Every holiday season, over 300,000 sparkling lights are carefully strung through trees, around tiny buildings and over bridges in the Idaho Botanical Gardens for the annual Boise tradition, Winter Garden aGlow.
The event, which runs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, is a colorful light explosion that will leave you smiling and full of holiday cheer. And for us photographers, it’s a wonderful playground, especially under a fresh coat of snow. So when Boise got hit with a nice little snow storm last Wednesday, I decided it would be a perfect time to check out the surreal display. As luck would have it, right as the gates opened at 6pm, the falling snow cleared, leaving crystal clear views over the winter wonderland.
I expected to only stay about 45 minutes, but we shut the party down as we explored and took photos for over 3 hours. Even the free hot cocoa and cookies had been packed up by the time we headed out the gate.
So if you are anywhere near Boise, Idaho this holiday season, make sure to check out the Winter Garden aGlow in the Idaho Botanical Gardens. If the pictures don’t convince you, here are five more reasons.
The View From the Top
While it is hard to capture the beautiful downtown area of Boise from the top of the hill in a wide angle photograph, the Idaho state capital is an amazing site to see in the distance from above the tens of thousands of glowing lights.
It’s the Warmest Outdoor Location in the City
A number of fire pits are laid out around the gardens, giving the display a cool post-apocalyptic feel. But even more important than how they look in your photographs, the fire pits are a welcome site when temperatures dip below freezing.
The Lights Look Extra Cool With These Filter Glasses
I didn’t know they had these for sale in the gift shot at the entrance, but there are some cool plastic glasses you can put on to make the scenes even more awesome. From a simple dose of extra sparkles to making all the lights look like Santa Clause or candy canes, these glasses add something new to the experience.
There is a Model Train and a Mini Idaho Town
Now, I think I found this gem way too late in the evening, and the train had stopped running. But the 5-year old me wearing striped overalls and playing conductor with toy trains was in heaven.
It’s a Great Place to Visit With Friends & Family
The holidays were made to spend with the ones you love. And what better place to catch up with great conversation than next to a warm fire surrounded by 300,000 surreal lights?