Memphis has a temperate climate, meaning that while holidays in the River City can be merry and bright, there's rarely any snow (and sometimes not even cold) to get one into the holiday spirit.
So when an annual event like Starry Nights - the amazing, holiday-themed, drive-through tour of lighted displays - pops up in Shelby Farms Park, rest assured that everybody in town will make tracks for a festive way to put the ho-ho-ho into the holidays. A lighted carriage makes its way through Starry Nights. — Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy
Running every evening through Dec. 27, Starry Nights features more than 1.5 million lights in a display that winds through the vast park. Fanciful images of animals, stars and planets, holiday images and more lead guests through the park. Be sure to look for the buffalo lights; there's a herd that makes its home in the park.
Guests have the choice of driving through in their cars, or signing up for a horse-drawn carriage or hay ride through the light show. On Monday evenings, though, it's a real treat to visit, as the only mode of transportation is by foot or by bike.
A Christmas-y village called Mistletoe Village is a must-stop for hot cocoa, visits with Santa and the chance to ride a camel or go to the petting zoo. Parents can do a little holiday shopping in the artists' market in Mistletoe, too. This year, ice sculpting exhibitions have been added, with chainsaw-wielding artists creating holiday sculptures. Choirs from local schools perform on select evenings.
Throughout the month, themed nights add even more holiday spirit, including a tacky sweater night, car decorating night and an evening when well-behaved (and leashed) dogs are welcome to join their owners for a run or walk through the park. Then, on Dec. 28, a 4K run through the lights brings Starry Nights to a close for the season. A clear evening in Shelby Farms for the Starry Nights drive-thru light display. — Photo courtesy of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy
Admission and hours for Starry Nights are as follows:
Monday - Thursday and Sunday evenings from 6 - 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 - 10 p.m.
On Mondays (run/walk/ride nights), admission is $5 per person, or $20 for a family.
All other nights, the cost is $20 per car, with pricing higher for passenger vans, and limos.
Add-ons include camel rides ($5), the petting zoo ($3) and photos with Santa ($22). Carriage rides start at $60 for up to seven people, and hay rides are $10 per person, with a minimum of nine riders.
All the money raised from Starry Nights and the Starry 4K run benefit the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that manages and operates Shelby Farms Park and Shelby Farms Greenline.