UPDATE DEC. 18, 2017: Win a set of passes to this beautiful event! See details below!
By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
“Walking in a winter wonderland” is possible nearly every day this holiday season in Northern Virginia — and snow is not required. If you want to experience a true wonderland this winter, a visit to the beautiful Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is a must-do activity.
This annual lights display takes hundreds of thousands of lights to create illuminated sculptures that create a magical landscape. You can see the lights now through January 7, 2018, at the park in Vienna.
Winter Walk of Lights takes place each year at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, a Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) property. Here, more than half a million lights sparkle high up in the trees and on the ground, creating a garden of illuminated flowers and trees plus playful animals, snowflakes, and other nature and holiday designs. Meadowlark is a beautiful park on its own, but strolling through its paths and seeing its many trees, the gazebo, and even parts of the lawn itself light up in beautiful colors to create a magical setting. Visitors of all ages will feel as though they’re in something straight out of a story book. And the Winter Walk of Lights is such a lovely scene that it has been the site of several marriage proposals.
And although this display takes place during the holiday season, it is not a holiday show per se: the theme here is botany or flora and fauna, not Christmas, so it appeals to a more universal audience (if you love Christmas lights display, don’t worry: the drive-through Festival of Lights at Bull Run Regional Park, a sister NVRPA property, has Santa and all his friends in lights!).
Winter Walk of Lights is truly an all-ages event. Visitors from the youngest babies to senior citizens will all be in awe of this gorgeous display. I know it made an impression on our young son when we took him for the first time several years ago and he, then a toddler, suddently turned to me and out of the blue thanked me so much for bringing him there! Best of all, the looped path, just a little over a half-mile long, is an easy walk that you take at your own pace, and even on busy festival nights, there is plenty of room to walk around, so it never feels crowded. You have plenty of time to stop to enjoy the lights (some change color, some are set to music), take photos, and just enjoy the scene.
As you walk around, take time to stop by the “dancing trees” (near the gazebo) set to music, and look for photo opps. At the end of your walk, be sure to buy a kit to make s’mores by the fire pit! S’mores and a cup of hot cocoa are a nice way to treat yourself at the end of a lovely night. Back inside the visitors’ center, you can buy other treats or gift at the little shop. On select nights, you also can enjoy special activities such as face painting, nature exhibits, and holiday crafts.
This year, Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is open 5:30-10:00 p.m. every day from November 10, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Timed tickets are required and advance purchases are recommended, especially for weekends and holidays, which are the busiest days. Ticket prices are $8-$13 per person
Win passes to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights
Two winners will each receive four (4) general admission tickets to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, good for any day during the 2017-2018 operating season. These are walk-up tickets: the winners each will receive four individual tickets (good for child or adult admission) to use on any day and time, no reservations or time-ticket needed. To enter this giveaway, leave a blog post comment below before 11 pm on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. Two winners will be randomly selected and notified immediately via email at the address the winner used when placing the comment; the winner will need to respond with 24 hours to the notification email or risk forfeiture. Tickets will be mailed to the recipient via regular U.S. Postal Service mail (in-person pick-up may also be an option). This promotion is not affiliated with Facebook. Contestants agree to abide by our giveaway terms and conditions. This giveaway is open to persons ages 18 and up. Total prize value is up to $52 per prize.
Photos (c) P. Hall