Editor’s note: We were the guest of Greater Gadsden Area Tourism during our visit. This does not affect our story and everything here is our honest opinion.
I walked through the streets of downtown Gadsden, Alabama on a late November day with a cold wind blowing in my hair while Christmas carols played. The trees were still painted golden and orange but the music and the temperatures said, “Christmas is here.”
Signs of the season are on nearly every corner of Gadsden. A snowflake illuminates the Season’s Greetings sign on the downtown streetlights. Imagination Place is lined with unique holiday trees. And Noccalula Falls is lit up like a Christmas dream. When we ventured to this North Alabama town, we didn’t expect to be swept up into the holiday spirit before darkness fell and the colorful lights appeared. Gadsden is the place for families to make holiday memories to last a lifetime.
Kids in the South rarely see snow. The Imagination Place located in the Mary G. Hardin Center for the Cultural Arts has created a winter wonderland in a warm environment. The “Let It Snow” exhibit is filled with a non-toxic polymer that feels cold but is not wet. Kids can play in the “snow” and see what it feels like to slide down a hill covered with the white stuff. Be sure to have your picture made so you can see it on Facebook later. Admission to Imagination Place is $8 and includes entrance to the adjacent museum. Even this big kid and her bigger husband enjoyed it.
The Festival of Trees
Admission to Imagination Place includes admission to the Festival of Trees, a one-of-a-kind exhibit. These trees are not decorated with brightly-colored balls and trinkets. These trees, decorated by area school children and organizations, honor former First Ladies and current First Lady Melania Trump. It’s a history lesson and a Christmas tree all-in-one. You will be amazed at the creativity of these children.
Christmas at the Falls
I looked at pictures before we went to Christmas at the Falls and I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong. Every section of Noccalula Falls Park was uniquely decorated with millions of lights. As we were approaching a group of icicle lights, “Amazing Grace” began to play. I had stop and watch the lights dance to the music.
The train ride is a great way to see the lights in a short amount of time and is included with admission. It’s for big kids and little kids but those over six feet tall will need a bench to themselves. The engineer describes each section of the park. I recommend taking the train first to familiarize yourself with the different areas of the park.
You may get cold but there is a warm fire and hot chocolate is sold. You can also warm up in the General Store, the grist mill or the gift shop at the entrance to the park. Santa is also there to listen to everyone’s Christmas dreams. The petting zoo is also open.
Christmas at the Falls is a bargain at $6 a person. Even though the temperatures were hovering near freezing as we walked through, we didn’t want to leave until we saw every light. These pictures are just a teaser of all you will see when you go.
Gadsden is within driving distance of much of Northwest Georgia, Southeast Tennessee and Northern Alabama. To soak up all of the Christmas spirit, make it a weekend. Gadsden is blessed with great places to stay for every budget. The campground is open for those with RVs. All of these events run through December 31 so you have plenty of time to visit. You can view some of the towns other Christmas events here.
Sadly, my husband was sick and we left Gadsden earlier than expected. As we were driving home, we decided we wanted to share our experience at Christmas at the Falls. We are going to give away four tickets on December 7. To qualify for the drawing, simply share this post on your social media.
And we are not finished telling stories about Gadsden. We have a lot more to share in the upcoming months.