There’s something about twinkling lights that soothes my soul. So I was excited to head to Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens this past Sunday with my family to cap off our Thanksgiving weekend. My favorite aspect of this holiday light display is that it is a walk-through experience. I feel like walking through the lights brings a more magical touch to the experience.
Brookside Gardens opens at 5:30 p.m. nightly and from what I hear can get crowded especially on weekends. With that, I’d recommend a visit during the weekday if you can swing it or head over later in the evening on a weekend. Even if you have to wait in a line to get into the main parking lot, pop in some holiday music and have some good old family chat time.
Once you get through the gate to park (note: you can enter at the Visitors Center entrance or the Conservatories entrance), find a parking spot and off you go.
You’ll start your journey passing by the Children’s Garden (you can also opt to visit this first; but we choose to return through this section). Head down the path through the Giant Caterpillar, which was a hit for our family. Continue your walk through more than a million lights that sparkle and shine, many that have been created into art forms like frogs, Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster), flowers, a thunderstorm and even a giraffe.
A highlight especially for one member of our party, was a visit through the Conservatory where you can watch G-Scale model trains chug along. Look for the table in the conservatory which has a scavenger hunt that kids can take part in while viewing the train exhibit. There’s a section where you can view trains (including Thomas) wind their way through a village. There’s another section that is elevated that has scenes from the area (Glen Echo Park, the Georgetown Car Barn, etc.), along with some historical fun facts about the buildings. One recommendation — I’d love to see the signs with historical details a little larger and more easy to read.
After you’ve had your fill of trains, exit the Conservatory and make your way back towards the Visitors Center where you can enjoy some treats as well as holiday music. You can find a full list of entertainment online.
So bundle up and spend some quality time with family this holiday season. You’ll certainly enjoy a visit to Garden of Lights.
Things to Note:
- Garden of Lights is open daily until January 1, 2018 (closed December 24 and 25). Sunday to Thursday: 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Vehicles are admitted up until 30 minutes before closing time each evening.
- Admission is $25 per car/van (advance and Su-Th) and $30 per car/van Fr-Sat.
- Dress for the weather! You’ll spend at least 45 minutes in the gardens if not more.
- Food (hot cocoa, cider, sandwiches, soups) is available for purchase in the Visitors Center. You can also purchase a S’more kit ($6) and head to the outdoor fire pit to enjoy. There are also two gift shops with cute garden-themed items that would make nice presents.
- The larger parking lot is the one by the Visitors Center, so keep that in mind.
- Pedestrians are not admitted for safety reasons, so be sure to arrive by car.
- Bring your stroller as most of the walkway is paved. There are some steps, but there are ramps, so it is very easy to get around.
Photos courtesy of Our Kids LLC.