I recall back in the late 1970s when several West Texans raised funds to help build a little city to teach our schoolchildren of about pedestrian, bicycle, automotive, and fire safety. That little city - Safety City - opened in 1981.

Fast forward to today. Safety City is still a place where kids learn safety practices from the Abilene Fire Department, the Abilene Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Furthermore, Safety City is also a place where our community meets to celebrate the holidays.

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The Christmas celebration will include a photo session with Santa Claus and Sparky the Fire Dog, a tour of a fire engine with the firefighters, and a walk through the incredible light display.

This year's "Night of Lights at Safety City" is scheduled for December 14-16 and December 21-23, 2023. The hours are from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The best part? Admission to the "Night of Lights" is absolutely free. So are the cookies & hot chocolate.

I remind everyone to please remember that donations are graciously accepted. One final thought is that two years ago the Safety City's name changed to honor retired police chief Melvin Martin. Today this incredible learning facility is now referred to as the "Melvin Martin Center for Children's Safety". While the center was being built, Martin was head of the youth division at the Abilene Police Department.

Safety City, now known as the Melvin Martin Center for Children's Safety, is located at 2601 South 7th Street, just north of Oscar Rose Park. If you have a large family, church group or need more information, call (325) 676-6096.

LOOK: At What Going On At Safety City This Holiday Season

LOOK: 25 over-the-top Christmas displays from across America

To help get everyone in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, Stacker compiled a list of some of the most over-the-top Christmas displays across America.

Gallery Credit: Annalise Mantz & Madison Troyer

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