WinterGardenaglowIt was dark, it was cold, it was glowing… It’s the 15th Annual Winter Garden aGlow at the Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise.  If you haven’t been and if you have children, this one’s a gimme: sparkly lights, Santa, model trains, and… reindeer!

There are over 250,000 lights over the expanse of the grounds and the kids went nutso!  There are few places that feel as magical, probably because there’s really no branding to any of this, so you can walk around, slightly disoriented because it’s dark, following the lights from one area to the next. You can get a feel for it here.

We spent a long time watching the G Scale model train display in the English Garden. That’s when it became necessary to buy the freshly made mini-donuts and hot chocolate or apple cider.  (ccccold) The railway is designed by the Southern Idaho Garden Railway Society. The cars are approximately seven inches tall, and the engine cars which are a mix of steam and diesel, are exact replicas.

To me, the Winter Garden aGlow seems like a throwback kind of tradition — in a great way — in that our journey around the gardens was unstructured and we made our own fun within the space.

Of course, you can also visit Santa, Prancer (unfortunately, not Vixen) as well as local community choirs who sing (check the website).

Don’t forget to bring your hat, mittens and boots!