Dominion Gardenfest of Lights: A Richmond Holiday Must-See

Our boys having a rare non-violent moment at the Gardens.

We love our annual visit to the Gardenfest of Lights. The smell of wood crackling in the fire, the twinkling of the lights, the . . .whining of my five-year

Very tired five-year old and her Grammy, sharing a moment at Gardenfest of Lights.

old wanting to be held. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Gardenfest of Lights 2012 courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

Seriously, I’ve been having the toughest time getting into the holiday spirit and this was the perfect way to kick the tryptophan-induced couch-lazing and kicking it up a notch. We met my mom at the gate at 6pm and we weren’t the only ones who had this fabulous idea: the place was packed, so be prepared. It’s still worth the crowd-wading.

loved the East Meets West themed tree.

Not only did we see a few new additions from last year–we really loved the “East Meets West” theme–especially since my boys are into Japanese anime. The details were amazing, for example this shot on the right is of the grand tree, complete with kimonos.

The highlight of the night was the giant train table. Complete with buttons that will allow kids to light up certain areas on the track, it lets them feel like part of the action (but the giant clear-glass guard makes sure they don’t mess up all of that beautiful track.)

Highly recommend the gigantic train exhibit, complete with kid-friendly buttons.

It was so mesmerizing it made my five-year old forget how tired her legs were, and that she had to go to the bathroom for the third time. Completely.

And, if you’re a member of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, you can take advantage of free member nights 11/26/12-11/28/12 and 1/7/12.

There are also discounts as follows:

The following coupons will be available during GardenFest. They are not valid in combination with any other offers. (Please note the Garden’s AAA discount does not apply for GardenFest because GardenFest is considered a special ticketed event.)


Visitors can present the press pass coupon and get a “buy one, get one free” ticket (adult, senior, child & member) on select nights only. Coupon must be presented at the Garden’s Visitors Center for discount, no photocopies accepted, no other discounts apply, one free admission per coupon. “Free” ticket must be equal or lesser value.
Press pass coupon runs in Thursday Weekend section; is good for the following Sunday ONLY on these dates ONLY:

Runs: Thursday, Nov. 22; VALID Sunday, Nov. 25
Runs: Thursday, Nov. 29; VALID Sunday, Dec. 2
Runs: Thursday, Dec. 6; VALID Sunday, Dec. 9
Runs: Thursday, Jan. 3; VALID Sunday, Jan. 6

VALPAKVisitors can present the Metro Richmond area ValPak coupon and receive $3 off one GardenFest ticket (adult, senior, child; does not apply to members). Good Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, 2012. Offer valid with coupon only. One coupon per person. May not be used in combination with any other discounts including member discounts. No photocopies.

Many thanks to Lewis Ginter for our tickets to visit this year. We had a blast.

Kate Hall

Kate Hall is the Founder of and author of Richmond Rocks and Richmond Rocks Spooky Sequel, two fun history books for kids. She has three children ages eleven to six and is truly appreciative of the 185,000 + visitors who visit the blog every year, and for the amazing team of writers who create unique, valuable content. Kate is thrilled to have created a cool place for Richmond, VA parents to learn, grow, and share while supporting local charities.

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