Six Flags Great America, a popular summer destination for Champaign-Urbana area families, now offers a one-of-a-kind holiday experience for this year only
Stay in your car as you casually drive through Six Flags Great America (near Chicago) to see the park illuminated with festive lights for the holidays
If you’re dreaming of summer days filled with your favorite theme park attractions, a drive through the heart of Six Flags Great America this Christmas season may scratch the theme park itch as COVID-19 continues to have us exercising an abundance of caution when it comes to crowds (like those you find at theme parks).
Enter the drive-thru experience.
Six Flags Great America, located 2-1/2 to 3 hours from Champaign-Urbana (depending on traffic), has been around since the mid 1970s, so many of us not only have good memories from recent years with our own kids but memories from our own childhood years, too.
The park has been holding “Holiday in the Park” this 2020 season, which is a walk-through holiday experience with pop-up shows and more.
Six Flags Great America announced on Wednesday, December 9 that it will offer a NEW drive-thru experience, beginning on Wednesday, December 16 and running on select dates through mid-January.
Must Know Info About the Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience
Dates: December 16-18, January 2-3, January 7-10, January 14-18
Location: Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois (located north of Chicago)
(Take I-57 North to I-294; the tollway circumvents the city of Chicago, and means that there is generally smoother sailing up to Gurnee.)
Tickets: Online and ahead of time only, so plan ahead
Cost: $14.99 per person in the car, children 2 and under are free with no ticket required
What Do You Do at the Holiday Drive-Thru Experience
Purchasing tickets ahead of time online for every person that will be in your vehicle will allow your car to roll through the actual theme park, past all your favorite attractions.
The carousel that welcomes you will be dancing to along with holiday music, and each area of the park will be decorated with a theme like “Merry Mardi Gras.” The shows along the way use state-of-the-art technology and will wow all your riders.
Snacks are available for purchase OR get a “holiday bundle” ahead of time with snacks like churros and hot chocolate put together for your arrival.
The speed limit is just 3 MPH and no restrooms are available in the park for visitor use. You must stay in your vehicle except for emergency purposes.
Looking for More?
You can also get tickets for the walk-through holiday experience, “Holiday in the Park” on Six Flags Great America’s website. This experience will have shows you can walk around and enjoy, socially distanced visits with Santa, and more. Tickets start at $19.99 per person.
Make a Getaway Out Of It
While you certainly could hop in your car, drive two and a half hours, drive around the park, and drive back to C-U, you can make this a little getaway for your family, if you feel comfortable.
A handful of these dates fall on weekdays and are bound to be less crowded than the weekends (which will likely sell out). Stay at the nearby Great Wolf Lodge (affiliate link) and get some waterpark time in while you’re in Gurnee, too. (A review here, done pre-pandemic.)
Here’s another idea: stay in an AirBnB for a more socially distanced experience. (These are affiliate links; if you book with our link, our small business receives a small commission.)
What else is there to do around Six Flags?
Another drive-through lights show not far away from Six Flags is Let It Shine, in Northbrook. See 1 million LED lights that are all synchronized to holiday classics. Show goes through Saturday, Jan. 9. Buy one ticket per vehicle. $29.99 weekdays, $39.99 weekends, $15 fast pass (optional).
The Chicago Botanic Gardens also has a lights events this winter, through January 3, 2021. Lightscape requires walking and is NOT a drive thru; the trail is 1.25 miles long, outdoors, and masks are required.
Timed tickets for Lightscape are required, and you must pay for parking (buy in advance and save.)
“Enter a captivating world of light, color, and sound in an all-new trail designed with your safety in mind. Bask in the glow of thousands of twinkling lights in favorites like the Cathedral of Light and new delights you’ve never seen before. Make new family holiday memories at Lightscape.”
Other drive-through light displays around Central Illinois
Head to Peoria, Shelbyville, Mattoon and more. If you want to see a few mega-displays but don’t want to drive as far as Six Flags, this article is for you.
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