Lights Shine Bright at Botanic Garden
By BLAKE AUSTYN
Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Garden of Lights has returned for its third year, opening on Friday, Nov. 27 and running through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. The outdoor lighting event features over 200,000 lights and design elements plus safety precautions instituted to ensure guest enjoyment and peace of mind.
The event takes place weekly, Thursday through Sunday, 5-9 p.m., with the exception of Christmas week. Garden of Lights will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but will be open Monday–Wednesday, Dec. 21-23.
Visitors will enjoy enhanced and returning design elements, including added lights, an expansion of the Frost Bison and Ice Giant families and the return of the shimmering light curtains in the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces garden.
The display takes guests on an immersive journey through the Children’s Discovery Garden, filled with purple and blue colors, roaming Frost Bison and festive Ice Giants. Soft white, red and green hues fill the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces, including the elegant light curtains, which offer a popular photo backdrop, and 18-foot tree at the top of the garden.
Guests can also visit the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Grange event building, which will offer physically-distanced seating and fire pits. Hot cocoa, spiced cider, adult beverages and s’mores kits will be on sale. Food trucks will also be on hand each night, 5:30-8:30 p.m. (Food truck cancellations are possible due to COVID-19. If this occurs, the Garden’s website and Facebook page will be updated with that information.)
Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 28-Dec. 13, in the Mabee Grange, will feature live piano music by local musician David Horne. A large scale model train holiday exhibit, presented by the Tulsa Garden Railroad Club, will be on display in the building Dec. 17-27, with the exception of Dec. 24 and 25 when Garden of Lights will be closed.
Another returning favorite is the open-air Holiday Express train, which will run weekly every night except Sunday. It will also run Monday through Wednesday on Christmas week. The train’s route will look slightly different this year, as it will be located on the Garden’s peninsula, which offers greater physical distancing opportunities and a picture-worthy panoramic view of the display in the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces.
Garden of Lights will include a number of COVID-19 precautions, including the requirement of advance ticket purchase (no tickets sold at the door), timed entry and four entrance times available per evening (guests must arrive no later than 30 minutes from the beginning of their chosen time slot). A per-hour maximum capacity number has been set for each event night, and a strict mask policy will be enforced. Garden of Lights guests ages five and up are required to wear masks at all times unless actively eating or drinking.
An additional exit has also been added as well hand sanitizing stations and additional outdoor seating areas to allow for further physical distancing.
Tickets for Garden of Lights are $15 for ages 13+ and $5 for ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. Members of the Botanic Garden receive discounted pricing of $10 for ages 13 and older. Visit www.tulsabotanic.org to purchase tickets and to find more information.
Tulsa Botanic Garden is a non-profit year-round botanic garden located in the Osage Hills, eight miles northwest of downtown Tulsa at 3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive. It opened its first garden in 2015 and currently features two completed gardens, a seven-acre lake, a one-mile nature trail and 20,000 of plants on display. In early 2021, construction will begin on two new gardens.