Botanica ramped up its Illuminations event last year by adding many thousands of lights and opening the gardens nightly through New Year’s.
This year, Illuminations will have a new lighted landscape: Candy Land.
“It’s based around the board game,” Kristin Marlett of Botanica said.
The new themed area will be in the Pinetum Garden and will include a gingerbread house, oversized gumdrops and gingerbread-family cut-outs.
It’s among holiday events kicking off around Wichita this week. Lights on St. Paul and Heartspring’s Lights on the Lake, for instance — two Wichita drive-through light displays that raise money for local nonprofits — light up for the season on Thanksgiving Day. (Find complete details about both in the list that follows.)
Illuminations will be open nightly from Friday through Dec. 30 (with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas).
Other changes at Illuminations this year: The light show in the Meadow has grown upward with lighted pole trees. More trees in the gardens and more structures in the children’s garden will be lighted, including the treehouse. And there will be a North Pole post where children can send their letters to Santa.
As in the past, kids can visit Santa Claus until Dec. 23, and there will be musical entertainment and $1 treats every night, including s’mores over the fire.
Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and the cost is $7 for adults, $6 for members and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. People who come the week after Christmas will receive a free children’s admission if they bring two cans of food for the Kansas Food Bank.
The event won’t be open this year on Dec. 31, even though a crowd of almost 1,000 people showed up last New Year’s Eve, Marlett said. Finding volunteers and staff to work that night was a problem, she said.
Take a look at the following list of holiday events planned this season in the Wichita area.