Plan Your Visit
GardenFest of Lights
Calendar of Events
Some tips to help you plan your visit:
Visitation to GardenFest of Lights tends to peak before Christmas. Visitation also tends to slow after 8 p.m. (although this is not always the case on weekends.) We are closed December 24 and 25.
Parking is free. There are three parking lots and the closest spots fill up first. On busy nights (weekends and week before Christmas) you may have to search for a spot; again, we thank you in advance for your patience.
- GardenFest of Lights is a walk-through experience. We advise wearing comfortable shoes and dressing appropriately for the weather.
- The Garden has a limited number of wheelchairs available at no charge. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- For visitors not interested in extended walking or for those looking for indoor experiences, GardenFest of Lights includes displays inside the Education and Library Complex and the Conservatory -- all within close walking distance of the Visitors Center.
- Some distances: a walk from the Visitors Center to the Tea House is .10 mile (5 minute walk); from the Visitors Center to the Bloemendaal House or Children's Garden is .24 mile (12 minute walk).
Families with Small Children
- Since some walking is involved, you may want to bring strollers if you have small children.
- The Garden Cafe serves kid-friendly food.
- Restrooms (many with changing tables) are available in buildings throughout the Garden.
- Merry Mondays (every Monday night throughout GardenFest) are geared toward families with the Garden Keeper telling stories in the Library (at 5:30, 6:30 & 7:30 p.m.) and Santa Sightings in the Conservatory (before Christmas).
GardenFest of Lights runs even if it is raining. The show is cancelled only in cases of severe inclement weather and notices will be posted to the website and recorded on the Garden's main phone line.
Food (including dinner, snacks, hot drinks and more) are available for purchase in the Garden Cafe (open 5- 8:30 p.m.) Hot drinks, cookies, s'mores and more are also available for purchase in the Children's Garden. (S'mores can be toasted at the firepit in the Children's Garden.) The Garden also serves dinner in the Tea House through Dec. 31; the reservation line is (804) 262-9887, ext. 329.
Why Do We Charge Admission?
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a non-profit organization focused on public education. 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.
The Garden's "reason for being" is to help make this world a better place by educating people (including thousands of schoolchildren each year) about the importance of plants and the natural world in our lives. 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 membership as it can be more cost effective.
We do realize these are tough economic times for many and are offering the following:
Couponing and Discounts
- Look for Press Pass coupons in the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Weekend Section with a "buy one, get one free" GardenFest ticket offer.
*Since GardenFest of Lights is considered a separate "ticketed" event, discounts such as AAA and the Entertainment Book do not apply.
Tickets for Need-Based Organizations
The Garden has some tickets available for need-based organizations. Please be aware this is a limited number and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To qualify, an organization must submit a request in writing on letterhead and fax to (804) 553-3178. Requests must be received at least five business days before the planned visit. The Garden reserves the right to turn down requests based on the availability of tickets.
Facts About GardenFest
How many years have we been doing this? When do we begin putting up the lights? And much, much more!