As the cool night air blows through festive displays, Christmas music and quiet conversation fill the air. A usually empty parking lot is covered with soft light from numerous illuminated canvas sculptures and Christmas lights.
This is Global Winter Wonderland, a carnival and collection of traveling exhibits.
The exhibition’s main feature is the display of canvas models, lit from the inside, of famous monuments and landscapes from around the world. These are presented as an opportunity to see the ways in which other countries celebrate the holidays. The experience of seeing these lanterns is truly unique.
A section of the parking lot of the SDCCU stadium is split into separate areas, each of which displays lanterns for a specific continent (or, in the case of the “North Pole” and “Dinosaur World” exhibits, for a specific theme). Wandering around the gently glowing lanterns, the soft light and Christmas music create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.
Global Winter Wonderland also boasts performances from the Circus of Light, including acrobats, fire-eaters, and comedy magic acts. Another act takes place at the Motorcycle Stage, a 12-foot tall spherical cage. Inside, skilled motorists perform tricks, riding in circles around each other.
In addition to beautiful light displays, this luminous winter attraction has an impressive array of carnival rides. From family-friendly bumper cars to crazy thrill rides, there is a large variety of rides for prices similar to that of the San Diego County Fair. The food stands also resemble that of the Fair, as they mostly serve unhealthy combinations of random foods deep-fried together.
This celebration of the holidays is both a beautiful display of exquisitely crafted lanterns and a way to appreciate other cultures from around the world. Though the shows and carnival rides deserve to be mentioned, the lights of this Wonderland truly make it an amazing experience.
Global Winter Wonderland is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening and most Thursday evenings through Dec. 31, 2017 at the SDCCU stadium. Tickets can be bought for $19.00 – $22.00 at the door or online at http://www.globalwonderland.com. Rides charge an additional fee.