Pinellas Switches on Holiday Lights in the Gardens
More than one million lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens add extra sparkle to the holiday season.
PINELLAS COUNTY – The Florida Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Lights in the Gardens opens Friday (Nov. 25) evening.
Featuring more than one million lights, the family-friendly annual event offers visitors the perfect way to experience the magic of the holiday season. Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be held nightly from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday through Dec. 31. A donation of $4 per person, ages 13 and over, is suggested.
Since 2000, the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation and the Pinellas County Parks Department have brought the magic of the holidays to residents and visitors with the Holiday Lights event. Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation volunteer board members work throughout the year to design and plan this Florida-style holiday wonderland, and hundreds of community volunteers welcome guests at the entrances, plan schedules and provide other invaluable support.
The Holiday Lights is the foundation’s largest fundraising event of the year. Every dollar raised goes to maintenance and improvements to the gardens, as well as maintaining and bringing new, exciting displays for next year’s Holiday Lights event.
With nearly 70,000 visitors last year, the holiday event continues growing as a perennial favorite for residents and visitors of the Tampa Bay area. Now with more than one million environmentally-friendly LED and laser lights, the gardens are transformed into an even more stunning holiday wonderland filled with favorite seasonal and Florida-style displays around every bend of Pinellas County’s 35-acre botanical treasure.
Along with the light displays, a wide variety of skilled volunteer entertainers will delight visitors with their talents, including ballet dance troupes, local choral groups, and musicians performing jazz, bluegrass and folk. Visits with Santa Claus will be held every night through Dec. 23.
Food is available for sale each night and the foundation will have a holiday gift cart in addition to the specialty items for sale at the Botanical Bounty gift shop.
During the event, an up-to-date schedule of nightly entertainment will be available on the Florida Botanical Gardens’ website at flbg.org, or visitors can call the Holiday Lights hotline at (727) 582-5800 for recorded information.
A video of past Holiday Lights can be viewed at youtube.com.
Parking for the event is free. Visitors with limited mobility can gain easy access by parking at the east entrance of the gardens. Weeknight visitation is encouraged for a more leisurely experience and ample parking. Large groups traveling together by bus or van are encouraged to call ahead to assure accommodation.
Other events scheduled during the Holiday Lights include the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation gift and plant sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11.
The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. The gardens remain open from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours.
Photos courtesy of Pinellas County. The
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