In places with plenty of freestanding houses, yards and subdivisions -- in other words, cities like St. Louis -- a beloved holiday tradition is driving around and checking out the light displays. The problem with this activity is that some people go all out, and others, not so much. So, for every spectacular display with music-synchronized lights, lawn blowups and decorated trees, there's a hundred less-than-stellar presentations. Plus, there's the added complication of lauded light shows disappearing after years of delighting St. Louisans young and old. Maybe the families have moved, maybe the exhibitions got to be too much work -- whatever the reason, discovering dazzling decorations that have been extinguished can really put a damper on holiday spirits. To avoid this kind of disappointment, look no further than Santa's Magical Kingdom
in Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park (off I-44's exit 261 at Six Flags and Fox Creek roads, Eureka; 636-938-5925 or www.santasmagicalkingdom.com
). Every year, without fail, the elves put together a colorful display throughout the park that can be enjoyed from the warmth of your car or aboard a wagon. SMK, as it's known to regulars, is open nightly from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Sunday, January 8. Admission costs $19 per vehicle, and wagon rides cost $12 per person.
Dec. 1-Jan. 8, 2011