This Fall Wisconsin Walk-Through Light Display Is A Must-Visit
There's just something magical about a well-crafted walk-through light display. Most of the experiences I've had over the years are places in Minnesota and Wisconsin like Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Sam's Christmas Village, and the GLOW Holiday Festival - all Christmas/winter-themed.
Those holiday-themed light shows are all very charming, and I make a point to visit at least one or two every season. I learned about a different walk-through light attraction recently that isn't holiday-themed. Occurring every fall, it offers a chance to be dazzled by some pretty magical displays of a different style - all while not combatting winter temperatures.
Here's a little about this fun family light display that's worth a family road trip during the fall!
Meet the China Lights Wisconsin Festival
This walking tour in Southeastern Wisconsin has grown to be a wildly popular attraction over the years, featuring dozens of larger-than-life light displays that have followed different themes over the years.
The attraction started as the first of its kind in the Midwest back in 2016 as the City of Milwaukee entered into an agreement with Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd of Zigong City in China to bring this stunning light attraction to the region.
Where is the China Lights Festival?
Since being brought to Wisconsin in 2016, the attraction has been held each fall at the beautiful Boerner Botanical Gardens in the Milwaukee suburb of Hales Corners.
The venue offers nine acres of space that allows visitors to see dozens of handmade sculptural lantern displays along a walking path that navigates the park space.
What can I expect while visiting this attraction?
For my visit this year, they had completely refreshed the light display from previous years, with what they say was a "100% new experience" for visitors to the attraction.
Displays this year followed a few different themes, with some displays dedicated to Chinese culture, as well as a handful of other themed areas. On top of the light displays, there are food and beverages available and live stage entertainment with a handful of shows that include Asian cultural performances scheduled each day.
This year, one of those areas was an elaborate underwater area that includes some beautiful lantern sculptures - even some moving, animated fish and a crab!
Also for 2023 is a beautiful flower-lit boardwalk that brings you from the underwater experience to a mystical world of lit trees, larger-than-life wildlife, and even a dinosaur and an erupting volcano!
When is the China Lights Festival?
The attraction is held each year in the fall, with the 2023 season starting on September 15, and extending all the way through October 29.
The attraction is open Tuesdays through Sundays, with four different entry windows available. The "early" window is at 5 pm, with additional entry windows at 5:30, 7:00, and 8:30 pm.
The way that it works is you buy tickets for your entry window, when you'll have 90 minutes to arrive after your window start time. Once you're there, you can stay at the festival to enjoy the lights, entertainment, food, and beverages until the event closes at 10 pm.
Review: Is it worth the trip to see?
In a word? Absolutely! If you like walking tour light displays, this is a great family adventure or fun date night that can be part of a road trip getaway to the Milwaukee area.
While you could easily complete the tour in 15-20 minutes, there is plenty to keep you entertained for a whole evening.
During my visit, we were there for about two hours. During that time, we walked the tour twice and spent some time marveling at everything at the event. With stage entertainment, food, beverages, and a few gift vendors on site, it is easy to spend a few hours there.
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