The holiday season kicks off on Nov. 23, when the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum opens Winter Lights, its popular light display. With four new outdoor vignettes, sculptures and an expanded S’more Village, the show is the perfect destination for festive family fun. Winter Lights is a walking tour of 14 themed vignettes in areas close to the Arboretum’s main buildings. Indoor areas feature dazzling scenery, including a 24-foot-tall live poinsettia tree!
Winter Lights Dates/Times: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night
Nov. 23-Jan. 6 (plus Dec. 26, 27)
Free with gate admission, $15 for ages 16 and up, free for 15 and under
Indoors: A stunning 24-foot-tall live poinsettia tree (sponsored by Wagners Greenhouses) serves as the visual centerpiece in the Arboretum’s soaring Great Hall. Pine trees with nature-inspired decor create a festive spot that’s perfect for family photos. Thousands of twinkling lights add to the holiday ambience. A full bar and fresh-baked cookies are available for purchase.
Website: http://arbwinter.umn.edu/ includes FAQ on Winter Lights display
*Four new outdoor displays, plus an expanded footprint that includes the Perennial Garden, Cloister Garden, Wedding Tower and Learning Center demo ponds make up the 14 vignettes.
*S’more Village, bistro lights highlight the fragrant wood firepit area at the Margo Picnic Shelter, where there’s a variety of warm foods, including hot dogs, brats, chili, vegetarian chili, stew, hot chocolate, soft drinks and s’more kits (that serve 4) for purchase.
*Dale Lewis’ whimsical sculptures, including Bing The Chinese Dragon, which has been relocated from the Chinese Garden to outside the Visitor Center, Curler Pete, Cherry Tree and
Never Stop Pulling.
*New light sculptures, Water Lilies and Butterfly, handmade in Greece, are highlights of the
*Kid-friendly features: S’more Village where s’more kits can be purchased along with kid food favorites; a lighted straw bale maze at the Winter Farm, mini-pony sculptures and mini-barn for Instagram moments.
*Friday wine tastings, Schram Vineyards will serve two wines, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 Great Hall Tree Lighting Party: This merry celebration is a holiday party that can’t be missed! A countdown from the assembled crowd reveals this year’s stunning 24-foot-tall poinsettia tree. Light refreshments, live music by the Edina Chorale, S’more Village and self-guided tours of Winter Lights makes this event a family favorite. Members, $10, non-$20, kids 3-15, $5, 2 and under free. Tickets: mnarbonline.com/Making-Spirits-Bright-Great-Hall-Tree-Lighting-P3150C34.aspx
Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, Arboretum Auxiliary Sale: Beautiful and affordable hand-made gifts from the talented members of the auxiliary, including felt and paper arts, wood crafting, seasonal decor, natural health and home wares, pet gifts and much more. All proceeds benefit the Arboretum. Free with admission. Friday, Nov. 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plus Minnesota Herb Society Winter Sale, botanical gifts, Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nov. 29-Dec. 15, Holiday Teas: All nine teas are sold out; a waitlist is at arboretum.umn.edu/teatime. The next teas are scheduled for the Spring Flower Show
Feb. 1 – March 2.
Dec. 14-15, Holiday Gift Market: Start or finish holiday shopping at this festive event featuring 49 local artists and vendors. Pottery, jewelry, garden-themed decor, pet items and much more. Friday, Dec. 14, 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free with gate admission.
Dec. 1, 8 & 15: Photos With Santa: Bring the whole family for visits with the jolly old elf. A variety of options and photo packages available. Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. during Winter Lights, Saturday, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, 1-3 p.m. Free with gate admission.
Dec. 8 & 15, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Winter Brunch With Santa: A hearty winter buffet and visit with Santa. $18 member/$13 member kids (12 and under); $20 non-member/$15 non-member kids (12 and under). Walk in, no reservations needed. Arboretum Cafe.
Dec. 9, Pet Photos With Santa: 10 a.m. -2 p.m., bring your furry friends for unforgettable pics with Santa. Free with gate admission.
Dec. 15, Book Signing With Matt Schuth: Naturalist Schuth will sign his book Nature at Our Doorstep, 1 to 3 p.m. Gift & Garden Store.
Nov. 23-Jan. 1: Shop the curated Gift & Garden Store for presents for others or something special for yourself. Beautiful nature-inspired garden, home and beauty items plus elegant artisan jewelry. Expanded gifts for babies and children, including clothing, games, books and entertainment. Specializing in garden books and Minnesota authors.
Nov. 24 – Dec. 23, Live Music Appearances: Free with gate admission
Saturday, Nov. 24, Edina Chorale, MacMillan Auditorium, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 25, The Silverwind Flutes, Great Hall, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
School of Rock, Great Hall, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 1, Flute Loops, Great Hall, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 2, The Westwind Five, Great Hall, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Holiday Heralds: Singers from the Minnesota Chorale, MacMillan Auditorium, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
School of Rock, Great Hall, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Arbor Bells, Snyder Auditorium, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra Messiah Sing-a-long, MacMillan Auditorium, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Holiday Singers, Great Hall, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9, Jazz on the Prairie Big Band, MacMillan Auditorium, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Star of the North, MacMillan Auditorium, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 15, Brad Cattadorris, Great Hall, 11:00am-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 16, Laurie and Robin, Great Hall, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Waconia Suzuki Ensemble, Oswald Visitor Center Balcony, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 22, Westwind Big Band, MacMillan Auditorium, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
The Prairie Bass, MacMillan Auditorium, 5:00-6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 23, Celebration Bass, Great Hall, 1:30-3:00 p.m.