What do you do with success? If you are the Missouri Botanical Garden, you repeat it.
Last year's Garden Glow had about 98,000 visitors. “We know that it is something people enjoyed, public information officer Katie O’Sullivan said. “We heard from a lot of people that they would like to make the festival part of their annual traditions over the holidays.”
So the Botanical Garden is bringing the event back. This year’s version will be larger in hopes of making it even more impressive.
More than 600,000 lights will be used, and more areas will be decorated - including the gatehouse, administrative building and additional trees.
One of the new elements this year is an interactive area where children and adults can decorate “Glowmen” with magnetic elements. Another is a large, inflatable snow globe that people can take pictures around and in. More traditional Christmas elements, such as carolers will be featured.
O’Sullivan said the garden took what it heard last year and worked to implement suggestions to make the Glow Light more enjoyable for all visitors.
“We kind of learned where we have bottlenecks in terms of food service, and we are moving a lot of the s’mores and fire pits to try and alleviate some of the congestion,” she said.
The Botanical Garden will sell tickets online, at the garden ahead of time and at the door. Given that the event sold out some nights last year, O’Sullivan does not recommend waiting until the last minute, but suggests that patrons “plan a few days ahead of when you want to come.”
While the chills of winter could make an outdoor winter event a little unappealing, O’Sullivan believes that options for warming up, such as warm beverages and glowing winter merchandise, will help make it a success again.
“We are always surprised by how much people like to visit the garden at nights,” O’Sullivan said. “I think there is a magical element to it, and we think that is why it is so popular.”
The Garden Glow Light Exhibit will be open Nov. 22-Dec. 18, Wednesday through Sunday evenings from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. From Dec. 19-Jan. 3, the exhibit will be open nightly with the same hours.