Our-Kids.com, Your Link to Family Fun in DC, Maryland and Virginia

Welcome to Our Kids - Serving the DC Metro Area

Garden of Lights

November 28, 2017
by Our Kids
Brookside Gardens
1800 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902
Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

There’s something about twinkling lights that soothes my soul.  So I was excited to head to Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens this past Sunday with my family to cap off our Thanksgiving weekend. My favorite aspect of this holiday light display is that it is a walk-through experience.  I feel like walking through the lights brings a more magical touch to the experience.

Brookside Gardens opens at 5:30 p.m. nightly and from what I hear can get crowded especially on weekends.  With that, I’d recommend a visit during the weekday if you can swing it or head over later in the evening on a weekend.  Even if you have to wait in a line to get into the main parking lot, pop in some holiday music and have some good old family chat time.

Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

Once you get through the gate to park (note: you can enter at the Visitors Center entrance or the Conservatories entrance), find a parking spot and off you go.

You’ll start your journey passing by the Children’s Garden (you can also opt to visit this first; but we choose to return through this section).  Head down the path through the Giant Caterpillar, which was a hit for our family.  Continue your walk through more than a million lights that sparkle and shine, many that have been created into art forms like frogs, Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster), flowers, a thunderstorm and even a giraffe.

Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

A highlight especially for one member of our party, was a visit through the Conservatory where you can watch G-Scale model trains chug along.  Look for the table in the conservatory which has a scavenger hunt that kids can take part in while viewing the train exhibit.  There’s a section where you can view trains (including Thomas) wind their way through a village.  There’s another section that is elevated that has scenes from the area (Glen Echo Park, the Georgetown Car Barn, etc.), along with some historical fun facts about the buildings. One recommendation -- I'd love to see the signs with historical details a little larger and more easy to read. 

Garden of Lights at Brookside Garden

After you’ve had your fill of trains, exit the Conservatory and make your way back towards the Visitors Center where you can enjoy some treats as well as holiday music.  You can find a full list of entertainment online.

Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens  Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens

So bundle up and spend some quality time with family this holiday season.  You’ll certainly enjoy a visit to Garden of Lights.

Things to Note:

  • Garden of Lights is open daily until January 1, 2018 (closed December 24 and 25).  Sunday to Thursday: 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Vehicles are admitted up until 30 minutes before closing time each evening.
  • Admission is $25 per car/van (advance and Su-Th) and $30 per car/van Fr-Sat.
  • Dress for the weather!  You’ll spend at least 45 minutes in the gardens if not more.
  • Food (hot cocoa, cider, sandwiches, soups) is available for purchase in the Visitors Center.  You can also purchase a S’more kit ($6) and head to the outdoor fire pit to enjoy. There are also two gift shops with cute garden-themed items that would make nice presents.
  • The larger parking lot is the one by the Visitors Center, so keep that in mind.
  • Pedestrians are not admitted for safety reasons, so be sure to arrive by car.
  • Bring your stroller as most of the walkway is paved.  There are some steps, but there are ramps, so it is very easy to get around.

Photos courtesy of Our Kids LLC.


Sign in or Become a Member to add comments.
The walk through light show is amazing, and the train set inside is beautiful and a nice way to warm up halfway through!

By: alexsangel2007 on Tue Dec 5, 2017
Always a favorite location!

By: Ssjacobs on Sun Dec 13, 2015
This is my family's favorite light show. It's so great to get to walk the gardens and the lights are super creative. Make sure to see the model train!

By: KimC on Sat Dec 12, 2015
We visited the conservatory last year during the day and enjoyed it. Would love to see the lights.

By: NicoleC on Thu Dec 10, 2015
One of our favorite light displays! They also often have music and food available inside on weekends!

By: RachelC on Thu Dec 10, 2015
Brookside Gardens is a gorgeous place any time of the year, but especially magical at Christmas! :-)

By: Kwietdaisi on Thu Dec 10, 2015
The lights display at Brookside is always a good time. My husband and I got married there (not at Christmas) so we like to go for sentimental reasons...but everyone has fun! Bundle up, run around, and enjoy!

