All the electrifying new displays to see at Lightscape 2023 in Fort Worth
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is all lit up, merry and bright, for the second year of Lightscape, the holiday sensation that debuted to sell-out crowds in 2022.
Opening Friday, November 17 and running on select nights through January 1, Lightscape is an immersive, walk-through experience that takes visitors through an outdoor winter wonderland of more than 1 million lights coordinated to music. Unlike other interactive holiday events, the event features “lights” in “landscape” (hence, "Lightscape") so the natural surrounds of the garden are the stage on which the light features shine.
Last year's visitors who might wonder if Year Two will feature all the same experiences and photo ops are in for many surprises: The 2023 edition was reimagined from entry to exit, with 15 all-new installations joining just three of last year's fan favorites - the Bluebonnets, Fire Garden, and Winter Cathedral.
Winter Cathedral is back for all those Christmas card photo ops. Photo courtesy of Lightscape
There's also a new “Christmas Village,” with fire pits, s’mores roasting, hot cocoa, holiday music, and photos with Santa Claus on select nights.
CultureMap got a little sneak peek of Lightscape 24 hours before Opening Night. Here's a quick rundown of the can't-miss new features and some things to know before you go. (And if you don't want any spoilers at all, skip down to "New pricing" - you'll most certainly want to know about that.)
Must-see new displays
Japanese Garden installations. Whatever you do, do not leave without walking through the Japanese Garden, which comes at the end of Lightscape. The installations here are awe-inspiring and transportive. They include the Laser Garden, in which thousands of slowly rotating-colored beams pierce through fog within a tree canopy and create the effect of "fireflies" flickering through the forest. It's spellbinding - like something out of a magical Harry Potter forest or in the Upside-Down of Stranger Things (minus the monsters who'll eat you).
In On the Tide, lightworks "float" on the water and streams of LED lights run across the pond's surface like ripples of light. There's also the dazzling Poleen, described as "poetic sculptural chandeliers floating on the water expressing the light of a pollen seed." The reflections on the water and meditative music provide a majestic yet reverent ending to the Lightscape experience.
The lights of the Poleen sculptures reflect on the water in the Japanese Garden.Photo by Stephanie Merry
Sea of Light + Star Tree. Watch out for crowds to gather and linger in this area because it's absolutely mesmerizing. A field of 2,000 color-changing lights leads to a 40-foot illuminated Christmas tree wrapped in hundreds of lit stars. It all "dances" to a soaring symphonic version of the Polar Express suite.
Star Walk. Hundreds of suspended twinkling stars (which also kind of look like giant snowflakes)create a glowing canopy overhead while Michael Buble's rendition of "Let It Snow" plays from the speakers. Dallas Cowboys fans, this is your shining area for a photo shoot.
Heart Arches. Six red heart-shaped arches funnel visitors down a romantic red pathway (it feels a little Valentines-y, in fact). Reportedly, there were dozens of marriage proposals at Lightscape last year. We're not suggesting this would be the best place to pop the question this year; we'll let the photo speak for itself:
What a romantic photo op.Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Neon Tree. To the right of a bright neon "Fort Worth" sign stands a ginormous tree whose trunk and leafless branches are lit with strips of neon colors overlooking the hill of bluebonnets.
Candy Lane. While the Chordettes' jaunty little 1950 song "Lollipop" plays, guests follow a “Candyland-inspired” colorful path lined with gumdrops, candy canes, and more. Only thing missing is a real candy stand.
There are even more new installations and Instagrammable moments throughout the 1.2-mile experience, but we won't spoil them all.
The pricing structure has been revamped for 2023, including new reduced pricing for off-peak dates (find a calendar of "peak" and "off peak" dates here). There's also an option to purchase $50 “Anytime Access” tickets, which include flexible admission dates and arrival times, parking, and a dedicated check-in line. Tickets are timed, with entries from 5:30-8:30 pm. Prices are as follows:
Off-peak pricing: Adult -$23 / $15 for FWBG members, Child - $15 / $11 for FWBG members
Regular pricing: Adult -$28 / $20 for FWBG members, Child - $18 / $14 for FWBG members
Peak pricing: Adult - $30 / $22 for FWBG members, Child - $20 / $16 for FWBG members
On-site parking must be purchased in-advance ($20/vehicle). Off-site parking is also available in the yellow lots at Dickies Arena ($15/vehicle), and a free shuttle transports guests to the FWBG.
For more information including days and hours of operation, a handy FAQ, and tickets, visit the website.
For a longer list of the best Christmas lights around Dallas-Fort Worth, check out this story.