Atlanta Holiday Activities 2012: Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights

If you live in the Metro Atlanta area or are within driving distance of Georgia – I highly recommend that you make a trip out to Callaway Gardens during the holidays for their annual Fantasy in Lights event. This is truly one of the best ways to experience holiday lights and celebrate the season – it was even named one of the “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights” by National Geographic Traveler. Fantasy in Lights features 8 million lights stretching more than five miles, creating 15 larger-than-life holiday scenes.



We visited last year and already have reservations set for this year as well. We LOVE it and expect that it will be a Jolly Family Tradition for years to come! Speaking of Jolly…Visitors experience the light and sound extravaganza on the “Jolly Trolley” or by driving through the lighted scenes in their personal vehicle. The “Jolly Trolley” is the way to go though! The sparkling, animated displays include Snowflake Valley, a winter wonderland filled with enormous snowflakes and thousands of white lights; Magical Christmas Garden with a 24-foot wreath entrance; and Santa’s Workshop, showcasing animated versions of Santa’s elves busy making toys for the big night. Two “don’t miss” scenes are on Robin Lake Beach and are both narrated: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Nativity. Each lasts approximately 10 minutes. All of the scenes are BEAUTIFUL.

Once you’re done seeing the lights, you have to head to the Christmas Village, a 22,000-square-foot indoor, heated area. Guess who is there? Well, Santa of course! You are welcome to take your own pictures, which is a big savings compared to other places. There is also plenty of shopping to be done too – there are unique gifts, nostalgic toys, and a variety of Georgia artisans selling their goods. There are a couple of new activities in 2012 that we’re looking forward to!



New for 2012
Children can partner with an adult family member to join “Storytelling with Mrs. Claus,” where guests can listen to Christmas stories, decorate cupcakes and more, or “Build a Natural Birdfeeder,” with some of Santa’s elves. These activities are available on Saturdays at 3 p.m. from November 24 through December 23.

You can visit Callaway for the day and see the lights OR stay overnight, which is honestly the best choice! It is such an affordable stay! Packages start as low as $99* per night in the Mountain Creek Inn and include:

• Fantasy In Lights admission
• Accommodations
• Special Jolly Trolley loading area dedicated for overnight guests
• Admission to the world-class Gardens and its many attractions including the Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, Callaway Discovery Center, live Birds of Prey Shows, seven miles of nature trails and our 10-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus. To experience nature at its finest, call 1-800-CALLAWAY or visit

*A discounted accommodations rate was provided. However, all opinions are my own.

Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens: Affordable and Spectacular Holiday Getaway for Families

If you live in the Southeast and are within driving distance of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia–you must visit them this holiday season! Their Fantasy in Lights holiday light and sound show is truly spectacular and…magical. Starting at $99, you can take your family of four to the beautiful Callaway Gardens, stay at the Inn overnight, see the Fantasy in Lights show, walk through the Christmas Village, get pictures with Santa, and enjoy the gardens and all it has to offer (featuring the Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, Callaway Discovery Center, live Birds of Prey Shows, seven miles of nature trails and their 10-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail). For $99 per night. $99. A family of four.



You don’t have to pay extra to see the light show. You don’t have to pay extra for your kids to sit with Santa and tell him their wish list. You can even take your own pictures like we did below…



Amazing, right?! In addition, veterans, active, and retired military get a special rate of $69 per night. Even more amazing. 

The most spectacular thing of all though is the light show. It features over a dozen lighed scenes and more than eight million twinkling lights. By scenes–I mean moving scenes. Toy soldiers that appear to march. Frogs that hop onto a lily pad. Elves building toys. Then, there’s Snowflake Valley, which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful, most stunning things that I have ever seen. A truly amazing light show unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. You can either see the light show from your own car or even better, hop on the open air trolley! Bring some blankets, grab a cup of cocoa, and enjoy the beautiful lights, sounds, and Christmas carols. 


For more information, please visit



Thanks to Callaway Gardens for providing my family and I with complimentary tickets to Fantasy in Lights and an overnight stay.

Celebrate the Fall at the Harvest Moon Festival

After this Summer’s FABULOUS Family Summer Adventure, we have become HUGE fans of Callaway Gardens! The place is so beautiful and offers so much for families to do throughout the year. For instance, this year they are kicking off the Fall with their first ever annual Harvest Moon Festival. This isn’t your typical “Fall festival”. This is the festival of all festivals.



The Callaway Gardens Harvest Moon Festival is a food and music extravaganza like no other! The four-day festival is a celebration of the harvest and of man and nature’s fruitful coexistence, combining farm-to-table foods, eco-centric vendors, cooking and gardening demonstrations, fun and educational activities for children, and of course, this unprecedented lineup of big-name bands. This family-friendly music festival October 6-9, 2011, features musical performances from The B-52s, The Gin Blossoms and John Hiatt, and multiple Grammy-winning Shawn Colvin and also includes Celebrity chef Claire Robinson, host of the Food Network’s popular “5 Ingredient Fix.” 

The Thursday evening Harvest Feast ($62 per person) will feature a cooking demonstration by Claire Robinson, followed by a double-bill of Atlanta musician Nic Cowan and popular recording artist Joe Purdy. Friday boasts some big names with The B-52s, Shawn Colvin, Parachute, Dread Clampitt and Allgood among the acts scheduled to appear. Saturday showcases the bulk of the musical lineup, with the Gin Blossoms, John Hiatt, Shawn Mullins, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Mat Kearney among the biggest names to appear on the festival’s two stages.


Tickets are $79 for advance weekend passes and Gate price during the event will be $85. For tickets, information and the complete list of confirmed acts, visit