Glow Winter Spectacular
Growing and Glowing at the Cleveland Botanical Garden
By Denise Koeth
While Cleveland winters may not be synonymous with lush gardens and beautiful foliage, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is full of festivity in December, when its Glow holiday event brings more hustle and bustle than the North Pole.
The Glow winter spectacular, now in its fourth year, is guaranteed to make visitors feel warm and fuzzy inside. The lights will glow even brighter this year, with extended hours daily and late hours on Wednesday and Friday evenings that make post-sunset viewing easier.
After marveling at the garden's two-story tree, hop aboard the Garden Express for a whimsical train ride from the Geis Terrace to Hershey Children's Garden and back, traveling along garden paths illuminated with twinkling lights and lively decorations.
Get a jump on holiday shopping by picking up some classic holiday treats from Mrs. Claus' Sweet Shoppe or browsing the apparel, jewelry and home décor items in The Garden Store. Children can play Santa by picking out gifts at Treetop Shop, where friendly elves help them choose gifts that are displayed inside a charming treehouse.
Though many activities cater to families with little elves of their own, there is still plenty offered to get adults into the holiday spirit.
After taking in some professional-level gingerbread houses - past entries have included everything from the Eiffel Tower to an Ohio farm complete with fondant livestock - channel your own inner cookie architect at the Gingerbread Haus bakery, where kids and grown-ups alike can decorate their own gingerbread houses to take home.
Marvel at the 40 Fraser firs decorated by area Affiliate Garden Clubs. The six-, eight- and 10-foot-tall trees on display this year are decorated with the theme of the history of Cleveland and the Western Reserve.
Throughout the garden, you'll hear the festive sounds of musicians and carolers wafting from the lively town square area, where holiday classics will delight kids "from 1 to 92."
Glow is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the garden is closed Christmas Day, new Year's Day and Mondays (with the exception of Dec. 28, when Glow will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Admission is free for garden members, $16 for non-member adults and $12 for non-member children.
For more on celebrating the holidays in Cleveland like festive events, winter restaurants and outdoor adventures click here.