ATHENS — Beginning Dec. 1, the University of Georgia will host its first Winter WonderLights show with a Garden of Delights, Candy Cane Lane and Cone Tree Plaza, among other magical features, along a half-mile trail at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia here.
Lighted displays will delight children and adults every evening through Jan. 9. The Alice Hand Callaway Visitor’s Center will be transformed into a holiday market, where guests can shop for gifts and souvenirs. Refreshments such as cookies, s’mores, bottled water, hot chocolate and coffee will be available throughout the light show.
“Winter WonderLights will be a way for us to engage with people from across the state and beyond,” Jenny Cruse-Sanders, the State Botanical Garden director, said. “Our focus is to connect people to places and nature, and we are committed to being a leader in botanical education, horticulture, research and conservation. This new family friendly outdoor event gives us a way to show off our world-class botanical garden and generate support for our impactful programs. In many ways it also celebrates the hard work of our talented staff and students who care for this beautiful facility.”
The half-mile trail will take between 45-60 minutes to complete and is fully ADA-accessible. Tickets are $15 per person, free for children under 3. Members of Friends of the Garden will receive a 10% discount, as will groups of 20 or more people. Tickets, for designated dates and times to visit the show, will be available for purchase at the State Botanical Garden website wonderlights.uga.edu this month.
The event is presented by the University of Georgia. Sponsors include Friends of the State Botanical Garden, Trumps Catering, Synovus, Condor Chocolates, Barron’s Rental Center, Westminster Christian Academy and members of the community.
The botanical garden is located approximately 70 miles east of Atlanta, at 2450 S. Milledge Ave. in Athens. Free off-site parking and shuttle services will be provided in two UGA-owned and controlled lots off South Milledge Avenue.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, is one of the state’s most treasured resources. With 313 acres of natural areas and cultivated gardens, the State Botanical Garden offers unique experiences for nature lovers. The garden offers eight specialty gardens, including the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, and more than 5 miles of trails within an Audubon-designated important birding area. Throughout the year, the garden hosts educational programming including camps, classes, workshops, concerts and festivals for visitors of all ages. Facilities across the garden feature art exhibits and annual lectures, including the Porcelain and Decorative Arts museum at the Center for Art and Nature.
The garden is also headquarters for the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, a network of more than 50 institutions, agencies and organizations committed to ecological land management, native plant conservation, and protection of rare and endangered plants.