Having a cool new light display that has a drive thru feature & an area for kids to get out to play afterwards (and grab a bite to eat) is a cool new thing for the valley this year. Even better is that Illumination Symphony of Light starts November 15th and goes until January 14th, 2018. It also is conveniently located off of I17 (Jomax and I17). If you are coming from the 303, you will pass some of it and you can see it from the highway.
Getting there: It's a little tricky if you are coming from the North like I was. If you have an older GPS, you might not be able to find it easily as the address is a dirty lot turned Light Show. If you are coming from the North or South (I17), you will exit on Jomax road. If you are coming from the south, you will just stay straight at the off ramp on Jomax onto the Frontage road/North Black Canyon Highway) that goes parallel to I17. If you are coming from the north, you will cross over the bridge and take a left as if you are going to get back on the highway going north, but you will stay to your right. There are LOTS of signs and cones up explaining to stay to the right.
Don't go through Norterra like I did hoping to find a shortcut. There isn't one.
Gates are closed right at the roadway, so expect some back up until gates open. You then will be directed into 4-5 different lines of cars where you will show your printed out pass, phone or pay.
If you buy online, you will save quite a bit of money (29.50 vs 35.00 for a regular vehicle). Limos and buses have an additional cost.
Team members will come up to your car and scan your tickets or have you pay, so no need to get out of the car. There is also an "emergency" lane on the right hand side, but I believe this is for emergency vehicles, not kids who might need to pee.
Plan wisely on the bathroom visits as there are no bathrooms until the end of the drive-which takes about 20 minutes to go through.
Once again, use the bathroom before you get in line. The line will probably get long! Who wants to listen/watch a synchronized light show while listening to a kid complain the have to pee? Or an adult complaining they have to pee (Yea, that would be me!!)
Driving in you will see some lights. The crew will tell you where you need to go and where you need to wait, and direct the traffic. Be wary, there will be five lanes converging back into one lane to get through the light snow. You will turn off your headlights and drive through the show. The lights are bright enough that you will see where to go. My lights on my car do not go all the way off as they have daytime running lights, but they dim on the outside. The staff won't get mad if your car doesn't go all the way off. Because of the "s" shapes that you will be making, if you had your lights on, it would destroy the beauty of the show and get in other drivers' eyes.
You do not get out of your car until the very end (past the lit nutcrackers). There will be staff members throughout the drive through display making sure everyone is staying on course, and especially right at the lit nutcracker area. I turned my headlights on when I got to the nutcrackers. You will want to do the same as there is a parking lot to get into the Holiday Boulevard. A few people did not, but I highly suggest it as people will be walking throughout the parking lot and the parking lot is lit, but not as bright as the drive through display.
The Holiday Boulevard is a festive area with carolers, jumpy houses that are brightly lit from above, food, Santa and fun
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There was a snack stand (hot dogs, pretzels, cotton candy) , a food truck with Pitas and sandwiches and another stand that had lobster mac and cheese and a few other things. There was also a desert stand with yummy cupcakes. There was a crafting area where you could color a bag, but we didn't get a chance, as well as seeing Santa Claus and getting a picture, a Post Office where you can decorate a Flat Rate box to send items to Military, a Characature area, a place to buy tickets to shows in the area and a glow stand.
The jumpy houses and food, along with many of the crafts, glow sticks and Santa pictures do have an extra cost. Many of the prices weren't overtly available because we went on the preview night. The Jumpy houses are gated off and there is section for 4 and under and over 4.
My Dino Loving guy was disappointed he was too big for this jumpy, but told me ALL about what kind of dinosaur this was (or that he thought it was!)
This looked like a big Gingerbread house, but I'm not exactly sure what it was! There were lights projected onto it, so it looked kind of cool!
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And of course a picture with Santa. Santa was very kind and understood that little brother and little sister weren't feeling good and gave Munchie and extra hug.
Some other things you need to know-you can't really see much of the show from the highway passing by. Tractor trailers are blocking a good deal of it, so you may see some but you won't get the full effect. I'm sure that blocking it also has the purpose of keeping people from parking on the highway or being distracted.
You will want to turn your radio to 87.9 FM to hear the music that is synchronized to the lights. Not all the music is Christmas. We actually heard Desposito as well !
Leaving the parking lot to get back home was a bit tricky. So, if you go back to the handy dandy map
You can't get back onto I17 Northbound easily. Following North Black Canyon Highway/Frontage rd gets you to go back to I17 Southbound. I thought maybe, just maybe, Frontage rd would keep going parallel to I17, but it does not. It actually takes a sharp westbound turn into Dixleta Dr and takes you to the dump. Not knowing if this was going to take me anywhere close to where I needed to be (Dark, windy roads that I don't know in the dark do not make me happy), I did a u-ey, and headed to I17 south. Which meant I had to go back towards Illumination, get back off at Jomax and then back onto I17 north to 303 Loop S/W. If anyone has a better way to get back to 303, I would highly appreciate it. It looks like Dixleta might go to North Valley Parkway to bring you back to I17 past the 303 interchange. I don't know, it just was not the easiest to get back home!
Illumination Symphony of Light was a LOT of fun. Be prepared for
27701 N Black Canyon Highway