One of the things that I love about Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is that it is a light tour where you walk. This is the third time that I’ve taken my family to visit the light display over the course of its 5-year run and it never fails to please all ages. This year we went the day after Thanksgiving with a group of 14. With that large of a group, it was hard to stay together, but we managed to link back up with each other at various points along the path.
Northern Virginia Regional Parks really puts on a beautiful light show. With over 500,000 LED lights, there is a display for everyone. Did you know that it takes 3 months to install all of the lights and displays in the garden?
The lights are nature-themed and displays include a fairy garden and a garden with flowers and cute beehive with bees buzzing about (our beekeepers favorite). Trees are decked out with all different colors of lights, there’s a stream with fish jumping through the water, squirrels hopping through the trees, Holly Berry Hill, a tunnel that kids in particular will enjoy walking through and lots of other displays.
Our group’s favorite has to be the light show that is set to holiday tunes. Grab a seat on one of the benches (we hope more will be put out in the future), take a break and relax in good company. There is a beautiful backdrop against the water and the light display of stars out in the distance were enchanting.
Round out your visit with a stop at the refreshment stand on the Garden Plaza. They sell hot chocolate, coffee, hot cider and other food items. You can also purchase a s’more kit and roast your marshmallows at the fire pit. On the day we were there, there was a large crowd at the refreshment stand and fire pit, so we skipped this section. This seems like something fun to add on to your visit and I would imagine that crowds would be much lighter on weeknights earlier in December.
Additional Information and Tips
- Bundle up and enjoy the fresh air. Be sure to bring gloves, a hat, scarves, warm footwear and blankets for little ones in strollers.
- Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is open daily through Sunday, January 8, 2016 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. They are open on Christmas and New Year’s as well.
- Order your tickets online, it’s the cheapest option. On weeknights, tickets are $7 for ages 3 to 12 and $12 for ages 13 and up. On weekends and holidays, tickets are $8 for ages 3 to 12 and $13 for ages 13 and up. Ticket prices increase if you purchase at the door. ** Note: as a special thank you to first responders, teachers and military, there are appreciation nights where they receive free admission with one paying customer.
- Ask for a Scavenger Hunt form at the Visitor Center desk. If you complete the form and turn it in, you can get a sweet holiday sticker.
- If you’re in the market for sparkly, festive gifts, visit the Snowflake Shoppe in the Visitors Center.
- Bathrooms are available in the Visitors Center and there are port-o-potties at about mid-way in the walk. We thought it was a cute touch to see the port-o-potties aglow with lights to guide you.
- If you’re not a regular in this neighborhood, check the map before you go so that you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. The roads are very dark and curvy at night and apparently during rush hour get congested.
Enter to Win
Enter to win a family 4-pack of passes good for entry into the Winter Walk of Lights during the 2016 season. This giveaway begins on December 2, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. and ends on December 8, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries on December 9, 2016 and notified shortly thereafter. The winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize.
Photos and video courtesy of Our Kids