Albany's Washington Park is aglow with Capital Holiday Lights

This year, for example, the show has four new theme areas: Santa's Safari, Santa's Toy Land, Home for the Holidays and the Victorian Village. The safari includes giraffes, elephants and monkeys, with Santa riding in a Jeep filled with animals.

The lights aren't the only attraction at the park. Each year, the lakehouse at the end of the route is open, offering visits with Santa, refreshments and gifts. New this year are rides for kids, and children can also keep busy trying to count all the animals in the safari display, submitting their answers for a chance to win a prize.

"Lenny goes out of his way to make sure there's new things," said Maureen Lundberg, co-owner of Albany AquaDucks.

Lundberg's fellow owner is Bob Wolfgang, the man behind the idea for Capital Holiday Lights. These days, he said, he's not quite as involved with the project because the AquaDucks keep him busy, but he has found a way to merge the two endeavors. The AquaDucks offer trolley rides through the lights, sometimes pairing with area restaurants to offer a dinner and Capital Holiday Lights package. There is also an option to add a show at Capital Repertory Theater.

"It gives everybody a whole nice evening that's full of holiday charm," Lundberg said.

While the AquaDucks offer regularly scheduled trips through the lights display, Lundberg noted that groups can also make a trolley reservation on their own. She said that seeing the lights from a trolley is a unique experience she highly recommends.

"I went 10 times last year," she said with a laugh.

For information, visit www.albanyaquaducks.com or call 434-0405.

Capital Holiday Lights is open Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. until Jan. 3. Admission prices are $15 per car; $25 per limousine or 15-passenger van, and $75 per bus, with all proceeds benefiting the youth programming of Albany PAL. Discount coupons for $5 off admission on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are available at Hannaford stores.""

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