Every year over the holidays, the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia plays host to the Symphony of Lights. This annual event transforms Symphony Woods, the forested area surrounding the pavilion, into a drive-through magical light show. When the event started several years ago we ventured out to see this new attraction that had received such hype. Since then the event has grown in size, and we decided it was high-time to go back and check out how the light show had changed and whether we still found it so beautiful the second time around.
From the moment our car passed under the lighted archways, we were taken into another world, and it was easy to forget that the busy mall parking lot was just on the other side of the trees. We were greeted by larger than life light displays featuring a toy factory, a gingerbread house, and even elves loading gifts into Santa’s sleigh. But, what’s great about the light show was that it was about more than just Christmas, as nursery rhyme characters, and winter wonderland creatures were all prominently displayed to welcome visitors. Our absolute favorite part of the Symphony of Lights was the part where you were taken to a land where the deer are stars. Not only were there baby deer frolicking about, but the whole forest was transformed with hanging lights and we felt like we were riding through curtains of bright stars. (Think Tavern on the Green, but taken to a whole new level.) It’s truly a beautiful and awe-inspiring section of the tour.
The Symphony of Lights was great because it provided a warm way to enjoy some holiday spirit, and was a truly spectacular electrical feat. Plus, the tour had grown in size over the years, and it now takes about 30 minutes to ride through the whole show. It can be pricey ($20 a tour) but you get charged per carload, so you can pack all your friends into your car and then split the cost to make it cheaper. (As an added bonus, all proceeds go to support the Howard County General Hospital’s Prenatal and Maternity Ward.)
While this event only runs from Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s, it truly is a gemstone attraction for the Columbia area. A truly breath-taking light show, all from the comfort (and warmth) of your car, is definitely a holiday tradition we can get behind. We can’t wait for next year’s display!