We have decided that the best gifts to give our parents these days are tickets to local events. Many years we have gifted tickets to local Cape Theatre productions. One year, tickets to a whale watch. Tickets to the Melody Tent, passes to the Natural History Museum or Dennis Art Museum. This year, Gardens Aglow at Heritage Gardens.
We arrived at 4:30 when the doors opened. Glad that I had preordered tickets to avoid the much longer line. We lucked out that the weather was mild, not freezing. My kids initially asked why we needed to stay for 2 hours. Three hours later, they were happily sitting by the fire pits roasting endless marshmallows.
First stop was the vintage car collection inside one of the most interesting, beautiful buildings. Was it an octagon? There were about 18 cars on display from the early 1900s. Gorgeous, huge and impressive. The info on each car lists how much the car cost in the year it was made as well as the annual average income for folks. Times have changed. Imagine in 1912 earning $592 per year and hoping to buy a Mercer Raceabout that costs $2500. You can learn more about the cars on display - Antique Automobile Collection.
Kids were in line to sit on Santa's lap, who of course was sitting in an antique car. I couldn't help myself, had to grab this picture of a cute baby. My kids are too big to sit on Santa's lap....
We then walked to the warming hut where we were greeted with free marshmallows to roast. This was cozy and nice. We purchased hot chocolate and hot cider. There is an option for mulled wine, that I later googled and learned that mulled wine is warmed red wine with spices and raisins.
So the tour begins throughout the gardens, each more colorful and bright than the last. Some looking Dr Seuss-like and some traditional. All fun. We noticed a wide range in age of other folks also enjoying the walk - many young families with strollers. My favorite was the labyrinth lit with candy cane looking trees.
Further on, inside the Special Exhibits Gallery, there was a gingerbread contest, ceiling level train tooting about the whole room, and an impressive 18 foot tall Eiffel Tower made out of tiny branches. Incredible tribute to Paris.
There were two main events. For my husband and his buddy (not that I wasn't impressed...) the most intriguing display was the live ice sculpture demonstration. We were lucky to be there on a special night to see this extra feature. With chain saw in hand, this man proceeded to carve a wreath out of a block of ice. It was pretty fun to watch.
For especially the younger crowd, the carousel took the prize Worth the wait in line. Colorful, musical, and vibrant welcoming happy faces moving up and down, up and down. We enjoyed the evening very much. There are many indoor attractions during the walk to warm chilly little fingers and toes. As we left, there were plans being made to visit again in the peak blooming months - May and June.