Lights are arguably the most iconic part of the holidays – decking the halls, the trees, and the whole city. Atlanta Botanical Garden is no different, hosting one of the biggest light shows of the year, the Garden Lights: Holiday Nights.
Although the Garden Lights takes place in the late fall to early winter, the Garden staff work on the light show year-round, according to Emily Saccenti, Exhibitions Manager.
“We do a lot of pre-planning and idea brainstorming in spring, prep work in the summer and installation begins early August,” Saccenti said. “We do research into new lighting products and technology every year and we visit other light shows annually to see what works or doesn’t work in other garden settings.”
The Garden has incorporated lights that have always been a tradition in the park, such as The Orchestral Orbs on the Great Lawn, the miniature trains, and the lights along Crape Myrtle Allee. Meanwhile, the lights on the White Rabbit from this summer’s exhibition, Alice’s Wonderland, are completely new.
Upon entering, guests can purchase light-up necklaces, 3D glasses, which provide a fun hologram effect, and wine to start off the night.
The railroad crossing makes a stop for the Model Trains station for children and adults with child-like wonder. In addition to teeny-tiny homes, there are several celebrity sightings by the one and only Thomas the Tank Engine. While children gaze at the trains, adults can partake in wine tastings or roast s’mores over an open fire.
There are also multiple Instagram-able moments in the Garden, including the Decoration Station, where you can dress your own cut-out snowman or gingerbread man, in the Model Trains and the old school polaroid in the Kiss Me Arch.
The landscape sculptures, including the Botanical Bears, Poinsettia Tree, and the mighty Ice Goddess, were marveled by guests Traveling through tunnels, there are plenty of places to run through and marvel at, feeling the wonders of the holidays with the crisp air.
If you need a break from all the excitement, you can rest up and eat at the Garden’s Longleaf restaurant (with a reservation), Quick Cafe, Snack Bar or Skylights Lounge.
The Tunnel of Light leads up to Nature’s Wonders, where the world’s largest curtain with over 150,000 string lights synchronize with music. The usage of natural sounds is so life-like as if Santa is hiding somewhere in the Garden. Lights dribble up and down to emulate snow falling.
People stood in amazement while watching the lights like a laser show, dreaming of having lights like this in their own home. It’s being in a whole other world. Most important of all, the string lights are the perfect show to watch while you’re in line to enter or leave the Gardens.
“Nature’s Wonders debuted in 2017 and quickly became a visitor favorite tradition,” Saccenti said. “To keep Nature’s Wonders exciting, it features an all-new soundtrack and updated lighting choreography this year.”
Leading up to the end of a de”light”ful event, the Garden Gift Shop shows you out. With an array of ornaments, candles, and souvenirs, there are plenty of options to choose from for someone who loves the Gardens.
If you’re interested in attending the Garden Lights, you can purchase tickets online at atlantabg.org or at the Garden Admissions. Revenue generated by Garden Lights goes to support the Garden’s mission which is “to develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research, and enjoyment.” The Lights will be showing from 5pm to 11pm until Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.