The North Carolina Arboretum’s Third Annual Winter Lights Exhibit


Let your holiday shine even brighter this season with a visit to the Arboretum’s third annual Winter Lights holiday light exhibit.

Running through Sunday, January 1, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. every night, Winter Lights is an outdoor walking tour of the Arboretum’s nationally-known gardens dressed in uniquely lit displays and landscapes. Designed with an artistic aesthetic, Winter Lights is composed of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights and highlights the natural beauty and landscapes of the Arboretum during the winter season.

New features for this year’s event include a specially-designed projected-light program, which is the largest and longest-running projection mapping show in North Carolina, and a family-friendly animatronic program entitled “Storytime at Woodland Cove,” created to educate visitors about animal hibernation during the winter. Fan favorites, including the Arboretum’s 50-foot animated tree that illuminates to the sounds of musical holiday favorites, lighted Quilt Garden, and Rocky Cove Railroad G-scale (garden scale) model train, will entertain visitors once again for this year’s event. Festive food and beverages, including hot cocoa, cider, s’mores, wine and beer, will be available for purchase, and the Arboretum’s Savory Thyme Café will offer a special dinner buffet every weekend for Winter Lights ticketholders, with reservations required. Proceeds generated from the Winter Lights fundraiser will help the Arboretum continue to expand its educational programs, exhibits and facilities year round.

“In its first two years, the Arboretum’s Winter Lights quickly became one of the Southeast’s premier holiday attractions,” said George Briggs, executive director of The North Carolina Arboretum. “We are very excited about the changes and additions in the works for year three. In addition to the unique light displays and programs, our exhibit is a great way to educate visitors about energy efficiency and the Southern Appalachian region. It is an Asheville holiday tradition not to be missed.”


To better serve local residents, larger families and groups, the Arboretum will host two weekday specials during Winter Lights. On Tuesdays, the Arboretum will offer a “Friends and Family” night in which all attendees will receive a discounted flat rate of $15 per ticket. Additionally, all Thursday night Winter Lights ticketholders will receive a complimentary cup of hot chocolate as part of the Arboretum’s “Crazy for Cocoa” Thursday night special. For visitors seeking transportation from downtown Asheville or Hendersonville, The Trolley Company is offering a special Winter Lights Holiday Tour every Friday and Saturday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Guests will be picked up at either the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville or downtown Hendersonville’s Visitor Center and transported on a holly, jolly ride to the Arboretum, where they will receive entry into Winter Lights and a complimentary cup of hot chocolate. Tickets for The Trolley Company’s Winter Lights Holiday Tour are $27 per person and must be purchased in advance through The Trolley Company’s website,

The North Carolina Arboretum is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 393. From I-26, take Exit 33 and follow Blue Ridge

Parkway signs for two miles to the entrance ramp. Please visit for parking fees and hours of operation.

Winter Lights tickets are available for purchase online at All tickets must be purchased in advance and are date-specific. Pricing is $18 for adults and $16 for children (ages 5 to 11), not including handling fees and required sales tax. Children age four and under are free. Group tickets are also available ($15 per person, minimum 20 people). Members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society receive a $2 discount on every ticket purchased.

For more information on Winter Lights, please visit

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