FAQs

Are the Winter Lights ADA accessible?

 
Both indoor and outdoor displays are accesible with exception of the Winter Farm which has a woodchip path. We have three wheelchairs that are available for lending first come first serve. A driver's license is required to check out a wheelchair. We do not have electric scooters available but you are welcome to bring your own. 
 

How much does it cost?

Winter Lights is free to Arboretum members. Non-members pay the gate admission fee of $15 for each adult 16 and over. Children 15 and younger are free.

 

Do you have group rates?

Group rates are available for 15 or more adults arriving in a single vehicle. Group rate is $12 per person 16 years of age and older. Children 15 and younger are free.

 

Can you do it for groups on nights other than Fri, Sat, Sun?

Special Winter Lights nights Monday-Thursday can be arranged for groups of 25 or more with a room rental and catering contract. Contact Reservations Department at 612-301-7597 to book.

 

What happens if the weather is bad or very cold?

The Winter Lights will be on and the Arboretum will be open unless the University of Minnesota is officially closed for inclement weather. We suggest guests dress appropriately for the weather on the day they plan to visit. If you have any doubts, please call 952-443-1400.

 

Can I get food on site?

A rotating menu of treats will be available for purchase in the hot foods tent located at S'more Village. S'mores will be available for $5 per package. Each package creates 4 S'mores. A full bar will be available in the Oswald Visitor Center which will also have soda and water availble for purchase.

 

Is this a good display for little kids? Can we bring strollers, wagons? Can they run around anywhere?

Winter Lights is a family friendly display that welcomes all ages. Strollers and wagon are permited. Many display areas are conducive to walking and enjoying the lights. The Winter Farm has larger area for running around. The Winter farm will have a kiddie haybale maze designed to let the kids run and play.

 

If I have a party or wedding at the the Arb, can we see Winter Lights too?

Yes, Winter Lights will be on and available to all parties booked on Friday- Sunday Winter Light dates or with a room rental and catering contract for over 25 people on Monday-Thursday dates.

 

Where do I park?

Parking is available in the Arboretum's main visitor parking lot. Parking is free with Arboretum membership and gate admission.

 

Where are the bathrooms?

Bathrooms are located in the Oswald Visitor Center and Snyder Buildings.

 

What's different this year?

The 2018 Winter lights is expanding in two ways. First, beyond the Winter Farm, the new S'mores Village will be located at the Margot Picnic Shelter area. Added to the S'mores area will be a hot food tent with a rotating menu of warm treats offered by Arboretum Catering. The second area Winter Lights is expanding to is the Waterfall area and beyond to the Perennial Garden, Cloister Garden and Wedding Tower. The 2018 Winter Lights will also feature four sculptures created by Artist Dale Lewis.

 

Is the Gift Store open during the show?

Yes, the Arboretum Gift and Garden Store will be open during Winter Light hours 5-9 p.m.

 

Is the cafe open during the show?

The Arboretum Cafe will close at 4 p.m. per normal winter hours. Hot food will be available for purchase from Arboretum catering at S'mores Village during Winter Lights hours 5-9 p.m.

 

Will there be music?

There will be live music on select nights during Winter Lights. Dec 2 - School of Rock 5-6:30 p.m., Dec 8 - Holiday Singers 5-6:30 p.m., Dec 9 Star of the North 5-6:30 p.m., Dec 16 - Waconia Susuki Ensemble 5-6:30 p.m., Dec 22 - The Prairie Brass Band 5-6:30 p.m.

 

Do we need to buy tickets?

No, this is not a ticketed event. Winter Lights are free for Arboretum members. Non-members will need to pay gate admission at arrival. Admission is $15 per adult ages 16 and over. Children 15 and younger are free.

 

We don't like crowds, when is a less busy time to visit the display?

Historically the earliest and latest time of the display each day and Sundays are the least busy times.

 

Will the walks all be clear in case of snow or ice?

The Arboretum grounds crew will clear the snow and ice as quickly and efficently as possible during snowstorms.

 

What if we come to the display and want to buy a membership? Is the cost of our tickets deducted?

Yes! Deductions are taken based on the amount paid at the gate. Breeze through the line! Join the Arboretum today and enjoy the Arb all year and see Winter Lights for free!

 

Can I buy Gift of Membership for other people at this event?

Yes, the membership department will be available during Winter Lights to sell gifts of membership, purchase new membership or renew current memberships.

 

Is it dark enough at 5 p.m. to see the lights?

Sunset on the first day of Winter Lights is 4:37 p.m. Winter Lights can be enjoyed for the entire 5-9 p.m. show time.

 

If I (a member) bring guests who are not members, how much are their tickets?

Non-member guest tickets are $12 for adults aged 16 and over. Children 15 and younger are always free.

 

Where should we start to see the show?

Winter Lights can be enjoyed starting at any display. We will have maps available in the Oswald Visitor Center to help navigate the show.

 

Is there anything indoors to see?

The Great Hall in the Oswald Visitor Center has a 24-foot-tall Poinsettia Tree, 8-12' decorated trees, winter decor and lights. The Conservatory is lit from inside and outside to enhance the beautiful flowers in bloom.The cafe is festively decorated as well as many rooms throughout the buildings.