Holiday Fun in Ohio

Say 'hi' to the holidays in Ohio! The holiday season is the perfect time to escape the cold weather through the warmth of family, friends and neighbors. Watch your kids enjoy the holidays at Ohio's zoos, which all offer unique festive events! See countless light displays, all over Ohio, that will leave you standing in awe and filled with holiday cheer. If you prefer to have a warmer, indoor experience, hop aboard the Polar Express railroad in Peninsula, Ohio, or see massive train displays in Cincinnati.

  • Holiday Lights at Ohio Zoos: The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, home to more than 5,000 animals, hosts Wildlights, a family-oriented holiday festival featuring live music, vibrant light displays, train and sleigh rides, and Santa Clause. In 2009, it was named the No. 1 Zoo in America by USA Travel Guide. The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden promises to be more colorful than ever before with nearly 2 million lights! The zoo is divided into holiday-themed areas, including the Candy Cane Forest and Twinkle Trail. An interactive map is available online. Experience the warmth of the tropics or an invigorating chill at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's December Days. The whole family can participate in various animal programs, Christmas music, cookie decorating and more. And don't miss other great holiday events happening at the Toledo Zoo and Akron Zoo this season!
  • Spend Holidays in the Villages: Put away your cell phone and trade your fast-paced life for a relaxing holiday experience at Ohio's historic villages, which each feature unique ways of spreading holiday cheer! One of the most popular holiday traditions in Ohio isDickens Victorian Village in Cambridge. Stroll amidst 185 lifelike figures representing classic scenes from Victorian society. The courthouse comes alive nightly with thousands of pulsating lights synchronized to holiday and Christmas music each evening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Continue the old-time holiday feel with a Holiday Lantern Tour of Hale Farm & Village, near Cleveland. Gain insight into holiday celebrations during the Civil War-era while touring "homes" around the historic village. Holiday Lantern Tours also are offered atHistoric Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio.
  • Trains, Trains, Trains: Calling all conductors! You and your family can journey to the North Pole and back on board the Polar Express on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The award-winning book comes to life on this magical experience. Passengers will enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as elves read the story to you on the way to the North Pole to pick up Santa! Have just as much fun with trains on a smaller scale in Cincinnati, Ohio.EnterTRAINment Junction, the World's Largest Indoor Train Display, offers beautiful winter train displays that are free to the public. The Cincinnati Museum Center will have a four-level, multi-model-train layout in the popular museum.
  • Legendary Lights at Clifton Mill: You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger and more spectacular holiday light display in Ohio, or the world for that matter, than at Clifton Mill. Aptly called the Legendary Lights at Clifton Mill, more than 3.5 million lights illuminate the 200-plus-year-old historic mill, gorge and bridges. There is even a 100-foot "waterfall" of twinkling Christmas lights. There is a Miniature Village and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge. Built in 1802, historic Clifton Mill sits on the cliffs of the Little Miami River gorge in Greene County. The mill and its restaurant are open daily year round. Celebrate Christmas and the entire holiday season!