Are the kids out of school now, Smarties? Are you looking for things to do to fuel the excitement as they count down the days until Christmas? The Light the Knights Festival is the perfect family outing! Now in its third year in uptown Charlotte at Truist Field, picturesque home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights baseball team, organizers have upped the ante by adding a snow tubing hill and an ice skating rink! We had a blast there last year, even without the exciting new attractions. This year they just gave us all the more reason to go!
Two of our boys, ages 5 and 6, couldn’t wait to try the snow tubing hill and it was a great way for Mom and Dad to get them a taste of it without having to commit to a trip to the N.C. mountains!! Even one of my 5-year-old twins who was scared to go down a similar-sized hill on an innertube at a water slide, had no problem teaming up with his older brother to go up to the tubing hill and come flying down with a smile on his face, and nary a tear. His mom and favorite aunt had to give it a go too, and the adrenaline rush made us feel like kids again (without being so jarring you wondered what you’d gotten yourself into!)
Our boys decided to forego ice skating this year but we all enjoyed watching the skaters in action, and it’s nice to know we’ll have a visual of it to picture next year when our boys might be ready to give it a go.
The attractions require an additional pass on top of the regular entrance fee, and the Knights are recommending that you buy activity passes in advance to guarantee a spot for both tubing and ice skating. They’ve been popular attractions this holiday season and I can see why!
Even if you can’t get tickets for the attractions, or you’re trying to stay on a strict family budget, the holiday lights walk through and Christmas village are great events in and of themselves! The lights and decorations are festive, beautiful and super accessible for little kids to enjoy and be photographed with – even your most reluctant little models! And for parents, one of the nicest perks of the event is how easy it is to feed your kids. We got to the stadium by 4:30 or 5 p.m., took a run down the tubing hill, a jaunt through some of the lights and were eating concession stand favorites like hotdogs and chicken fingers as the sun went down and all the lights started really popping. Having regular stadium concessions available, without having to rely on the unpredictability of food trucks, is great. Plus it also means Mom and Dad can get an adult beverage to sip on as you stroll. Win-win!
The lights walk-through and Christmas village get you in such a festive mood, and it helps take care of some of the “business” of Christmas too – like sending letters to Santa, taking a family photo in the falling “snow” or with Santa, and buying personalized Christmas ornaments for grandmother.
I feel like we are so lucky in Charlotte to have such great options to see Christmas lights, and the Light the Knights Festival is at the top of the list! Here are four of our Smarty Favorite Christmas Lights Shows of 2022:
Light the Knights Festival
Where: Truist Field 324 S Mint St.
When: Now through Jan. 6
Cost: $35 for all-access pass, including snow tubing, ice skating and holiday experience and Christmas village, $25 for ice skating OR snow tubing, plus holiday experience and Christmas village, $10 for holiday experience and Christmas village.
Holidays at the Garden
Where: Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens at 6500 South New Hope Road in Belmont.
When: Now through Sat., Dec. 31, 5-9 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Cost: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 60 and up, $10 for children ages 2-12, free for children under 2.
Carolina Holiday Light Spectacular
Where: Ballantyne’s Backyard, 11611 N Community House Rd
When: Dec. 15-31, 5-10 p.m.
Cost: General admission is $15 Monday – Thursday and $20 Friday -Sunday. Children 2 and under are free.
Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Parkway, Concord.
When: Now through Jan. 8, 6-10 p.m. Closed on Christmas Eve.
Cost: $40 per car, van or truck with maximum of 15 passengers through Christmas Day, $30 after Christmas.