We love the Denver Botanic Gardens! I’ve taken the kids there quite a few times, and one of our favorite things is to visit at different seasons, to see what kinds of things grow at different points in the year.
But somehow, we’d never been to Blossoms of Light. I’ve been wanting to go for years now, so when I was invited to experience the lights this year, my daughter and I jumped at the chance. It was, of course, a gorgeous evening with dazzling lights and music.
When we first arrived, we headed toward the Romantic Gardens, and saw the Chihuly glass sculpture at the end, all lit up and beautiful in the dark. When you’re over in that area, be sure to look up and catch a glimpse of Santa in the window of the administration building! He wanders around, warming himself by the fire and attending to…whatever it is Santa has to get done (he’s a pretty busy guy right now). We strolled along, gazing at the colorful lighted trees, and wandering through a tunnel where the lights blinked in a variety of patterns and colors. Thankfully, there’s a guided path so you can be sure you don’t miss any of the displays – and even more thankfully, there are several early exits along the path so if you have small kids or adults who have trouble walking far, you have opportunities to cut out a little early if you need.
Even the ponds were decorated for the occasion, with floating orbs that changed colors as we watched. By the time we rounded the back part of the gardens and came back toward the Tropical Conservatory, we were ready to head inside and warm up a bit. We looked at the variety of poinsettias inside, and admired the twig stars and other whimsical decorations hanging above us that were made from sticks and moss and other items. We also had a lovely time admiring all the citrus trees (and sniffing them! Mmm…) and looking at all the varieties we’d never even heard of.
After our indoor detour, we headed back out along the path to the grand finale. The grassy amphitheater at the gardens was covered in LED lights. While Christmas carols played, we watched an impressive display as they lit up in time to the music. We stayed, watching the songs and lights, until finally the cold drove us into the cafe in search of a nice hot drink and a snack.
There are a few options for food and drinks – the Offshoots Cafe is near the entrance (or exit, depending on your point of view) and has sandwiches, snacks, and desserts, along with hot and cold beverages. Next door, in the Boettcher Lobby, is a cider and hot chocolate bar with toppings. There is also a station in the Romantic Garden with roasted nuts, cocoa, and cider if you want to grab a hot drink at the beginning of your walk. The Hive Garden Bistro is also open with more food options.
The gardens are open each night from 5-9pm, and you can purchase timed tickets here, which ensures the space doesn’t get too crowded. If you’re okay with waiting, I’d suggest going the week between Christmas and New Year’s (Blossoms of Light goes until Jan. 1). For one thing, there are fewer crowds and a better chance of finding a time that isn’t sold out. For another, at least at our house,we have a great deal of excitement and busyness leading up to Christmas… and then a lull for that whole week after. It’s fun to have a planned event to look forward to then! Definitely dress warmly for your visit. The gardens are very kid-friendly and easy to navigate with strollers, but spots can be icy so be careful. You can find ticket prices, a calendar, and more information here.