LARGO — One of Pinellas’ favorite winter attractions, Holiday Lights in the Gardens, opens the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, and remains open through Sunday, Jan. 2.
The event is held at the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road and 12211 Walsingham Road in Largo. The lights are on from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Cost is a suggested donation of $10 a person over age 13. Credit cards and cash are accepted.
Prepare to experience the wonder of 1 million twinkling LED lights in a multitude of colors, along with laser lights and lighted figures throughout the gardens. Holiday Lights in the Gardens is a treat for all ages.
The Train Guys will be back again for the opening weekend. The model trains will surround an 18-foot evergreen tree, bedecked in nature-inspired splendor, in the heart of the Wedding Garden.
To add to the sights and sounds, Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation, sponsor of the big event, has arranged for a variety of local volunteers to perform nightly. St. Pete Concessions also will return with food, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages for sale.
The foundation announced that it would no longer be hosting Santa, but visitors are encouraged to check out Santa Saturdays at neighboring Heritage Village. The foundation will welcome the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscaping Association this year, as well as Pinellas County Farm Bureau, who will be sponsoring a children’s candy cane area, which will include free kids’ crafts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Creative Pinellas hosts its annual arts exhibit from Nov. 11 through Dec. 19th. The public is invited to visit the gallery, located off the Walsingham entrance. Admission is free, Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 pm.
Parking is limited and guests are encouraged to come early or visit on the weeknights.
The Gardens are handicapped-accessible. Parking, including handicapped parking, is available at the Green Turtle Entrance, 12211 Walsingham Road. Most walkways are ADA compliant, allowing access for wheelchairs, walkers and strollers. However, no wheelchairs or scooters are available.
Additional parking will be available at the Snowflake, Poinsettia and Blue Heron entrances. Groups are encouraged to contact the office in advance. Leashed pets are welcome at any time, but its best that visits with pets take place on weeknights when the gardens are less crowded.
In addition to its regular operating hours, the Botanical Bounty Gift Shop will be open nightly for holiday shopping. New this year is the Botanical Bounty Pop Up, located outside of the children's candy cane area. A gift and plant sale is scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for even more local vendors. A select group of vendors will make an appearance at Holiday Lights in the Gardens for preview on Friday, Dec. 10.
The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation invites local businesses and individuals to show their support for the family-friendly event by becoming sponsors. Businesses and individuals can sponsor a garden entrance, a holiday lights display or be included on the sponsor board. Call 727-582-2117 to create a package tailored to your needs.