There are few summertime destinations in PA that are better known than Knoebels Amusement Park, but did you know that you can also visit their grounds during the holiday season for a great drive-through display known as Joy Through the Grove?
Joy Through the Grove first opened to the public in 2020, and this drive-through Christmas light display has been delighting visitors every year since. And, while none of the rides are open, visitors can drive through the grounds of the park and the campground looking at more than 500 different light displays.
The display starts near the park’s main entrance by the large parking lot (which is also where the line weaves through on crowded evenings).
As you enter the display area, you have the option of buying a variety of snacks, including some of the most popular ones that Knoebels offers, such as fudge, kettle corn, Bavarian nuts, and more. While it’s great that they offer these treats, it almost certainly slows down the line of cars getting into the event, so expect a bit of a delay on popular evenings.
Joy Through the Grove starts near the Impulse roller coaster and begins its route by driving down the main road through the park. This first area doesn’t feature many light displays, but many of the rides and buildings are nicely lit. The Ferris wheel is especially beautiful.
The main portion of the light display is located within Knoebel’s campground, which is accessed by driving across the incredibly beautifully lit Laurence L. Knoebel Covered Bridge (one of 21 covered bridges in Columbia County). I’ve been through many light tunnels on drive-through displays, but this is definitely the most unique one I’ve seen.
Once into the campground, the path winds its way through this forested area, passing hundreds of fun displays. I really liked how they incorporated the park’s mascots, Kozmo Knoebel and his friends, into many of the lights. This really adds a unique touch that you won’t find anywhere else.
As the route continues through the campground, you’ll pass by many fantastic displays. Many of these are related to the holiday season while others are simply fun scenes put together in lights. They all go together though to create a really fun and festive Christmas light show.
Probably my kids’ favorite of all of these was Santa stuck in the chimney of one of the campground’s cabins, so make sure to keep your eye out for that.
While driving through the display area, there is a suggested radio station to listen to. This station plays a nice mix of Christmas music, though none of the lights are synched to the music.
However, during my visit, the station had a decent amount of static, so we opted to switch to other music during our drive through the park. Because of this, you might want to consider bringing some of your favorite music along with you in case you have the same issue or prefer to listen to something else as you drive through the display.
After leaving the campground, the display heads towards the exit at Route 487, and, as you approach the road, the displays start to peter out. However, signs note that there is a Santa’s Workshop just down the road that you can visit.
While Joy Through the Grove is open nightly during the season, Santa’s Workshop is only open Thursday through Sunday nights. The village is set up around the Three Ponds Golf Club, which is part of Knoebels and located about a third of a mile west of the display area.
While there aren’t many light displays here, you can visit with Santa, roast smores over fire pits, or grab a bit to eat at either the restaurant or snack bar. You can also buy a Christmas tree from a lot here.
The highlight, for me, however, was the house, which was decorated with beautiful lights and singing reindeer. These reindeer lights were synched to the music and appeared to sing along, which was a lot of fun to watch.
While Santa’s Workshop is neat and worth a quick stop if it’s open, I wouldn’t specifically plan my trip to Joy Through the Grove around it being open.
The light display, however, is definitely fantastic, and one of the better ones I’ve done in Pennsylvania. So, if you are looking for a really neat drive-through display in this part of the state, Joy Through the Grove at Knoebels Amusement Park is definitely a spot that I recommend checking out.
In 2023, Joy Through the Grove is open nightly from November 24 through December 31, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The display is lit from 5:30 – 9pm each night. Tickets cost $20 per car Monday-Thursday nights and $25 Friday-Sunday.
As with all holiday season light displays, I recommend, if possible visiting early in the season. I also recommend visiting on a weekday, and, if possible, a weekday early in the season. These attractions get more popular the closer it gets to Christmas, and visiting at less popular times typically means a significantly shorter wait time.
Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the Christmas lights in Scranton’s Nay Aug Park, Centralia, the covered bridges of Northumberland County, the Mifflinburg Christkindl Market, and Berwick Christmas Boulevard.