Christmas at the Galt House

By BENNETT DUCKWORTH
Contributing Writer

I was told that Friday, Dec. 5 was to be a big night on Louisville’s Main Street, but I braved the endless traffic to arrive at a destination contrary to all the mysterious hoopla, The Galt House. I was told an impressive Christmas display could be seen within the hotel. On this cold and rainy night, I made my way through the warm interior of the hotel to the entrance for KaLightoscope.

This attraction starts out in what appears to be a courtyard connected to the Belvedere, where a large tented area has an illuminated multicolored tunnel, which leads to a woman in Victorian attire welcoming everyone to an extended passage where gigantic luminaries tell the story of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

I never gave two thoughts to the value of light-up statues made from light-weight materials before, but in a large black room, they have an astounding presence. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The whimsical caricature modeling of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts who haunt him, gave the impression of cartoon characters inhabiting the real world in a rather dominating manner.

After the section where Scrooge is filled with Christmas cheer, two more ladies in Victorian guard handing out candy canes, bade me a farewell from Dickens land. As I exited the augmented exhibit, I entered a dark room back inside the hotel, filled with miniatures, where an English Christmas town had its windows aglow as the primary source of light so that kids could look in to the rooms and see the tiny people and their tiny furniture. The kids looked amused at being in a new section where now, they got to be the giants.

All of this led to a castle surrounded by a singing tree and a Santa statue, where the visiting children learned how to make snowflake crafts from a Snow Fairy Princess. Then, there was a play area with beanbag snowmen and a green screen adventure that gave you a ride in Santa’s sleigh. Finally, there was a miniature train ride, run by elves next to a Christmas gift shop.

Of all the Christmas-themed attractions I’ve been to this winter, I think it is fair to say that this one engaged me the most – not that it had me pushing kids out of the way for my turn at making a fake snowman. I just see it as the most effectively captivating for the mind of a child. A lot of other places are laid out in a confusing manner, while blasting the most insufferable of Christmas music selections, exhausting parents as they try and figure out an order to visiting each section, while guiding their child from one amusement to the next. The museum-like tunnel layout was always captivating to me when I was little, simplifying the journey with guidance in seeing every display. I would wander the passages, curious what surprise was waiting around each corner and how the environment might change. This place ideally captures that experience and brought back memories of places my tired parents didn’t remember visiting, but I did.

I’m really happy that I made it down to the Galt House that night and into their easily accessible parking garage to explore this festive display. I still don’t get why the traffic was so bad that night. Something about a game?

Christmas at the Galt House runs until Jan, 1, 2015. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children. 10:00 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. noon – 6:00 p.m. Sunday and the Holidays (Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day). For more information, visit christmasatthegalthouse.com.