Finances & Money

Having Seasonal Fun Locally: Brookside Gardens Season of Lights

Stacie and I have learned to depend on others to tell us what fun can be had in our own backyard. Usually it’s our friends with kids because they’re much more in-tune with our community events thanks to their kid’s school or extracurricular activities.

This past weekend, we accepted an offer to attend the local Brookside Gardens Season of Lights show right here in Montgomery County, MD. From their website:

Brookside Garden brings the four seasons to life with more than 700,000 colorful lights shaped in imaginative displays of giant summer sunflowers, falling autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, spring flowers, rain showers, and more. As you walk along the easily accessible paths you’ll see what sets this light show apart from others, it’s the hundreds of wrapped trees and shrubs, beautifully lighted gazebos, cascading fountains, and the individually formed displays in the shapes of blooming flowers, and wild animals. This festive, secular light show now in its 12th season is a popular family tradition in the Washington, DC area drawing close to 40,000 visitors each winter to the sights and sounds of the interactive displays.

First of all, I had no idea there were gardens only a few miles from our home! Who knew! Well, obviously our friends did.

Pricing: We went on a weekend, so we paid $20 for our carload, which included 4 adults and one child. Normally on weekdays, it’s $15 per carload.

I didn’t even think to bring my camera (as I didn’t read up on the place before we went…I thought it would be a drive-through lights display), so I don’t have any photos. Luckily I brought a hat and gloves as it was very cold out. But the bonus was that we had our first snowfall as we walked through the display.

I won’t give away everything about the display, but I’d say my favorite was the giraffe munching on a tree. They had lighted birds flying through the trees, rain falling from storm clouds (with accompanying thunder sounds), and beautifully done lighted flower displays (I liked the roses and sunflowers). They even had the greenhouse open with a a few moving train models.

If we didn’t have a small child with us, we would have stuck around to listen to the “Flutes on the Brink” musical performance (free) in the cafe. They have free music performances every night (well, free after admission for the lights)!

Afterwards, we headed out for some pizza, then to our friends’ home where we played a Candyland-like game with a Christian theme, which we bought their 4-year-old for Christmas. We all enjoyed the game, even though the adults secretly conspired to let the kid win the game (and I somehow came in last). It was a low-cost night with lots of fun.

We’ll have to remember the place in the spring when their flowers are in bloom!

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