’s personal favorite light show is the Larsen light show. While about an hour away, the show and free cost make up for it. The house won The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2013. With over a million lights synced up to music, it is hard not to enjoy it. However, because the house is in the middle of nowhere, traffic can tend to be bad and backups have sometimes been up to three hours.

  While Covid is still a serious issue in the world, Christmas light shows are one form of entertainment that can be achieved by an entire family while staying safe from the pandemic.