JEFFERSON — The lights are shining bright in Jefferson again as the Lonesome Dove Trail of Lights drive-thru lighted Christmas park is back up and running for its second year in a row.
Owner Jimmy Moore, who also runs the Lonesome Dove Drive-Thru Exotic Safari on his property, opened the gates to this year’s Christmas trail at the start of the month and plans to leave the lights on until Christmas.
“We have added new displays this year and about 1,200 ft. of trail,” Moore said on Wednesday. “We also changed the route up and added some lights.”
Last year’s drive-thru Christmas park drew in more than 1,500 sightseers to Moore’s 300-acre ranch property and he hopes for even more visitors this year.
“We’ve got some beautiful land out here and it looks even better at night with all of the lights,” Moore said.
Moore said he wanted to offer those in the Jefferson area a way to see Christmas light displays without having to drive so far away or wait in long lines.
“I was thinking along the lines of Santa Land in Lindale when I put it up,” Moore said last year. “That’s a drive away from Jefferson and I’ve heard the lines are really long to get in there sometimes.”
Moore also opened the new Lonesome Dove Exotic Drive Thru Safari on his ranch property this October. The year-round safari park allows guests to drive through and see more than 80 exotic animals from countries all over the globe, while feeding the animals and visiting an onsite petting zoo.
The drive-thru safari park opens at 10:30 a.m. each day and closes about 4:30 p.m. The drive-thru Christmas lights park opens at 5:30 p.m. each day and closes at 9 p.m.
Moore said visitors can make a day of sightseeing in Jefferson by visiting the safari park during the day, grabbing a bite to eat or doing some shopping in town, then returning for the drive-thru Christmas park for the evening.
“We ask people to check our Facebook page before they come out in the event of bad weather,” Moore said. “We added two new bridges since last year and we improved our electrical by running some underground buried cables but there are still some parts of the trail that can get tough to get through if we get a lot of rain.”
The drive-thru safari park and Christmas lights trail is located at 1782 Highway 59 North in Jefferson, just past Jefferson High School on the right. Cost for the Christmas trail is $5 per person, up to $25 per vehicle. Cost for the safari park are $12 per adult and $6 per child, with military personnel and first responders discounted at $10 each. Buckets of feed are $4 each for park goers to get an up close interaction with the exotic animals, Moore said.