Botanical Garden at Lake of the Woods to Illuminate during Holidays for First Time

Botanical Garden at Lake of the Woods to Illuminate during Holidays for First Time


Published Date: November 11, 2021

As the biggest fans of holiday lights in Central Illinois, we jumped up when we scrolled upon “Night Lights in the Garden.” We join the excitement of the folks at the Champaign County Forest Preserve District as they prepare for their inaugural holiday lights display at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet.

Botanical Garden at Lake of the Woods during the 2020 holiday season.

The Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden at Lake of the Woods is open to the public free of charge year-round. We visit to take prom pictures in front of the waterfall or watch the beautiful koi swim under the red bridge. We sit our kids in front of the seasonally decorated wagon during fall, just basking in the beauty we have here in Champaign County.

This holiday season the garden will be illuminated for the first “Night Lights in the Garden.” Beginning Friday, Dec. 3, the garden will be brimming with light on Friday and Saturday evenings from 4-8 p.m. through Jan. 8. This even includes the holiday evenings, with Christmas Eve on Friday and Christmas Day on Saturday this year!

“Night Lights in the Garden” opening weekend will kick off with a special celebration on Dec. 4. This FREE night will have an interactive holiday-themed scavenger hunt, holiday songs and carols performed live, and much more. Free hot cocoa will be given out and the first 50 visitors will receive a free pair of 3D glasses to enhance the holiday light viewing experience. (Register ahead of time and pick up a gingerbread kit for $10 on this evening, too.)

A closing evening will be held on Jan. 8 with some brightly lit and festive fun so save the date in your calendars.

Some guidance from the Champaign County Forest Preserve for your visit to “Night Lights in the Garden”:

Enter Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve from Rt. 47 and park in the Museum of the Grand Prairie parking lot, follow the lighted path and candy cane poles to the lights display. The estimated walkthrough is 15-20 minutes. Please keep in mind that Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve will close at 5pm; if arriving after 5 pm, you will not be able to drive through from Lake of the Woods Rd.