GardenFest of Lights
TIPS FOR VISITING GARDENFEST
HOW TO FIND THE GARDEN
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond, Virginia (23228). We’re on the corner of Lakeside Avenue and Hilliard Road in Henrico County. The Garden entrance is off of Lakeside Avenue. More about hours, admission and directions.
DO YOU WALK OR DRIVE THROUGH THE LIGHTS?
GardenFest is a walk-through show. We encourage guests to dress accordingly with good footwear and weather-appropriate clothing. We do have wheelchairs and strollers but they are only available on a first-come, first-served basis.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE THE LIGHTS?
Depends on how much you want to see! We advise guests allow AT LEAST an hour for their GardenFest visit (this would mean arriving by 9 p.m. since GardenFest ends at 10 p.m.). For those who don’t want a lot of walking, there is much to see in the Central Garden (between the Visitors Center and Conservatory); however, there are many lights along the Garden’s pathways and in the Children's Garden for those who want to "experience it all!".
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
Again, it depends on your preferences. The number of visitors increases as we get closer to Dec. 25, especially once local schools get out. As you’d imagine, visitation is usually greater on the weekends and is also highly weather dependent. (Please remember we are closed Dec. 24 & 25.) GardenFest of Lights runs til Jan. 7.
WHAT ABOUT PARKING?
Parking is free and available on-site. However, as mentioned above, the number of visitors increases as the season progresses. We do not have unlimited parking and sometimes there may be a wait for a parking space. If you see a long line at the intersection of Lakeside and Hilliard, you may want to allow 30 minutes or so and come back. We post signs saying "30 Minute Wait for Parking" to let people know the lots are full.
If you are meeting people at the Garden, please be aware that on busy nights there can be a lot of people in the Visitors Center; you may want to carpool or have a plan ahead of time about meeting up.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS AVAILABLE AT GARDENFEST?
The Garden Cafe offers casual dining (including a children's menu) as well as drinks and snacks. The Tea House has holiday dinners and a children's menu (5 - 8 p.m.) and , light fare (8 - 9 p.m.) during GardenFest ; see menu & pricing. In the Children's Garden, Espresso-A-Go-Go sells hot drinks, cookies and s'mores. Espresso-A-Go-Go accepts cash and checks. A s'more's kit cost $3 and makes two s'mores.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE WEATHER IS BAD?
Our guests' safety is our number one priority. We close GardenFest in cases of extreme inclement weather and notices will be posted on our website and phone message system. We do not close if it is simply raining. If guests would like a break from the elements, we do have indoor displays in the Education and Library Complex and Conservatory.
WHAT'S HELPFUL TO KNOW IF I AM BRINGING CHILDREN?
- GardenFest of Lights is a family-friendly event! If you are bringing small children, please note there is walking involved, so you may want to bring a stroller. We do have a limited number of strollers available, but they are on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Since much of the show is outdoors, it's also a good idea to dress children according to the weather.
- Come early!
- There is a kid-friendly menu in the Garden Cafe.
- Children especially enjoy the train displays -- we have two! -- one in fhe Education and Library Complex and one in the Conservatory.
- The Children's Garden is a must with a bonfire, a maze of lights, and a wheelchair accessible Tree House 13 feet off the ground! Hot drinks, cookies, s'more and more are available for purchase in the Children's Garden.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE ADMISSION? ARE THERE ANY DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE?
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a non-profit organization. Our mission is education and our passion is connecting people and plants to improve our community. Learn more about who we are and what we do.
We're not in the money-making business, but we must have income in order to continue operating. This income comes through areas such as admission, membership, Garden Shop sales, facility rentals and fundraising. We must earn 70% of our income (only 30% comes from endowment) so we have to work hard in order to be operational. While we are grateful for the funding received through sponsorships and grants, these amounts are not enough to cover expenses. Also, we do not rely on government funding to operate.
GardenFest of Lights is a wonderful event, but it is only a part of what we do. We hope those visiting for GardenFest will come back throughout the year and experience the wonder of the Garden at other times. If you do plan more than one visit to the Garden this year, you may want to consider Garden Membership as it can be more cost effective.
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.)
RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH PRESS PASS
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
Visitors 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.