WPS Garden of Lights: Connecting People with Plants Year-Round

As the temperatures outdoors begin to drop, so does the annual countdown to WPS Garden of Lights! Our 27th year is just around the corner, and with 40 displays composed of over 350,000 dazzling lights, we can’t wait for you to see what we have planned.

So, while your mind starts to wander towards holiday gift giving and family get-togethers, what are we up to at the Garden? Well, for us, Garden of Lights season has already begun.

PC: John Oates Photography

Off to the Races

Getting ready for WPS Garden of Lights is a labor of love headed up by our very own Facilities & Maintenance Coordinator, Dave Barkow. Dave has been with the Garden since the attraction’s inception in 1997, but it’s definitely grown since then. Imagine, a mere 80,000 lights! These days, he’s busy working with Garden staff and volunteers to build frames, string lights, and, of course, connect more than 3.5 miles of extension cords. That could create one nasty tangle!

Not Your Average Light Show

But once the hard work is done, it’s time to enjoy! Upon entering the Garden, you may notice that our approach is unconventional. While we encourage you to pop indoors for a quick hello with Santa or some hot chocolate, these typical holiday themes don’t carry through the light displays themselves. Instead, our lights proudly feature what we do year-round: connect people with plants!

With flowers, birds, and bees, our displays are inspired by the natural world around us here in Wisconsin.

The Stream light show display, PC: John Oates Photography

The Stream, for example, is a representation of Wisconsin’s wetlands. In The Stream, herons, frogs, and dragonflies glow in their natural ecosystem. It’s a narrative that exists all around us, but it’s easy to forget about, especially in winter.

Butterflies in Motion, on the other hand, tells the story of a butterfly from a little caterpillar to the flying beauty it becomes. Still, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and spoil the surprise! You’ll have to come explore the show for yourself to discover the stories of the other 38 stunning displays.

Butterflies in Motion light show display, PC: John Oates Photography

Holiday Spirit in the Garden

While holiday lights showing off images of Santa and the like aren’t central to our show, WPS Garden of Lights definitely creates a festive spirit around the Garden. That first year in 1997, we wouldn’t have been able to hold the light show without the support of local businesses, volunteers, Wisconsin Public Service, and our friends at NWTC.

PC: John Oates Photography

From our strong community partnerships to the volunteers and guests that make it possible, WPS Garden of Lights is still a time of gathering and joy that we cherish here at the Garden. We hope that it’s a special part of your annual traditions too!

We’d love to be a part of your celebrations this holiday season! If you’re looking forward to WPS Garden of Lights, be sure to purchase advanced tickets to secure your preferred experience. With limited capacity and overwhelming community support, dates and timeslots sell out quickly. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Sounds of Nashville on August 11

will be moved indoors with limited seating due to Friday’s weather forecast. Tickets are no longer available. We apologize for any inconvenience!

Due to the snow storm, the Garden will open at 12 pm today (Wednesday, April 3). Stay safe!