Last week, Lily and I went on a special date night to Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point Gardens. She was very excited to spend some one-on-one time with me since she was terribly disappointed that Thomas got to go with me to see Fabulous Beasts. She's kind of a middle kid and totally keeps track of what she sees as fair or not. Good thing she's absolutely adorable about it.
Anyway, it was her turn to go. It worked out perfectly because earlier in the afternoon she got orthodontic braces. She's nervous, excited and all around "wired" up.
The Luminaria light display replaces the former light show at Thanksgiving Point where you stayed in your car to drive through the kitschy displays (I can see that in my neighborhood). I successfully avoided that particular show for years. Seeing the long lines of cars from the freeway was a complete deterrent for this holiday bah humbug.
Lily and I arrived for the event one minute before the time on our ticket and we weren't allowed into the building until the time on our ticket. The staff was very friendly and literally anxious for us to see the displays that have obviously taken a lot of time, preparation and passion.
We started in the Poinsettia House where we enjoyed the relative warmth for a bit as we waited for it to get just a little darker. It was a chilly night but thankfully dry, so we bundled up to enjoy the peaceful walk. It had snowed the day before and the layer of white stuff added to the winter beauty. We really lucked out.
I don't know how they will manage the crowds throughout December, but being able to just ramble through the gardens at our own pace and without crowds of people to push us through was delightful.
The use of lights and the natural environments of the garden were so impressive. It was so beautiful. Different areas had various themes with music piped in to match. There were fun areas, peaceful areas and places to contemplate the holiday and the meaning of Christmas. My personal favorite was definitely the Light of the World exhibit that focused on the Savior.
My family has enjoyed the I Am the Light of the World Sculpture exhibit at Ashton Gardens during the spring and summer but it was magically and impressively transformed with lights. It was a wonderful place to feel the peace and talk with Lily about our Savior and His life and ministry.
There are several places throughout the garden to buy treats and warm up with your family and friends. Lily was a little rushed throughout the entire walk. She had this "hurry up" attitude. Whether she was cold or just wasn't as impressed as I was, I'm not sure.
The Luminaria light display was my favorite "pay-to-see" Christmas event that I've ever been to. I'd love to take my entire family. But here's the thing, it's costly. And at this time of year when I'm trying desperately to stick to a budget to buy gifts for my family and help the needy, it's hard to justify the cost to take my big family.
It would make a fabulous date night and I'm tempted to take Rand back because I desperately want to see it again this season. It really is quite incredible.
Tickets are now on sale for
The display runs through the end of December. Dates and times are limited so it's best to buy tickets in advance.
**Lily and I were guests of Thanksgiving Point and received complimentary tickets. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**