When it comes to holiday cheer, we say “bring it on”! The more holiday lights, cups of cocoa, Santa sightings, etc., the merrier. So when we first heard about Winter Wonderland at the Circuit, Austin’s newest holiday extravaganza that’s taking over Circuit of the Americas, we were more than eager to check it out. With camel rides, a tethered hot air balloon float, Ferris wheel, singing trees, a tunnel of lights and more, there’s lots to see and do. Our staff had the great opportunity to take a special visit to the Wonderland on an early preview night. Check out our photos below and get the scoop on all the details to know before you go.

Dates & Times: Winter Wonderland at the Circuit will be open daily from Dec. 8 – 30, from 6-10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, and 6-11 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays.

Admission: Tickets are $16, available online here, and children ages 5 and under are free! Your ticket includes free parking and access to:

  • Tunnel of Lights
  • Circuit of Lights Track Walk
  • Movies on the Lawn
  • Human Snow Globe
  • Singing Trees
  • Petting Zoo (outside)
  • Santa’s Workshop

One thing to know ahead of time is that some of the really exciting attractions require an additional fee. When you arrive, you’ll need to purchase a magic money wristband at one of the entry kiosks for offerings such as the hot air balloon float, camel rides, carnival rides, and the COTA Express mini-train ride. Fees for these attractions range from $5 – $15 depending on activity. (Families who bring a book to donate to the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program at Winter Wonderland will receive one complimentary ride on the COTA Express.)

From the map below, you can see that Winter Wonderland at the Circuit is a huge event! Be sure to wear great walking shoes for getting around comfortably and give yourself plenty of time to cover it all. In addition to all the attractions, you’ll find lots of concessions, hot cocoa stands, and other seasonal beverages like mulled wine or Irish coffee for those 21 & up.

The kids will beg for toys, games, and books to be added to their wish list when they see all the cool things inside the Go! Games popup store. You can also shop for handcrafted goods in the Bavarian Village.

Our Favorite Things: When we attend the preview night, we brought along our children (ranging from preschoolers to middle school tweens) as well as several adult friends (who had no problem embracing their inner child). We all loved the Ferris wheel, camel rides, adorable petting zoo and the trippy tunnel of lights. Getting into a real hot air balloon was also pretty thrilling for the children! The kids were big fans of the selection of treats available, such as funnel cakes, mini donuts, cotton candy and hot cocoa, too.

Know Before You Go:

  • As noted above, take note of all the extra fees for additional rides & attractions.
  • Be ready for lots of walking. Your tickets include parking, but if you wish to park closer-in, there’s a $20 fee for an upgraded spot.
  • For the little ones in your family, there are traditional height requirements for many of the carnival rides. So you’ll want to check on that at each ride before waiting in line.
  • If you plan to get take a hot air balloon ride, prepare the kiddos that the flames are hot and very loud above your head once you’re in the basket. Take note that you’ll need to make a big climb into the basket, so wearing a skirt or dress does make it just a little harder to do, FYI.
  • Look over the map before you go to get a good lay of the land — and also so you don’t miss anything in this expansive space.

More Info: Tickets are on sale now online here, or you can purchase yours at the Grand Plaza Box Office. For info about discounted group sales, and for more general info about this holiday event, please visit thecircuit.com/winter-wonderland.

–> Giveaway: We have a 4-pack of tickets to give away to a lucky reader. Enter below. Good luck! By entering the giveaway, you’ll be added to our twice-weekly email list where you’ll get all the latest on family fun in Austin.

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