Dominion GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Offers Lights, S’mores, Trains and More!

IMG_6977Dominion GardenFest of Lights is holiday tradition featuring more than half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, firepit with s’mores and hot chocolate (for purchase); nightly family activities & more.

This year’s display celebrates the 1984 opening of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and kicks off the celebration of the Lakeside Wheel Club founded by Lewis Ginter in 1895.   This theme also celebrates the UCI Road World Cycling Championships coming to Richmond in 2015.

What will you see?

Photo Courtesy of Patricia Cancro

Pathways filled with flowers aglow and bicycles blazing trails lead you to a bonfire where you can toast s’mores, enjoy an espresso or hot chocolate and climb the towering tree house to view the garden filled with lights.

Pass under archways of light decked out in sparkling bicycle streamers, bells and baskets to visit the Conservatory.  Here the 20 foot tree comes to life as trucks and toys, lions and lace, tigers, trains, bicycles, bears, agriculture and even alligators all come together in a celebration of the many ways Lewis Ginter namesake made his mark on our city.  You’ll also find the new North Wing train display where handcrafted historic Richmond landmarks reach to the moon and star filled sky and trains and trolley cars travel to and fro.

In the education center, explore the interactive train display, visit the library filled with dollhouses where you can warm by the fire and view the 14 foot tree covered in Victorian decorations and dozens of photographs depicting decades of growth as the Garden has become one of the best gardens in North America.

Visiting with kids?  Click here for some helpful tips.

Special Events & Nightly Activities

Photo of Mike Steidley

Friday, Nov. 28
Doors open: 4 p.m.
Illumination ceremony: 5:30 p.m.
Featuring Mike Steidley, a 12-time National Champion and Professional Trials, Freeride, and Stunt Rider. Also, the GardenKeeper, Butterfly Fairy & historic characters from the Garden’s past.

Wednesday, Dec. 31
2 – 5 p.m.
Kelly Education Center
Jive with the “Ululating Mummies,” take photos with GardenKeeper and Butterfly Fairy, make a party hat and “roll in the New year” with the annual hillside tumble (weather permitting.)

Merry Mondays; 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Library Reading Room.
Storytime fireside with Garden Keeper & visits from Butterfly Fairy. “Santa sightings” in the Conservatory (Mondays, 6 – 8 p.m. through Dec. 22).

Caroling Tuesdays; 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.flower lights
Location:Various Garden locations
Holiday caroling throughout the Garden

Crafty Wednesdays; 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Kelly Education Center, Classroom 1 (across from the train room) Families make vintage-inspired crafts with staff & volunteers.

Musical Thursdays; 6-7 p.m. & 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Library
Acoustic musicians perform festive entertainment.

Thursday, Dec. 4 & Thursday, January 8
Leashed pets allowed on these night ONLY.

Logistics and Tickets:

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228
Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 12, 2015  (closed Dec. 24 & 25)
Nightly 5 – 10 p.m.
This is a “rain or shine” event and is only closed for extreme inclement weather. Tickets are not date-specific.

Tickets are on sale now at the Garden:
$12 adults
$11 seniors (age 55+)
$8 children (ages 3 – 12)
Free for children under age 3
$7: Garden members
$5: Child on Garden Membership (ages 3 – 18)
Tickets are also available by phone at 1-800-594-TIXX (8499) and online; please note there are convenience fees.
Online sales for General Admission
Online sales for Garden Members

Member Nights (free admission for members) are Monday, Dec. 1, Tuesday, Dec. 2, Wednesday, Dec. 3 and Monday, January 12. Learn more about Garden Membership.  

Enter to Win!

A family 4-pack of tickets to GardenFest of Lights on the evening of your choice.   Tickets will be held at Will Call.  Entries must be received by December 1st at Noon. Winners will be announced December 2nd! Click here to enter.  This contest is now closed.