We Tried It: Show Aloha Land at Aloha Stadium

Don’t miss Santa! That’s just one of our six parent tips for this festive 1,000,000 LED light holiday display.


Show Aloha Land Lights Display

Photo: Laura Dornbush


What: Show Aloha Land – A Holiday Wonderland

Who: A 4-year-old boy and his grown-ups (who felt giddy like kids)

When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Where: Aloha Stadium parking lot


Like many families, we were ready to kick off the holiday season early to bring extra joy to this unsettling year. With more time at home and special events canceled, our Christmas decorations came out of storage and cookies have been flowing out of the oven since before Thanksgiving. A special way we welcomed this festive season was a visit to the first-ever Show Aloha Land for its dazzling lights. With a candy cane in my son Duke’s hand and a wet wipe in mine, our family sang Christmas carols as we drove to Aloha Stadium. The excitement in our SUV was tangible (or maybe it was just the sugar rush). Fortunately, at that time of night, there was no traffic to be seen. Upon entering Gate 3 as instructed, we showed our QR code ticket at the check-in tent. We were told to tune our radio to 88.5 FM for the music that accompanies the coordinated lights and to proceed to the start of the route.


Show Aloha Land Santa

Don’t blink in the beginning or you may miss Santa. Photo: Laura Dornbush


Initially, we were in awe. There were so many lights that it was hard to know where to look first. As we drove through the entrance gate, we waved and yelled “Merry Christmas!” to a live Santa and proceeded through winding cutbacks lined with Santa’s workshop scenes. It was no surprise that my truck-obsessed son’s favorites were St. Nick driving an ambulance and a tow truck pulling a broken-down sleigh.


We were delighted when we heard Alvin and the Chipmunks sing “Christmas Don’t Be Late” on the radio. We all sang and danced as best we could with our seat belts on. “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” played as we drove under Santa in his sleigh, reindeer lights suspended high in the sky via a crane truck.


Show Aloha Land Santa Lights

Photo: Laura Dornbush


During the second half of the route, we cruised through two 150-foot-long light tunnels with pulsating lights that changed colors and patterns. The whole drive took about 15 minutes. When we reached the end, we were directed past concession tents selling nonalcoholic beverages and donburi bowls including roasted lemongrass pork belly ($11), miso yuzu poke ($13) and fried chicken adobo ($11). Keiki mac and cheese ($6) and keiki chicken nuggets ($5) were sold-out by the time we drove through. Fortunately we had already eaten dinner.


The 50-foot tree at the end of drive gives kids somewhere to stretch their legs and have a snack. Photo: Laura Dornbush


Duke was itching to get out of his car seat and burn off the candy cane sugar, so we parked near the 50-foot-tall tree at the end of the route to watch the synchronized light show. The full routine lasts 50 minutes. Other families were roaming around the tree taking photos and eating dinner on the tailgates of their trucks. We took our obligatory family selfie and packed back into the car, as it was already past Duke’s bedtime. While the ticket price ($50) was a splurge, we drove away with great family memories and felt good supporting the community nonprofit, Show Aloha Challenge.


Our 6 Tips


1. Pack seasonal snacks. Although food and drinks are available for purchase at the end of the route, there are no holiday-themed treats like hot chocolate, candy canes or cookies to make the night extra magical.


2. Roll the windows down. We were able to view the lights better with the windows down and sunroof open. Plus, the cool tradewinds felt so good!


Tip: Roll the window down for a better view. Photo: Laura Dornbush


3. Spot Santa. Duke’s favorite moment was seeing the live Santa at the beginning of the drive, but we almost missed him as we stared at the entrance lights. Here’s a tip: Santa appears on the passenger side of your vehicle, so you may want to position your little ones accordingly.


4. Brush up on photography. Taking photos of kids is challenging and taking photos of kids and holiday lights at night is even more difficult. Watch these tips for snapping Instagram-worthy shots in the dark. The best photo ops are 1) driving through the light tunnels and 2) the mega tree at the end where you can exit your car to get a family photo.


5. Plan potty breaks. The 20 port-a-potties are located at the end of the drive, so make sure everyone goes to the restroom before leaving home.


6. Try the late show. Tickets must be purchased online. Many of the early evening time slots are sold out, but if your keiki are night owls, you can score a 10%-20% discount for tickets after 9 p.m., through Dec. 18, with code FHBHOLIDAY.


$50 per car. Show Aloha Land continues daily through Jan. 9 from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Aloha Stadium parking lot, Gate 3, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd., (808) 356-2994. showalohachallenge.com