One of our favorite things to do in December is check out all of the beautiful holiday lights. Because the highways are especially crowed with Christmas shoppers, we like to take the back way home from work to see the beautiful displays decorating homes, stores, shopping centers, and streets. However, we always feel the need to also see a big light show done by the professionals. There are so many to choose from in DC, Maryland, and Virginia – we had no trouble finding them for our list of holiday fun! So last Wednesday we headed to Vienna, Virginia to check out Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights.
As we had never been to a walking light show or to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, we were not sure what to expect. When we pulled up to the entrance of the botanical gardens, we were greeted by beautiful trees decorated with hundreds of lights. A regiment of nutcrackers guided us to the entrance of the visitor center where we were able start our journey. This set a festive mood for the light show before it even began!
The walk around the botanical gardens is only a little over a half mile, but it took us a good 45 minutes to enjoy the 500,000 lights. So many trees are dressed up with festive colors, showcasing the plant life already present in the botanical gardens. Displays included flowers, animals, holly fields, and even a stream with jumping fish! About half way through the trail, there is a mini light show that blinks in sync to popular holiday music. It is only a few minutes long and runs continuously so everyone has a chance to see it – or watch it twice! In addition to the nature inspired displays, there are also holiday favorites such as candy canes, carolers, and a gingerbread house.
Overall, we were really impressed with the attention to detail at Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights. The path is winding and the displays are designed to work well together no matter where you are on the path. This makes the walk through the gardens feel like you are exploring a magical forest instead of just walking from display to display. This event is great for all ages – we saw plenty of families enjoying the sights to couples out on a romantic date. While there were many people there the night of our visit, we never felt crowded or rushed. At the end of trail, you can warm up by the fire pit – bring some extra cash if you would like to purchase hot chocolate, coffee, or marshmallows for roasting!
If you are also plant lover and enjoy seeing the gardens in season, the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is open daily year round. There is an entrance fee of $5:00 for adults over 18 and $2.50 for children and seniors over 55. Children under 6 are free. Parts of the property can also be rented for wedding ceremonies, receptions, or other special events. Hours vary by season so check the website before you go. Admission to the Winter Walk of Lights does not require the entrance fee. You can find prices for the light show below or on the website.
2016 Update: Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is open nightly from November 18 to January 8. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
Families, date night, holiday fun
Winter Walk of Lights Ticket Prices
Children (2-12): $8
Under 3: Free
Visit Monday to Thursday for a $1 discount (when purchased online). Tickets are timed entry and there are a limited number of tickets available at the door so be sure to buy them in advance!
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court
Vienna, VA 22182