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A date for two on a trip around the world – for about the cost of two lattes?

Eiffel Tower romance blooming beneath the iconic Eiffel Tower; one of the many illuminated sculptures on display at the Global Winter Wonderland featured at California's Great America.
Eiffel Tower romance blooming beneath the iconic Eiffel Tower; one of the many illuminated sculptures on display at the Global Winter Wonderland featured at California's Great America.
by P.K. Costa

If you could take your date on an unforgettable trip around the world to see, taste, enjoy and learn about the many cultures in just a few hours – without ever leaving the bay area, would you be tempted if the cost were about the same as the cost of two cafe lattes?

Take your date on a trip around the world to Global Winter Wonderland.
by P.K. Costa

But let's not stop there. If you could add to that date a romantic kiss beneath the iconic Eiffel Tower, would you be ready to commit? No doubt that answer would be a yes, and you just might say you'd also wear bells. (That was wear, not hear.)

For its first appearance in the United States, Global Winter Wonderland illuminates the skies of California's Great America in Santa Clara drawing people in from all over the bay area to share in its glory and enchanting wonder. (And here you thought all that magic and wonder was coming just from the SF 49ers football practice field.)

This holiday festival not only covers a span of nine acres filled with Chinese eco-friendly lanterns (known to bring good luck) but also more than 40 giant art sculptures depicting the world’s most iconic architectural landmarks spanning across nine acres of illuminating marvel.

Some of the sculptures include The Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal (now a symbol of eternal love) and the Golden Gate Bridge– all made from recycled materials such as silk, teacups, wires, metals, soupspoons, CDs, cans, bottles, bottle caps and medicine bottles filled with colored water.

Some of the structures took almost two months to construct, designed by more than four-dozen artisans and engineers, some of whom also designed structures in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

This Wonderland is not only educational for all ages, but it is truly an amazement that touches every heart that visits – and not just those who come for that walk beneath heart arches or that long-awaited romantic kiss beneath the Eiffel Tower. (Event hint: It is well worth the wait for those who don't know about the romantic kiss of the two statues beneath the Eiffel Tower; be patient as every few minutes the statues move into position.)

Love is indeed in the air at this magical wonderland, and those dating with kids fear not as there is plenty to entertain children of all ages including butterfly gardens, pirates, fish, dragons, prairie animals, princess castles, games, dinosaur mazes, bounce houses, train rides and even Santa.

This is the first time anything of its kind has been brought to the United States, and with any hope this Global Winter Wonderland will be the first of many illuminated displays to come. As always good luck with your dating ventures, be safe, don't take life too seriously and have some fun.

Special date tip:

Tip #1: Warm Coat Program: Take your sweetheart on a dream date around the world for the price of one – bring one warm coat (new or gently warn) and receive two tickets for the price of one the day of your visit. Tip #2: On Saturday, ride Light Rail and receive a free ticket voucher (while supply lasts).

Event info:

Global Winter Wonderland located at 4701 Great America Parkway in Santa Clara opens daily beginning December 16, Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11, Sunday through Thursday 4 to 10 p.m. Tickets: $10 (age 4 to 12); $12 13-61; children under 4 free. Receive $2 ticket discount if purchased online. Parking: $10 to $30.

Celebrate Fiesta de Hispania on Sunday, December 18 for a day of celebration with Global Winter Wonderland, ICEG and Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. A portion of the ticket proceeds to benefit the Hispanic Foundation of SV.

As a special treat for historians, rumor has it that ICEG is looking for a new home for the Phoenix Treasure Vase. If anyone knows of a good home, can donate time or is interested in donating funds for its transport – please contact ICEG President, Lulu Huang at 510-962-8586 x110.

"Attraction is not a choice, but meeting halfway is." -Unknown

May the magic of the season touch your heart and remain all through the New Year.

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