Wagon Wheel Holiday Lights at the Landscape Arboretum

Making Spirits Brighter at the MN Landscape Arboretum

Holiday lights have always been magical. Today it has become an art. Do you go simple with a solid white light, or do you put up the entire rainbow?

Do you get a fancy switchboard and coordinate your lights to dance to the beat of the music? Ever since I was a kid, we drove around neighborhoods trying to find the best display. This year I found it at the MN Landscape Arboretum’s Making Spirits Bright Display.

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Making Spirits Bright at the MN Landscape Arboretum

With Thanksgiving officially over, we wanted to immerse ourselves in a one-of-a-kind Christmas light display. Located in Chanhassen MN, the MN Landscape Arboretum has a glow that is seen from highway five.

The Arboretum is known for inspiring artists and photographers. With seasonal displays to impress their guest. Like in the summer of 2017 when they created treehouses of all different sizes.

During the winter, they face the challenge of working with the onset of early darkness. But this year, they have decked out their grounds with an elaborate holiday light display titled, Making Spirits Bright.

They created six different worlds of magic to explore on foot. All of the venues are accessible from walking paths. After parking, we headed out to the Farm exhibit, by the learning center first. Allowing you to get up close to the exhibits, you enter a world of wonder and magic on the farm.

Windmill at Making Spirits Brighter

The remaining light displays surrounded the Oswald Visitors Center. Families were roasting marshmallows by the crackling of fire pits out front. The arboretum is selling s’mores makings, four servings for $5.

Adults were carrying warm cups of hot chocolate and coffee. With the weather being as beautiful as it was, they didn’t even need it for the warmth.

Lighted tunnel at the MN Landscape Arboretum at Christmas
Lighted Trees at the MN Landscape Arboretum

Behind the visitors center, they have more traditional lighted elements with tunnels and light trees. The back of the building also hosts a lighted display animated to the music. They did such a good job of placing the bulbs, for a little bit I thought it was looking at a television monitor.

Out front, the trees are strung with lights hanging down like a willow tree. It overlooked a pond. It was like being in a fairy tale. I think I may want to rethink my holiday light display at home now.

Twin Cities Holiday Light Display

Fun for everyone

The pathways were all stroller friendly making it a fun adventure to take the whole family. In the farm area, there is a hay bale maze designed for the kids to let off some steam.

New for 2018 is the S’more Village. Previously guests enjoyed them at the visitors center. Now they’ve added a few more pits and other warm treats for purchase at the Marot Picnic Shelter.

They also expanded the Christmas light displays beyond the perennial and cloister gardens, over by the waterfalls. The MN Landscape Arboretum has also added a few sculptures by artist Dale Lewis.

Corn Stalks Lit for Christmas
Christmas Lights

Making Spirits Bright Costs

The display is included in the price for guests visiting the arboretum. It costs $15 to get in the gate for guests 16 and over. If you are a member, it’s free.  If time allows I’ll be heading back when fresh snow covers the ground.

For more great Holiday light displays check my post on Where to See Christmas Lights in MN or 28 Things to do this Winter in MN

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