The Albuquerque River of Lights continues to bring wonder to the hearts of adults and children alike this holiday season with over one million holiday lights.
From illuminated farm tractors, Frosty the Snowman, moving dinosaurs, flying unicorns and a UFO working to abduct a strobe-lit cow, the River of Lights features over 500 light displays and light projections.
“There is something for everyone to see here,” said Kaitlyn Norman, a music major at the University of New Mexico, who has made her way to the River of Lights every winter for as long as she can remember.
“They expand it every year to make it more inclusive,” Norman said. “You don’t have to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah in order to enjoy it. If you like dinosaurs, they have dinosaurs. If you like zoo animals, they have zoo animals.”
The River of Lights takes place after dark in the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. Guests follow a path through the gardens, leading them to the light displays and stands offering delicious hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider, colorful cotton candy, popcorn, freshly made bread and adult beverages.
Attendees stand in awe at the light show happening during the River of Lights on Dec. 8, 2017.
A yellow submarine is reflected on water during the River of Lights on Dec. 8, 2017.
The path stops alongside the edge of the pond where ducks swim in the twinkling reflection of the lights. Right across the pond guests can sit on Santa’s lap to ask for Christmas gifts and take pictures.
Along with these stops, the path also leads to a miniature town where a train set with farolitos snakes through two indoor greenhouses decorated with lights and water projections that make it seem as if guests are underwater.
The River of Lights is also stroller-friendly, and holiday songs play on the park speakers.
The River of Lights was named one of "The 15 Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays in the U.S.” in 2016 by The Active Times and is currently New Mexico's largest walk-through light show, according to the City of Albuquerque website.
The event will continue to take place every night this year until its final opening on Dec. 30, with the exceptions of Dec. 24 and 25. Admission costs $12 for adults and children 13 years and up and $6 for children ages 3 to 12. Little ones 2 years and under are admitted for free.
Timber Mabes is a culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timbermabes.