This is my final entry for the Traveling Soldier column for 2020. What a year. Since July, when I took over the column, I have had the pleasure of traveling all over Central Texas to see places and do things that I never knew existed. I hope all of you enjoyed reading about them, and I hope all of you were able to actually get out of the house and enjoy some of them yourselves.

But for this final edition, I decided to keep it close to home, and feature one of the great annual attractions that people from all over Central Texas actually come here to see, that is BLORA’s Nature in Lights Christmas light display.

There are several places to go to see light displays in the area, but one of the best is actually in our own backyard. I highly recommend it.

From the moment you come over the hill of North Nolan Road to the intersection of Cottage Road, you know you are in the right spot, as lights are prominently displayed at the intersection. Before that, you will see the lights on the other side of the hill from several miles away.

Once you go through the drive-thru ticket booth, be sure to tune your radio to 91.9 FM to catch a wide variety of Christmas tunes. It will get you and the kids in the Christmas spirit.

We went on a weekday and the lines to get in and drive through were not bad at all. The drive itself took about 45 minutes.

This is the 23rd year for the annual holiday event, and there are five and half miles of illuminated displays, many computer animated, ranging in size from strands of lights artfully configured to scenes spanning 40’ x 300’ wide, as well as architectural and foliage lighting.

If you are like me, and are taking little ones with you on adventures like this, you will be pleased to know all of the restrooms in the park area are open along the drive-thru and brightly lit with green lights, so they are easy to identify.

You can also stop at Santa’s Village to shop for gifts, take photographs with Santa, and eat some homemade cookies, hot chocolate and other treats.

The last stop on the trail is Santa’s Depot, located near the end of the trail of lights, at BLORA’s Marina Cove parking lot, where guests can enjoy concessions under the stars, play at the Depot Den, hop aboard the train for a ride through an exclusive trail of lights, or just stretch their legs on a playground before the ride home.

Weather permitting, there are also pony rides available nightly near the entrance to the park.

I hope you take advantage of having this wonderful display so close to home, and that you and your family go check it out.