As the holidays approach, the Springfield Botanical Garden develops into a winter wonderland.
From Nov. 23 until Dec. 31, more than 150,000 lights will illuminate the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden as part of Gardens Aglow. The program is organized by Friends of the Garden, a nonprofit group that supports the Botanical Gardens with donations, volunteers and special events.
“We received thousands of guests last year, and we hope the event will just keep growing,” said Heather Parker, the executive director of Friends of the Garden.
For 20 days, Gardens Aglow will feature small fire pits and local vendors serving food and drink to warm up the crowds. Parker described other aspects of Gardens Aglow, including craft nights and live music by local and school bands.
Dates for special nights can be found on the Springfield Botanical Garden Facebook page.
“The event is for all ages and has an accessible half-mile path through the garden, so it’s easy for strollers and wheelchairs to use it,” Parker said. Friends of the Garden recommends spending at least 30 minutes walking the path through the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden to appreciate the lighted decorations.
The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden was created in 1985 and is the oldest attraction at the Botanical Gardens. The 7.5 acre site is meant to be an authentic representation of a Japanese landscape.
The garden features a moon bridge, tea house, meditation garden and koi pond. According to the Friends of the Garden, the stroll garden is maintained through partnership with Friends of the Garden, Springfield Sister Cities Association and Springfield’s sister city of Isesaki, Japan, and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.
Gardens Aglow is open Friday through Sunday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Bonus days when the gardens will be open are Dec. 19 through 22 and Dec. 26.
Admission is free for kids up to age 2, $3 for children ages 3 to 12 and $7 for adults 13 and up. Tickets purchased in advance are offered at a discount.
Free admission is also offered to visitors with season passes. Pets are allowed at Gardens Aglow.
The gardens are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.