Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Season of Joy

Posted 12/04/2015 by Jordan Prochnow

The Blossoms of Light at Botanic Gardens. Photo courtesy of Botanic Gardens.

Fun holiday events get Denver citizens excited for the holidays.

The holiday season in Denver offers many fun and family-friendly events in the months ahead. While the days might be longer, citizens of Denver have more time to experience the beautiful light displays and activities occurring nightly.

To start off the holiday season, ice skating began on November 15th at the Southwest Rink in Skyline Park, located immediately behind the Daniels and Fisher Tower (more commonly referred to as the 16th Street Mall clock tower). Ice skates are $2 per pair for rentals, but skating is otherwise free. “Going ice skating downtown is a fun experience for the holiday season in Denver because it’s really inexpensive and when you’re on the rink you’re surrounded by brightness,” said junior De’Janay Smith. “It really adds to the uplifting holiday atmosphere.”

On select nights, there will be live entertainment, and skaters can stop in at the Denver Christkindl Market, where Christmas-themed goods can be purchased. Additionally, the City and County building in downtown Denver had a grand lighting ceremony on Friday, November 27th. The lights will turned on in multiple locations as well, including Denver Pavilions, Union Station, Larimer Square, and various buildings along 16th Street Mall. The City and County lights will shine until December 31st in anticipation of the new year, and people can enjoy the 16th Street Mall fireworks display that evening. The firework shows will occur at 9:00 p.m. and midnight, complete with entertainers such as mascots, balloon artists, and magicians.

The 41st annual Parade of Lights, two nights filled with floats and live bands, featured several students from TJ. These students performed on December 4th and 5th with the Denver Citywide Marching Band, a highly selective program. “[The parade] is one of the biggest celebrations in Colorado,” said senior Cassidy Cobb, who played clarinet in the parade. “It’s very fun and exciting to be a part of it.”

Blossoms of Light, hosted by Denver’s Botanic Gardens (located at 10th and York Street),  runs until January 2nd. Each night, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., guests will be able to witness thousands of twinkling lights hung on or around the many different plants in the gardens. HoloSpex glasses are available for purchase as well, which enhance the lights, literally, in the viewer’s eyes by creating different shapes such as candy canes, snowflakes, or stars. “Blossoms of Light is a wonderful annual tradition at the Gardens,” said Erika Bird, Communications Manager at Botanic Gardens. “The event is fun for all ages and is a great opportunity to spend time outdoors during Denver’s festive holiday season.” The gardens also will offer hot drinks and holiday snacks, including hot cocoa, warm apple cider, and cinnamon-roasted almonds. “[The event] only happens once a year,” explained junior Lauren Lillien. “It’s something different and it’s a great way to spend time with loved ones.”

Coupled with Blossoms of Light, Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms will showcase their yearly exhibition Trail of Lights located at C-470 and Wadsworth. This year, the gardens are offering two paths: one that leads directly to the children’s play area and an extended path that allows guests to explore the Green Farm barn and silo before arriving at the children’s area or 1880s homestead. As an alternative to walking, visitors can opt for a hayride instead, offering them a new and festive perspective. To the relief of chilly guests, a warming hut and fire pit are available, as are hot drinks. Kids can meet Santa up until December 20, when he returns to the North Pole to prepare for Christmas.

A holiday favorite in Denver that always proves to be a wild experience is none other than Zoo Lights, an annual display at the Denver Zoo. From December 4th to January 3rd, visitors will experience both animated and stationary lights, including swinging monkeys, roaring lions, and leaping frogs. This year, the exhibition will be nearly doubled in size, spanning 70 acres of land. The 24th annual Zoo Lights will feature nightly entertainment, animal encounters, and visits with Santa. “We are so excited to be approaching this year’s Zoo Lights, which is always one of our most anticipated events,” said Scott Camp, a Public Relations specialist at the Denver Zoo. “It’s a fun way for friends, family and colleagues to celebrate the holidays and kick off the New Year.”

The holiday season in Denver is sure to be a bright one with all of these fun events. Grab some earmuffs and hot cocoa, and enjoy the sights and wonders of wintertime!

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