Published on 11/21/17

December Nights and Holiday Lights returns with more than a million lights

By Norman Winter

Once again, the beauty of the holidays is captured in more than 1 million lights across the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens (CGBG) at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia. The light show, called “Jewel in a Savannah Christmas,” runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on select evenings from Friday, Nov. 24 through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The light show will be held Wednesday through Friday nights until Dec. 6. From Dec. 6 through Dec. 24, the show will be open nightly.

Proceeds from December Nights and Holiday Lights fund development and maintenance projects at the Coastal Botanical Gardens. Last year, an estimated 26,000 visitors came from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

The leisurely, self-guided walking tour, best enjoyed on rain-free evenings, runs through the various illuminated gardens. Just viewing the Formal and White Garden is worth the nominal price for admission.

In addition to the outdoor light displays, Santa Claus will visit the gardens every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Storytime with Mrs. Claus will be held on Dec. 16, 19 and 21, and she’ll make numerous surprise visits.

Several nights of free entertainment are scheduled at the Coastal Botanical Gardens, too. The Armstrong Youth Orchestra, always a crowd favorite, will perform Dec. 14, 15, 16 and 17. Greg and Kathy Smith, a pianist and cellist duo, are scheduled to perform Dec. 18 and 21.

The Coastal Rail Buffs return with their magnificent model railroad display under the cathedral ceiling in the CGBG Conference Center. Visit Mrs. Claus' kitchen in the Annex for holiday treats and beverages sponsored by a variety of local non-profit groups, including Georgia 4-H youth.

Here's a quick highlight of features at this year's December Nights and Holiday Lights:

  • Model trains on an elevated track among sparkling lights and trees.
  • Santa Claus every Thursday, Friday and Saturday by the big Christmas tree in the Great Hall of the Andrews Visitor and Education Center.
  • Live music performances on select evenings in the Great Hall.
  • Baked goods and beverages for sale in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen.
  • Food from Savannah’s premier food trucks courtesy the Savannah Food Truck Association.
  • Keepsakes, botanical jewelry, T-shirts, garden books and other items to round out holiday shopping will be for sale in the CGBG Gift Shop.
  • The White Garden glistening with snowflakes, stars, reindeer and white cherry-blossom trees.
  • The Formal Garden aglow with thousands of white and gold lights.
  • A 90-foot-long colorful light tunnel of arches.
  • Colorful grape vines and orange trees in the Trustees Garden.
  • Multicolored trees with millions of glittering LED sparkles along the 300-foot-long Crapemyrtle Alley.
  • The Mediterranean Garden illuminated in blue lights below white, flowering trees.
  • Herds of twinkling reindeer in the historic timber bamboo grove.
  • Starbursts around animated angels at the Bamboo Museum Patio.
  • Light displays at the Orchid House, South Lawn, Accessible Garden, Rose Garden, Lord's holly tree and Cottage Garden.

Tickets can be purchased on-site in the lobby of the CGBG Visitor Center. Ticket sales end at 8:30 each evening and cost $10 for those 13 and older and $5 for children aged three to 12. Admission is free for children two and under.

Every Thursday is designated “Family Night” and admission is reduced to $5 for everyone. Children two and under remain free.

For more information about the annual light show at the Coastal Botanical Gardens, call (912) 921-5460. Watch the CGBG Facebook page for the latest scheduling information.

Norman Winter is the director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia.

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