The Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights, begun in 1985, has grown into the nation's largest holiday light show, attracting more than a million visitors per year, including 3,000 tour buses from more than 36 states. The show has even been given the distinction of being listed in the American Bus Association's Top 100 International Events. The Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights covers more than three hundred acres over a six mile drive throughout the Oglebay resort. More than seventy displays and over one million lights spread over 300 acres are featured in this celebration.
Original display favorites in the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights include the animated Snowflake Tunnel, a Candy Cane Wreath, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the massive Polyhedron Star, and Willard the Snowman, named for the TV weatherman Willard Scott who 'turned on' the lights in 1986. Directional Snoopys help guide visitors through the 6-mile tour. New displays for 2012 include a Leaping Frog display, an amusement park themed Strong Man display added next to the Ferris Wheel and Carousel, and an animated Volcano added to the popular Dinosaur Dell display. The entire Winter Festival of Lights has also been fully converted to energy-efficient, brillant LED.
After driving through the six-mile display, be sure to check out the life-size Nativity scene and its surrounding Christmas Tree Garden, as well as the elaborate holiday decorations at the Mansion Museum and Wilson Lodge.
The Good Zoo Lights up for You!:
An exciting light and music show at the Good Zoo at Oglebay runs every 20 minutes from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with 35,500 lights choreographed to holiday music from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. More zoo fun includes Holiday Laser Shows at the Benedum Theater, Model Train Displays and live reindeer! Admission to the Zoo is $8.00 for adults and $5.50 for children (ages 3-12).
Gardens of Light:
The hilltop and gardens area of Oglebay Resort are beautiful, even in winter, with 150 hanging baskets of light, plus thousands of lighted flowers and trees between the Visitors' Center, Gift Shops and Mansion Museum.
Oglebay Resort & Conference Center, Wheeling, WV
November 9, 2012 - January 6, 2013, Sunday through Thursday dusk to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11:00 p.m.
There is no admission charge for the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights, but donations are appreciated. A one-time donation per carload is valid for the entire festival season; vistors making a $20.00 donation will receive a DVD of the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights and Oglebay story. Trolley tours are also offered from Wilson Lodge, first come, first-served for $10 per seat.
Oglebay, and the Winter Festival of Lights, is located 4 miles from I-70 at Exit 2A. It is 60 miles from Pittsburgh via I-79 south and I-70 west; 120 miles from Columbus via I-70 east; and 150 miles from Cleveland via I-77 south and I-70 east. See location
for further directions.
The Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Wilson Lodge offers a popular holiday buffet nightly and the seven specialty shops at Oglebay are stocked with unique gifts. Downtown Wheeling also gets into the holiday spirit with dozens of homes, shops and business establishments ablaze in holiday lights.
Weekends at the Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights are so popular that you should expect to sit in line for up to 2 hours waiting to get in. Most people say it's worth it, however!