Bellevue Botanical Garden presents the Garden of Lights
Hosted by the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society and in partnership with Bellevue Parks and Community Services, Garden d’Lights is the perfect holiday outing for your whole family.
Twenty-nine years of bright lights
More than half a million lights make up the intricate lighting creations that appear throughout the Garden d’Lights’ beautiful outdoor displays. About 130 volunteers donated more than 6,000 hours to bring the event to life, just in time for the holidays. Volunteer designers work almost year-round, putting together stunning lighting creations for the community to enjoy while visiting the Garden d’Lights.
In its 29th year of operation, the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society estimates that about 70,000 people will visit the Jardin des Letes this holiday season. Maybe you and your family will be one of them!
Tickets, parking and a new shuttle service
Bellevue Botanical Garden is located 20 minutes outside of Seattle. Light show tickets must be purchased in advance and parking is available on site for $5. You can also park for free at Wilburton Park, a few blocks away.
Don’t drive into town? Take BellHop, a new free, 100% electric on-demand transportation service. Download the app and request transportation to your destination. Service areas vary, so be sure to check the map before booking.
The park paths are designated for foot traffic only, so leave your stroller and strollers at home. Bring snacks and hot chocolate or purchase from the vendor at Shorts House. Restrooms are available at the entrance to the gardens.
Search for light screens
If you’ve ever visited the Bellevue Botanical Garden during the day, you know that this large museum displays meticulously cared for plants, flowers, shrubs and trees of many varieties. At Garden d’Lights, families will find all kinds of plants, animals and other fun features throughout the garden, including a dragonfly, ladybug, peacock, rabbit, frog, owl and jellyfish. Those who regularly attend the holiday light display will have to keep their eyes open for new features this year — a goose, a scarecrow, a tropical bird and a squirrel.
Download a scavenger hunt map when you arrive at the event to help guide your visit and use it as a fun activity for the whole family. The scavenger hunt features more than 30 items that you can locate as you make your way through the garden path.
Fun evenings and activities
“Older children may want to test their knowledge of what plants are made of lights,” notes Darcy McInnis, communications director for the Bellevue Botanic Garden Society. “Every plant is botanically correct, so it’s fun to try to figure out what each plant is.”
On some evenings, visitors can enjoy live music near the trailhead. Visitors can purchase a warm drink or snack around the halfway point each evening. See the website for more details on the entertainment schedule.
We took our grandparents and our four-year-olds to the Garden d’Lights on the cold Sunday after Thanksgiving. Although there were timed tickets, the event was very crowded. Mondays and Wednesdays are less crowded, McInnis says, and the week before Christmas is the busiest. However, it was not too crowded to enjoy. We saw all the exhibits throughout the park. With a little patience, we waited our turn to see some of the most popular features and made sure our little ones wouldn’t get ahead of us with excitement.
The children walked along the path and we all found different plants and animals. We spent time pointing out different features to each other, taking photos, and enjoying the lights around us.
It took us about 20 to 25 minutes to get through the well marked path, and it was easy on the legs of our younger and older group.
We had a great time at the event and thought it was the perfect time for everyone in our group to get out and take part in something festive. I hope you’ll consider a family outing to Bellevue Botanical Garden for a fun holiday experience this season!
Know before you go:
• Tickets must be purchased in advance. They are specified by date and time. Book your tickets here.
• The event runs until December 31 (it is closed on Christmas Day). First entry is at 4:30pm each day, final entry time varies by day.
• Children aged 10 years or younger are free. Tickets are $8 per person for children 11 and older.
• Check out the $5-per-person nights, which run Monday-Thursday for the first two weeks of the event (November 27-30, and December 4-7).
• The trail is ¾ mile so wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
• Estimated time to see the lights is 30-45 minutes.
• There is an on-site vendor selling drinks and snacks.
• Park in the Botanical Garden Lot for $5, or 1/4 mile away at Wilburton Hill Park for free.
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