Botanic Garden of Lights is free for Active Military most nights


Each day after the sun goes down (until 9 p.m.) the Botanic Garden, 230 Quall Gardens Dr., is transformed into a winter wonderland with more than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminating the flora of the 37-acre urban oasis and providing a magical holiday experience.

The event runs through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26-30, and officials from the Garden recently announced that Active Duty Military and up to five immediate family members can visit for free on most dates. On Dec. 18-22 and 26-29, those with Military ID can take advantage of this offer.

In addition to the beautiful illumination at Garden areas like the iconic Lawn Garden, Tropical Rainforest, Waterfall Deck, Undersea Succulent Garden, Eucalyptus Grove, Seeds of Wonder (children’s area) and Bamboo Garden, the event features activities for the whole family.

Holiday crafts, spin art and a Nutcracker display will entertain the family each night, as will visits from Santa through Dec. 23.

In addition, horse-drawn wagon rides, snow for sledding, holiday carolers and hot mulled wine will be featured on selected evenings.

Local blues and jazz bands will provide nightly entertainment, and food from Red Oven Artisanal Pizza and Pasta, and hot coffee and treats from the Feel Good Coffee Cart will be available.

The Botanic Garden gift shop is a great place to find presents, with cork purses, garden-themed jewelry, hats, aprons, candles and garden art — as well as winter plants — available for sale.

Tickets for Garden of Lights are available at the Welcome Center at the Botanic Garden on the evening of visitation. There are no advance ticket sales available at the Garden or on the website.

Admission prices on Sunday through Thursday are $10 for seniors, active military and students; $5 for children 3-12 (children under 2 are free) and $15 for nonmembers. The prices are the same on Friday and Saturday, except nonmember tickets are $20.

There will be additional fees for some activities.