More than one million twinkling lights turn Florida Botanical Gardens into wonderland.
The Florida Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Lights in the Gardens continues to be a must-see holiday tradition. The family-friendly annual event, now in its 18th year, offers visitors the perfect way to experience the magic of the holiday season. This year’s Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be held from Friday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Dec. 31, every evening from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. A donation of $4 per person ages 13 and over is suggested, with all proceeds going to fund the maintenance and upkeep of the Gardens year-round.
With nearly 85,000 visitors last year, the holiday event continues growing as a perennial favorite for residents and visitors of the Tampa Bay area. New this year, the addition of a synchronized light and music display will have visitors dancing along with the dancing lights. Laser and LED lights complete the transformation of the gardens into a stunning holiday wonderland filled with favorite seasonal and Florida-style displays around every bend of Pinellas County’s 35-acre botanical treasure.
This year, visitors will be treated to theme nights, every Monday through Wednesday.
- Monday evenings are “Paws Nights,” where visitors can bring their four-legged friends decked out in their holiday finery to stroll the gardens.
- Tuesday evenings will be “Tripod Tuesdays,” where professional and amateur photographers alike can capture the lights and share their best photos.
- Wednesday evenings are “Wacky Wednesdays,” where visitors can come dressed in their wackiest holiday sweaters, ties, hats and socks and pose for fun-filled selfies among the Holiday Lights to be the envy of their social media friends and family.
Along with the light displays, a wide variety of skilled volunteer entertainers will delight visitors with their talents, including ballet dance troupes, local choral groups, and musicians performing jazz, bluegrass and folk. Visits with Santa Claus will be held every night through Dec. 23.
Food and beverages, including funnel cakes, ice cream and hot chocolate, are available for sale each night and the Foundation will have a holiday gift cart in addition to the specialty items for sale at the Botanical Bounty gift shop.
During the event, an up-to-date schedule of nightly entertainment will be available on the Florida Botanical Gardens’ website at www.flbgfoundation.org, or visitors can call the Holiday Lights hotline at (727) 582-5800 for recorded information.
The Holiday Lights is the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year. Every dollar raised goes to maintenance and improvements to the gardens, as well as maintaining and bringing new, exciting displays for next year’s Holiday Lights event.
A video of past Holiday Lights can be viewed at www.youtube.com/pcctv1.
Other events scheduled during the Holiday Lights include the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation gift and plant sale on Sunday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Parking for the event is free. The main entrance for Holiday Lights in the Gardens is located at 12211 Walsingham Road in Largo, with additional parking at the 12520 Ulmerton Road entrance. Visitors with limited mobility can gain easy access by parking at the Walsingham Road entrance of the gardens. Weeknight visitation is encouraged for a more leisurely experience and ample parking. Large groups traveling together by bus or van are encouraged to call ahead to assure accommodation.
The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. Normal operating hours are from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours. For more information, visit www.flbg.org or call (727) 582-2100.