By: RachelS on Thu Dec 10, 2015
Can't wait to go!

By: BerriosFam on Thu Dec 10, 2015
Kids love to go every year, enjoy the beautiful light, music, hot coco and model train

By: Florence on Thu Dec 10, 2015
Looks awesome. We will definitely have to check this light display out!

By: meh7h on Thu Dec 10, 2015
We love the lights at Brookside... they are always lovely and it's the perfect way that the kiddos can run around while the parents can take their time. It can be very cold sometimes, but if you bundle up and plan on hot chocolate afterwards, it's really a magical place... if I remember correctly, I believe it's very stroller and wheelchair accessible.

By: DrennanL on Thu Dec 10, 2015
This is a beautiful display! Bundle up for a lovely walk, and then stop in the conservatory to warm up while you look at the trains and displays!

By: kathyp on Thu Dec 10, 2015
Looks awesome! Would love to take my family

By: sandrai on Wed Dec 9, 2015
We've been in the past and have always enjoyed the beautiful light display.

By: karenr on Wed Dec 9, 2015
One of the best light shows in the area! There's always something to explore and enjoy, for kids and adults alike.

By: Niffer1001 on Sun Nov 16, 2014
We visit Brookside Gardens every year on New Year's Eve. In addition to the dazzling lights, they have crafts for kids, face painting, music, and delicious treats. It's a wonderful and family friendly activity.

By: BetsyR on Thu Dec 12, 2013
Is this like the Bull Run Festival of Lights? We love the Festival of lights, but this seems pretty pricey is it better?

By: LynneM on Sat Dec 7, 2013
We go every year. We love the lights. They really bring a touch of nature to their display. It is a wonderful walk through a Winter Wonderland. Dress warm and don't forget those hats and mittens.

By: KarenB on Sat Dec 7, 2013
Good choice for little kiddos. Just be aware of the weather. It can get chilly which takes away from the experience if your kiddos are focused on the cold.

By: KirstinH on Thu Dec 5, 2013
Far drive for us but definately want to go again this year or next to have our toddler experience. Daughter says she sort of remembers it :) husband said it was especially windy & cold the night we went. He's not a fan of winter weather yet. I thouroughly enjoyed it!

By: PammyL on Thu Dec 5, 2013
My kids love this! It's especially good for kids who are too young to really see lights well out the car windows.

By: NicoleO on Thu Dec 5, 2013
It's a great display and a lot of fun for the kids to see the lights. Instead of driving around town to get the best views, it's a fantastic opportunity for the little ones to get out and explore.

By: CaraS on Thu Dec 5, 2013
This is a family tradition that we have shared with another family for years. Its very relaxing and fun. The kids love "discovering" the lights along the pathways, and the designs are really impressive. A much-loved annual event!

By: ChrissieP on Thu Dec 5, 2013
We went last year, and it's a full excursion between the extensive gardens and the train. THe kids can run around, there was a tree house they could climb in and out of, the train exhibit also had a "find whatever scavenger hunt" to keep the kids there for a llllooooong long time. Only downer is that if you don't get there at the right time (early and presumably later), the line into the parking area can be long.

By: kerstinc on Thu Dec 5, 2013
It's a hike to get there for us but it's worth it. We've gone several years in a row and all ages in our family love this display of lights. Dress warmly because you're outside and it can be chilly, but it is truly enchanting.

By: AmyA on Thu Nov 21, 2013
We love the lights here and have driven from No. Virginia a few years to see it. It's worth the drive, although allow for traffic. There's a place to buy hot cocoa and use the restroom, but we usually bring a thermos of hot chocolate or chai.

By: anneo on Thu Nov 21, 2013
Have to agree with the review. We LOVED this display.

By: DanielleW on Wed Nov 13, 2013
The Great Adventure Lab Summer Camps
Levine Music Summer Camp