Green Bay Botanical Garden will flip the switch on the 24th annual WPS Garden of Lights on Nov. 27 with three new displays, two additional nights and a host of safety measures.
The popular holiday event, which typically draws 65,000 to 75,000 people and is the garden’s biggest fundraiser, has made changes this year to ensure a safe experience during the pandemic.
Visitors will still see more than 300,000 lights in nature-inspired displays throughout the garden, including favorites like the Icicle Forest and walk-through caterpillar, but they will encounter fewer people as they travel 1½ miles of paths by foot and horse-drawn wagon.
Capacity will be limited to 2,500 visitors across the four hours the event is open each night. Tickets will need to be purchased in advance for a specific day and time to limit the number of people in the garden at once and allow for social distancing. Visitors have 30 minutes to arrive from their selected entry time.
The display this year will include new attractions. A 60-foot oak tree in the Arendt Conifer Garden will rotate through the seasons. The Johnson Woodland Garden will be home to an illuminated winter wonderland. Visitors will also notice the addition of glistening lights on trees in several areas.
What else is different this year?
Parking: Unlike previous years, in which shuttles transported crowds from nearby Northeast Wisconsin Technical College parking lots, all parking will be on site or within walking distance.
Horse-drawn wagon rides: Seating on the horse-drawn wagon rides will be limited to 10 guests per wagon and grouped by household.
Face coverings: Required for ages 2 and older on the wagons, in all garden buildings and outside when physical distancing isn’t possible.
Indoor activities: The Fischer Visitor Center will serve grab-and-go prepackaged snacks and beverages. Kids can drop off their letter to Santa. The WPS Trellis Gift Shop will be open. There will be no model train displays this year.
Hours, tickets and light-up necklaces
Garden of Lights will be open 4:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 27-29, Dec. 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 26-30 and Jan. 1-2. It will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Family Night is Nov. 29. Children 12 and younger get free walking admission with one paid adult walking reservation and receive a free take-home craft. All reservations need to be made in advance. No wagon rides on Family Night.
Tickets are on sale at gbbg.org/wpsgardenoflights. Prices vary based on value nights and peak nights and whether walking or taking a wagon ride. They start at $5 for ages 3-12 and $10 ages 13 and older.
The garden is also selling light-up daisy necklaces that dance in different colors as visitors walk through eight of the displays. They’re $12 in advance with a ticket purchase or $15 at the door.
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