Snow Wonder and Marina Lights transform Burton Chace Park into a winter wonderland

By Christina Campodonico

SoCal beach kids get the chance to play in 80 tons of real snow at Burton Chace Park

Snow is hard to come by in Southern California, especially by the water. But on Saturday, Marina del Rey’s Burton Chace Park transforms into a veritable winter wonderland for Snow Wonder, featuring arts and crafts, face painting, a live DJ and yes, real snow!

From noon to 6 p.m., kids and the young at heart can sled and toss snowballs in 80 tons of real snow, which includes a sledding hill and play area trimmed with frosted pines. Visitors can borrow a sledding disc on site or bring their own. The Wonderelles perform classic ’50s-style songs from 2 to 4 p.m., and several food trucks set up shop in the park to offer up food and drinks for purchase.

This year’s Snow Wonder continues a three-year marina tradition that both complements the evening’s annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade and kicks off a new one: Marina Lights. Starting at sundown, decorative lighting effects — from radiant orbs to sparkling snowflake stars on the park’s trees and fixtures — will cast a merry glow across Burton Chace Park nightly from 4 to 10 p.m.

“Burton Chace is a just a beautiful place to have that kind of display,” says Carol Baker of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, which is sponsoring Marina Lights. “We have such beautiful trees and the topography of the park is so lovely. We thought this could be an extra attraction for folks who wanted to do something special for the holidays.”

If you plan to stay for the lighting and concurrent boat parade, Baker advises monitoring the weather for temperature drops and bringing a change of clothes for after playing in the snow.

On the three Saturdays following the inaugural lighting of Marina Lights, the park will also come to life with live entertainment and free movie screenings. On Dec. 16, The Voices of Christmas a capella group performs Christmas carols from 4 to 6 p.m. before a screening of the Macaulay Culkin classic “Home Alone” on a jumbo screen. On Dec. 23, The Wonderelles return performing ’50s-style holiday rock tunes, and “A Christmas Story” screens at 6 p.m. On Dec. 30, The Voices of Christmas visit the park again with “It’s a Wonderful Life” starting at 6 p.m. Bundle up with a blanket or bring a lawn chair to enjoy these flicks and musical acts outdoors.

Also on these Saturdays, snap some selfies in a giant, inflatable snow globe between 4 and 8 p.m. and hit up The Churro Boss food truck for Mexican street corn, sweet snacks, hot chocolate and Mexican coffee for purchase.

In the marina, the holiday festivities continue even after the snow melts!


Snow Wonder happens from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 9) with Marina Lights kicking off at sunset at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Marina Lights continues nightly from 4 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31. Free. Call (424) 526-7900 or visit