By Rachel Mueller, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
We’ve had our first snowfall, our natural holiday trees are decorated and the last of the holiday lights are up and hanging around the Garden.
It’s time for WPS Garden of Lights! Whether it’s your first, fifth or fifteenth time seeing our ever-popular light displays, here are five things you should know before you glow at the Garden.
Watch the Website
Everything you need to know about WPS Garden of Lights is on our website. Buy your tickets in advance, look at parking and trail maps, mark down what days you want to attend, see photos of the displays and more. The Trail Map shows locations of the displays, including our 2018 display, “Veggie Tails.”
We also highlight special discounts for tickets, family-friendly activities including Family Night on Sunday, November 25, and when Santa and Mrs. Claus are going to be around to hear your Christmas wishes.WPS Garden of Lights
Watch the Weather
WPS Garden of Lights is a completely outdoor light display so remember to keep an eye on the weekend forecast. If you think the weather will be nice, hundreds of others who want to see the lights will think so, too. Warmer weather = more people at the Garden.
Also, remember to dress appropriately for the weather. Sometimes there’s snow, sometimes there’s slush and other times Wisconsin gets blasted with arctic air. There are both paved and mulch paths, but with the possibility of snow, we recommend bundling up and wearing boots.
Lights Aren’t the Only Thing to See
The light displays aren’t the only thing we get to see at the Garden. Make sure you get a photo with Santa, ask Mrs. Claus who her favorite reindeer is, grab a candy cane from one of the elves, get a gift for the Garden lover in your life at the WPS Trellis Gift Shop and check out the Garden-Gagers breathtaking model train collections in the Cornerstone Foundation Hall.
We also have two natural holiday trees, one in the Fischer Visitor Center and the other near the Cornerstone Foundation Hall. These aren’t your typical evergreens either… they’re decorated with completely natural plants, flowers or other items found in the Garden! We, along with several dedicated volunteers, naturally dry the materials and make the decorations from scratch.
Plenty of Photo Spots
Whether you’re looking for that social media snap or a scenic backdrop for a quick family photo, we have a wide variety of photo opportunities. While the Caterpillar is a beloved photo tradition, it can get a bit congested because it’s a favorite. Here are some other fantastic spots we recommend:
- 50-foot tree
- Icicle Forest
- Stumpf Belvedere
- Fischer Overlook Arbor
- Santa’s Big Red Chair
- Natural Holiday Trees in the Visitor Center (We recommend between 7-9 pm)
We also have two selfie stations! One will be located on the Mabel Thome Patio outside the lower level of the Fischer Visitor Center and the other will be on the sidewalk between the Fischer Overlook Arbor and the Concessions building. Make sure to look out for teasers for next summer’s Butterflies & Blooms exhibit!
It’s Our Biggest Fundraiser of the Year
For many years now, WPS Garden of Lights has been considered our biggest fundraiser of the year! We are a 100% community supported nonprofit so by coming to this event, you help ensure we can continue our mission to connect plants and people from year to year.
Also, we have more than 300 volunteers that fill almost 1,000 shifts and graciously give their time during the season to make your holidays merry and bright. Without them, we couldn’t do half of what we do – prep, setup, nightly activities – for WPS Garden of Lights!Sign Up to Volunteer
A few other things we want you to know:
- Come on Sundays. They tend to be less busy, especially when there’s a Green Bay Packers game. 7-8:30 pm is usually not as busy.
- We’ll have hot cocoa and other drinks (including alcoholic beverages) along with plenty of concessions food available for purchase. No beverage or food carry-ins are allowed.
- The Horse-drawn Wagon ride is only the lower level portion of the entire display show. Attendees will need to walk in order to get to the start of the wagon tour. Golf cart rides from the Fischer Visitor Center to the horse-drawn wagon pickup and drop off area are available for those unable to walk on the paved path.
Want updates about WPS Garden of Lights throughout the season? Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or keep an eye on our event updates web page. You can also find more information on our frequently asked questions web page.