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Holiday Favorites Return to Selby Gardens in December

Festivities include Lights in Bloom® at Downtown Sarasota campus, Wintergreen Weekend at Historic Spanish Point campus.

Presented by Marie Selby Gardens November 11, 2022

Lights in Bloom® annually transforms Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus into a multicolored holiday wonderland. Experiencing this year-end spectacle has become a must-do for all ages in the Sarasota region. This year’s light show is quickly approaching—and tickets are already going fast.

Family Togetherness

Lights in Bloom® will run on select nights from December 10 through January 5. The award-winning, walk-through experience features well over two million lights and other holiday and botanical decorations creatively displayed throughout the 15-acre Gardens. Perennial favorites include giant glowing butterflies high up in the trees, stunning light tunnels along the winding walkways, a “wishing tree” festooned with colorful ribbons representing guests’ hopes for the future, and the now-famous flocks of “Florida reindeer” (oversized ornamental flamingos with lighted antlers). As always, there will be new surprises to delight visitors this year too.

Lights In Bloom Butterfly Garden

Image: Cliff Roles

Besides the namesake lights, Lights in Bloom® offers food and beverages for sale, including hearty fare from the Michael’s on East Grill plus sweet treats from several other vendors. Fun activities will include face painting, balloon art, and giant games, along with entertainment and a signature holiday photo opportunity. 

Lights In Bloom Wedding Oak

Image: Cliff Roles

Admission options for Lights in Bloom® include early entry at 5:30 p.m. and general admission at 6:30 p.m. each night. On Saturday, December 17, an additional “all-inclusive” ticket gets you valet parking, a dinner buffet and open bar inside the Event Center, and early access to the grounds.

Lights In Bloom Caterpillar Tunnel

Image: Cliff Roles

Advance ticket purchase is a must for all of the above to ensure your day and entry time of choice. Tickets are on sale now at selby.org.

Yuletide cheer and mini reindeer
While Lights in Bloom® is in its 19th year, a new “old time” holiday tradition is taking root at Selby Gardens’ Historic Spanish Point campus in Osprey. 

Over the weekend of December 3 and 4, Selby Gardens will present its second-annual “Wintergreen Weekend at the Point.” Befitting a site rich with history from the late 19th and early 20th century, this festive affair showcases time-honored holiday activities and style throughout the 30-acre preserve. There will be Dickens carolers from The Classical Academy of Sarasota, spirited hand-bell performances by the Ring Sarasota ensemble, and holiday storytelling inside Mary’s Chapel with local favorite Hannah Bagnall. The highlight for many youngsters, though, is sure to be the “reindeer” rides on miniature ponies adorably decked out for the occasion!

Lights In Bloom

Wintergreen Weekend is included with general admission to the Historic Spanish Point campus. Hands-on crafts for kids also will be offered, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Lights In Bloom Rain Banyan

Image: Cliff Roles

Holiday horticulture, garden-lover gifts
Selby Gardens’ rich roster of educational classes and hands-on workshops in horticulture, art, and more include several programs themed for the holidays too.

Lights In Bloom Trees

Image: Cliff Roles

On December 10, guests can create a “living wreath” of epiphytes, or air plants, while learning some of the science behind the fascinating flora, which is Selby Gardens’ specialty. Two days later, a beginners’ art workshop called Orchid Ornament Art will use botanical media to design holiday decorations and ornaments. These and other programs can be found on the Selby Gardens event calendar at selby.org/events. Registration is required for all classes, and fees are separate from Gardens admission.

Lights In Bloom Koi Pond

Image: Cliff Roles

Finally, unique items to buy at each Selby Gardens campus make great holiday gifts. The Garden Shop at the Downtown Sarasota campus offers everything from live orchids and plant arrangements (plus all the supplies to care for them) to jewelry, apparel, and other treasures sure to please a garden lover. Selby Gardens’ private-label Packing House Orange Marmalade—inspired by the pioneer citrus packing house at the Historic Spanish Point campus—can be purchased at either campus and serves perfectly whether you’re visiting or hosting at the holidays. And if you just can’t decide, there’s always a Selby Gardens gift card, and a membership to the Gardens is a gift that lasts all year!