One of our favorite things to do is driving to see Christmas Lights but nothing beats being able to walk through a Garden of Lights. If you are anywhere near Washington, DC during the winter holiday season you should make your way over to Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD for their Winter Garden Walk. The entry fee to enjoy the Christmas lights is just $25 for a car full of your best friends. The lights start at 5:30pm but you can come early and enjoy the trains in the conservatory and then purchase your ticket inside. By arriving at 4:00pm we were able to stroll leisurely around the flowers until it got dark. You will get great parking this way and avoid the traffic as well.
The Maryland Garden Railway Society has a large “G” scale display in the conservatory. The trains weave in and out of different flowering plants. From the Brookside Gardens website:
“This year’s plantings will include a few edible plants like chard and hot peppers which offer colorful leaves and fruits. Flowering plants from warmer regions of the world will include red-flowered Cestrum, Bouganvillea, blue and white Browallia (bell flower), and several flowering Salvias (sages). These and familiar Poinsettias are accented by the chartreuse and soft lime foliage of Monterrey Cypress and ‘Limelight’ licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare).”
Oh, and a few exotics are blooming inside such as this Bird of Paradise.
Sipping on a cup of hot chocolate or cider and walking through all the displays is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The displays tend to be outdoor themed such as flowers, insects, or animals, but there are a few fantasy creatures such as a momma sea serpent and her baby. Animated birds flying, squirrels chasing each other up trees, and flying bees are just a few of the great displays scattered around the gardens. Take your time and be sure to look everywhere or you may miss something.
The park does a very good job spreading everything out so the crowds can move. You can even find a few quiet spots that are very romantic. Between all the the trains, the colors of all the lights, and the cute animations, we would have to say this is one of our favorite places in the DC area for Christmas.