While Christmas in Florida doesn’t mean snow or fires in the fireplace – usually – you can still capture that winter feel with Holiday Lights in the Gardens. The nightly event lights up the Florida Botanical Gardens, allowing you to show your lingering northern guests something special. It also offers you a shimmering, twinkling, escape into a magical, tropical place.
Every night through the first of the year, the Florida Botanical Gardens lights up its 30 acres of cultivated gardens for the holidays. Over half a million tiny bulbs highlight Florida’s natural beauty and create a holiday feel as you stroll through the paths. Music wafts through the foliage and the courtyard has live entertainment.
Christmas may be over but the feel at the gardens is more “winter” than “Santa.” While you won’t get as close a look at the plants as you would with the winter sun shining overhead, it’s a tranquil setting to celebrate the end of the year and the start of another. With the indulgence of Christmas dinners and stress of Christmas shopping behind you, the Holiday Lights offers you a way to unwind and take some time for yourself.
The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation hosts the event. The Florida Botanical Gardens is part of the county’s Pinewood Cultural Center at the crossroads of Ulmerton and Walsingham.
12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, from 5:30 –9:30 p.m. through January 1. Call 582-2100 or visit FLBG.org .
BEST part: Without a doubt, the smell of buttered popcorn coming from the gardens’ real blooming “Christmas tree,” The tree, a tropical hydrangea called Dombeya, has pink ball-like blossoms that look like ornaments and smell like buttered popcorn.
WORST part: The holiday lights go dark January 1.
MAGIC Question: $2 per person. Free for kids under 12. Dogs welcome, especially at Saturday’s special 2 p.m. dog parade.
Contact Cathy Salustri at