Light up the Night at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

The NC Arboretum Creates a Magical Wonderland of Lights

 By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

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

Fun! Display of water bottles that change colors!  Great Idea!

Fun! Display of water bottles that change colors! Great Idea!

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.

Lights of the Season "Twinkling Tree Show"

Lights of the Season “Twinkling Tree Show”

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.

Sparkling Falls - shimmers!

Sparkling Falls – shimmers!

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
(828) 665-2492

Great spot for a Christmas Photo

Great spot for a Christmas Photo

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About Charlene Mixa

Seeing new places, learning about cultures and seeing the sights has always been my dream. Growing up I was blessed with parents that enjoyed traveling and thought nothing of taking a family of seven on excursions. My career in Human Resources and later as a consultant for an international Human Resource firm offered some travel, but I knew as my husband and I approached retirement, my goal was to do more traveling and broader trips. The nine years since retirement has been filled with fantastic adventures from short local one day trips to several week excursions. Living in Florida, it is especially enjoyable to be away in the summer to cooler climates. Multi-week driving trips across the good ol' USA, settling in for a month in the mountains to explore the local area, or a combination of both fill much of our summer season. Our travels are predominantly self-orchestrated, bringing the fun and challenge of getting everything to click. It's all about doing and sharing! Experiencing a travel adventure is exciting. Reliving a special travel moment with a friend or family is exhilarating. I feel my heart race and pulse quicken, as I sharing that special moment. Thank you for joining in my travel adventures and allowing me to hear your stories.