The NC Arboretum Creates a Magical Wonderland of Lights
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Beautiful! Colorful! Unique! Arriving at Winter Lights is like driving in to a Wonderland of Lights. Lights of green, orange and blue illuminate the bare trees creating a magical feel in the parking lot. At the Winter Welcome Center, the Mixa family (four adults and 2 children -Lucy age 4 & Louis 5) prepare for an adventure at the Arboretum’s lighted gardens and landscapes. Winter Lights is a three-acre nightly walking tour. The handy Event Map shows 15 areas to explore.
Robots! Robots! It’s the Robot Zoo! Lucy quickly pushes a button that changes a Chameleon’s color to green then red. Another button moves his head. Cool! Louis puts on goggles that shows how a house fly sees. Wierd! It is like seeing 100 of the same thing. Lots to explore but tonight is about LIGHTS! I
In the greenhouse, are beautiful poinsettias and a huge poinsettia Christmas tree. Outside are large round displays with colors changing from red to blue to green to white. It’s water bottles! What an awesome idea. Just fill water bottles with water, place and stack the bottles on a round display. Then put colored lights in the center. Ah, an idea for decorating at home next year. Now to save all those water bottles. We stroll by the Crystal Gardens with its white lights creating a serene setting. The Winter Walk takes us past shrubs with green lights, gates and more. Then we pass the Rock Candy Cottage selling holiday drinks.
Music fills the air as we spot a huge Christmas tree of lights. Called Lights of the Season, it is a “Twinkling Tree Show.” As music plays, the tree lights change colors! Spectacular! Lucy and Louis are mesmerized watching the tree lights change with the music while warming up at a fire pit. Spotting a bridge close by, we climb the stairs to find a magnificent view of the multicolor Dream Quilt. Colors of red, green, and blue gleam in this patchwork quilt of lights. Wow! It is also part of the “Twinkling Tree Show” with patchwork areas going on and off with the music. Lucy & Louis are thrilled!
At the Shimmering Stream lights glisten and glow in the stream bed. Louis, is excited with Snowflake Way, a tunnel of blue lights and snowflakes. Louis loves to run and he quickly runs through blue tunnel. Roaming around we pass Nature’s Ballroom where elegant chandeliers hang from the trees. (It must be fun to be part of the team to create so many ideas for Winter Lights). My husband and I have been to the renowned Bonsai Gardens at the Arboretum and are delighted to walk through the Bonsai Garden & Wishing Tree. Elegant! Magnificent lights create a bonsai world at night.
It’s all blue! The Sparkling Falls are a huge water fountain of blue balls and a simulated waterfall made from blue and white lights. Very realistic! Winter Lights is fun! We had a delightful adventure at the magnificent Winter Lights. Beautiful! Plan to visit the amazing light show when in Asheville over the holiday season.
Note: The Winter Lights is open November 20, 2015 – January 2, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. We went on Sunday night arriving about 5:30PM finding a long line waiting for the gates to open. Traffic was backed up onto the highway. Once the gates opened, we got in easily and there was plenty of parking. For adults who want to go and avoid the rush of the crowd, we recommend you arrive 30 minutes after the gates open. Unless it is sold out, parking should be easy and no waiting to get into the attraction.
North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806