Winter Lights is an event at the NC Arboretum for the holiday season, and is just magical. It is a major fundraiser for their programs and exhibits, and you can attend any evening in December through the 31st. We went on the last warm night before the recent cold snap and snow fall to enjoy almost 500,000 LED lights. Tickets are only available online and members get a discount, see the exhibit information at Winter Lights. No affiliation, just fun.
The first view of the thousands of lights is in the parking lot, where the trees are lit in red, green, purple and blue.
This light show was called Twinkling Topiaries.
The blue orbs turned green after a moment, then red and back to blue.
The gumdrop lined path led through a red and green lit covered bridge.
White lights drew the visitor onward to see what was next.
As we got near to the quilt garden (I’ve shown this when it was in bloom last spring), we heard Christmas music.
A light show was synchronized to the music, with the quilt blocks flashing in colors lighting up the star patterns. This show was called Dream Quilt.
It was enchanting to watch!
The large Tree of Light, two columns and wall of lights behind it were also changing as the music played.
So fun we stayed there for several songs, just watching the light show and enjoying the music.
Finally, moving on to the Shimmering Stream part of the show, all white lights cascade from the trees.
There were Reindeer Games, a couple of fun things to play with. One was a tic-tac-toe game, where you touched a button on the board and it lit up a square on the game lights. We played one game, with DH playing with green lights, and I was the white snowflake ones. I won.
Snowflake Way was a covered light walkway with snowflakes hanging above.
Candy canes and lollipops adorned Rock Candy Cottage.
If you were cold, the Cocoa Shack had hot beverages.
Still on exhibit now is a really fun indoor exhibit called Wicked Plants, all about poisonous and prickly plants that can harm. Set inside a run-down Victorian home, there are fun interactive things to see, and a really interesting ‘murder mystery’ inside one of the rooms. You looked around the room and tried to figure out how the victim died. DH and I did the mystery, looking at the ‘clues’ and examining the ‘corpse’. There is a cabinet in the room with printer’s trays in it. When you think you have solved the mystery, you pull out the top tray. Depending on the answer to the question, you pull out another tray lettered B through E. That tray will tell you if you are right or not. We got it right. I pulled out one of the other trays to see what it said, and it told the reader to go look again. Wicked Plants will be on exhibit until January 7.
Back outside, there were three firepits where you could stop and get warm.
There were lit figures here and there, like this blue heron. There were more but this was the only photo that came out well. It is very hard to get good pictures of lights at night.
Some of the Bonsai trees had lights too. These were brought into a greenhouse area to protect them from the harsh cold.
Another one had blue and white lights.
Back out to the parking area, we headed home after a very fun evening.
We are planning to see the Lake Julian show before the season is over. I like these smaller light shows in natural settings better than the huge ones with lines of traffic winding through parking lots. Happy Hanukkah for my readers celebrating the Festival of Lights this week.
Do you enjoy light shows like this? Are there any near you this holiday season?
23 thoughts on “Winter Lights”
beautiful, will forward to my quilting friends, a new way to show off a quilt pattern I like it.
What a beautifully magical fairyland. I adore the bird.
I do enjoy light shows like this. There are none in our community but my daughter said there are some near them they want to take us to during our Christmas visit. Im looking forward to it. The wicked plants mystery sounded fun. Thanks for sharing this light show with us. 🙂
Thanks for sharing another wonderful event, Carole! You did a great job of capturing lights at night – not any easy task. Thank goodness for LED lights – they make the electric bill for displays like this so much more tolerable :-). We have nothing similar in our area besides the neighborhood coordinated displays, but even they are 90 miles away.
What a fantastic show of lights. So many beautiful displays it’s hard to say which one I liked the best. The quilt pattern displays were so good and done in the festive colors. I like to watch the display wars on
T.V. which is tonight if I’ not mistaken. Use to watch the inlet way in Miami years ago when the decorated boats would go by. Got to get started on some more of my cookie baking so have a great day.
That is a spectacular display, and some fun things to do as well! Our free park, Story Book Island is all lit up for the holidays, with admission going to the Community Food Pantry. We haven’t been since our kids were tiny, so we are going this week while Girl #1 is home!
Magnificent, the drooping trees, the walkway, the games, and the quilt, WOW!!!!!
Hello Carole; What a marvelous light show! I have always loved Christmas lights, my Dad always took us out for an evening of looking at the houses all decorated with lights. If there was a special exhibit we would go to that also. But usually the places that we have lived have never had anything extra like this light show. I will miss those special evening trips with him! You did however take superb pictures of all of the lights that you shared here! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing each and every one of them, almost as if I were there also. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful light display with us! Have a great day!
Wow, what a great show. Around here, the big light show set up is licensed characters on flat backs. Sort of pathetic. The quilt was fantastic!!
Carole, how beautiful and magical! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Yes indeed we do love Christmas light shows like this, we have had some in the past. Not sure if they are there this year or not. Thank you for sharing this one with us!
LOVE the lights!!! Thanks for taking the time to photograph and post.
Absolutely gorgeous!! What a magical way to spend an evening!!
How magical Carole! Merry Christmas!
Your photos were stunning. I’m so glad to have seen them, because we are not likely to get there in person.
I like the lights. Phoenix Zoo has zoo lights. The Mesa Mormon temple has a very large light display. And the Red Mountain Community Church (Mesa, AZ) has a smaller, more intimate light display which I really, really like.
My goodness! What a spectacular display! How I loved the Heron.
These Christmas lights are dazzling! Thanks so much for sharing them!
I’ve never seen any lights like that, but I think I would love it! Thanks for sharing. You got some great pictures.
Missed this one.
Stunning light show. It looks amazing. Looks like you have a lovely night to view it, too.
How far from Charlotte is the arboretum?
Oh wow! That is so beautiful. I have heard about Winter Lights since I have family that lives in the Carolinas but we’ve never been.
Carole, these light displays are so beautiful! What a magical event! My family and I enjoy driving through our neighborhood to view all the Christmas lights, but we don’t have anything like this near us. I bet my kids would just love that…especially with the music being synchronized. Thank you for sharing at this month’s Take Me Away party! Happy New Year!
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