By Colleen Flaherty

Fort Hood Herald

It's not the holidays at Fort Hood without Nature in Lights.

The installation's 14th annual holiday light display at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area is open nightly through Jan 2.

"It's 5½ miles of winter charm," Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation spokesman Monty Campbell said, and this year it includes more lights than ever.

Fort Hood adds new displays every year, making Nature in Lights a near year-round effort, he said. "They start setting up in August," he said.

This year, 100 light displays can be seen along the car route, about 50 percent of which are animated.

"We have Frosty sliding down slides and other things, as well," he said.

Displays of Santa in Army vehicles give the show a military touch.

Campbell's favorite is a several hundred-foot-long tunnel of lights at the end of the illuminated tour.

"I'm a little biased, but I think it's the most fascinating light display I've ever seen," he said.

Campbell might not be alone. More than 50,000 vehicles have entered the park during past seasons, he said.

"We're expecting a large turnout again," Campbell said. He advised patrons to arrive early to avoid long entrance lines.

For such beauty, there is a price: car, minivan and pickup, $5; 15-passenger van, limousine and recreational vehicle, $15; 24-passenger van, $25; and 47-passenger van or large bus, $40.

Active-duty soldiers and families must also pay.

Nature in Lights is open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area is located on North Nolan Road, northwest of Fort Hood.

Santa's Village at Nature in Lights, featuring homemade cookies, crafts and photos with Santa, is open nightly through Dec. 12 and Dec. 16-24.

For more information, go to hoodmwr.com/nature_in_lights.htm.

Contact Colleen Flaherty at colleenf@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.

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