Within the seemingly dormant confines of the Green Bay Botanical Gardens, over 300,000 twinkling lights await to dazzle anyone who chooses to venture the grounds. Once night falls, on select dates in the month of December, the gardens become an enchanting world of illuminated sunflowers, candy canes, Christmas trees, bugs, underwater scenes and other imaginative and inspiring sculptures. For its meager price tag at $12 per adult and $7 for each of your children, The ‘Garden of Lights’ is an excellent chance to create an experience one might cherish for the rest of their life.
Like always, I’ll recap my visit in just a moment. First, I’ll start off with a little insight, for the reader, into my own life. I know, my life has nothing to do with the Garden of Lights. Bear with me, I write this with underlying purpose.
It’s been a very hectic holiday season. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had to throw children in the mix. My hats off to those of you who manage your lives and raise children to boot. You’re building America’s future and sustaining it until we pass the torch on to those young tikes.
Anyways, back to me. There’s been so many eventful things, from dinners with friends to deaths in the family, occurring this holiday season. Of course if you throw in all of the extra holiday chores or festivities or preparations, whatever you want to call all those holiday traditions, and, oh by the way, I work at a retail store, it seems the weight of the world is upon my shoulders.
So, I need something uplifting- an alleviation from stress. I crave something with a hint of magic, although a 46 year old man finds very little magical about the world. Yet, something delightful and enchanting would sooth my very stressed soul.
So on with my visit to The Green Bay Botanical Garden’s ‘Garden of Lights’.
I’m recalling last year, as I drive towards the Green Bay Botanical Gardens. I had written a blog entry titled ‘Surviving the Crowd at the Garden of lights’, as I was quite dismayed with the congestion at last year’s event. This year, arriving later, around 7:30, we find a positive sign the moment we arrive. Despite the sign claiming the lot is full, we’re directed into the main parking area. Last December, we were forced to use the overflow parking and walk a good fifteen minutes. I should mention that this event does offer a free shuttle to and from the Garden’s admittance building.
We have pre-purchased tickets so there is no hassle. We simply hand the tickets to the woman standing at the gate, and we’re in. The moment I enter, I realize this experience is going to be much different than our last adventure. Mainly because of one simple advantage, freedom of movement.
I’m relieved, and the fear of being further stressed dissipates. As a matter of fact, as I watch the first display flash and shimmer to music, I feel better than relaxed. I feel exuberant, awed and entertained. You know how Jacob Marley carried those chains in a Christmas Carol, I feel as if they’ve been binding me. Now they’re cut and I’m free to do what I choose here.
Plus, there is so much to marvel. As we make it through that old delightful mainstay, the 60 ft long caterpillar, we discover a path, with each side flecked with sculptures that inspire the imagination. There are plenty of new light creations, as they meld with the perennial favorites.
The best part, of this enchanted world of lights, shimmers before a shelter. There, LED sculptures glow everywhere you turn, and many are worth a long gawk. Inside the shelter, bathrooms and hot drinks add a little relief to patrons. Also, a burning barrel, warms those sitting on rustic benches. I prefer an open fire, still the barrel is old fashioned. With all the super modern artistry that abounds tonight, reverting to an older activity adds to the ambiance of this charming little area.
One can also catch horse drawn carriage rides during certain hours and days at this area, of course with an extra charge. The tickets can be purchased at the admittance building, its simply a pricier ticket. I’m glad the horses aren’t running today, it makes walking the loop less cumbersome. It’s nice to pose for and take photos without worrying about being trampled by a horse.
The loop is nice, we enjoy many of the same sculptures from years earlier. I feel this portion is slightly watered down, even if there is definitely cause for wonder as I stroll this wooded path. Glowing objects lie in wait among the trees, including a mesmerizing icicle forest that seems to possess some Christmas magic among the forest.
After the loop, we make it to the main building of The Green Bay Botanical Gardens. Here, you can warm up and enjoy some hot chocolate or other beverages, including cans of beer. Inside the room with concessions, there are more memories to make with the children. A large train set sparks wonder for youngsters. Not to mention, Santa even showed up for the event! He’s in his most attractive attire and sits in front of a green screen. I would imagine there would be an opportunity to have a photo with the North Pole as a backdrop, should one desire.
As I leave, I know, even if I had posted an earlier post about this event in 2018, I will write an updated version for the 2019 ‘Garden of Lights’. It was literally better than ever, and they do it right. They didn’t simply place lights in the Garden for one to view. They’ve created an experience from the moment one walks in till the moment one leaves. I do mean that. As I walk towards the exit, a smiling elderly woman thanks me for visiting and Wishes me a Merry Christmas. I have to chuckle, I feel I should be thanking them for all of their hard work.