You won’t believe the new holiday spectacle coming to COTA in December

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A new holiday tradition is coming to town this December, and, if we’re being honest, it sounds pretty magical.

Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, best known for playing host to the Formula 1 racing series, will this holiday season swap race cars for Santa’s sleigh during the inaugural Winter Wonderland at the Circuit.

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A map of Winter Wonderland at the Circuit. credit: COTA

According to a press release, this “magical world of holiday amusement” will incorporate a million lights and will feature the following: a tunnel of lights, a walking light trail, a petting zoo, Santa’s workshop, a human snow globe, holiday movies on the lawn and more. A skating rink, train rides, carnival rides, a hot air balloon float, camel rides and souvenir photos with Santa will also be available for an additional cost.

“Winter Wonderland at the Circuit will be a wonderful family holiday experience for Central Texas,” Circuit of the Americas Chairman Bobby Epstein said in a statement. “The Circuit’s Grand Plaza and surrounding grounds will be transformed into an immersive experience of lights, music and fun.”

The event will also feature live entertainment, food trucks, hot cocoa stands and a Bavarian Village with local vendors.

Winter Wonderland at the Circuit will be held Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-30. Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Admission is $16; children 5 and under are free.

Circuit of the Americas is located at 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. For more information, visit circuitoftheamericas.com/winter-wonderland.

 

 

Don’t open your eyes underwater at Barton Springs? Here’s what it looks like

Unless you snorkel or open your eyes underwater, you might not have seen what it looks like underwater at Barton Springs, where the water is a cool 70 to 74 degrees.

This is the color of Barton Springs in the middle of July. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

WATCH: Barton Springs isn’t really 68 degrees. How warm is it?

Well, have a look.

I took this video earlier today with my iPhone in an underwater case that was the best impulse buy of last summer.

RELATED: Former Barton Springs lifeguards recall life on the stand

PHOTOS: Barton Springs Pool way, way back when

As temperatures continues to rise, Barton Springs will fill up earlier each day.

Here are a few tips so you can enjoy your own visit:

  • Parking is already someone chaotic already, so be prepared to walk from one of the upper parking lots in Zilker Park.
  • Entry fee is $3 if you’re a resident of Austin, $8 if you’re not. Kids are $1 or $2, depending on their age.
  • You can pay with a card at one of the meters outside both the north and south entrances.
  • Bring a floatie, but leave the food and drinks behind. You can’t bring anything to eat or drink besides water into Barton Springs.
  • Entrance to the pool is free before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. The pool opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m.
  • On full moon nights, where people flock to the pool to howl at the moon, the park can fill to capacity, so don’t wait until 9 p.m. if you really want to get in.

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