The holidays are the only time of the year when it's appropriate to point at a plant and expect a kiss. Channel your mistletoe horticultural display into romance, then reward yourself with today's Groupon: for $15, you get two tickets to Night Lights: A Winter Solstice Celebration at the Naples Botanical Garden (up to a $30 value). The event takes place December 20–23 and December 26–30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Brian Holley, executive director of Naples Botanical Garden, welcomes guests to join the mirth and merriment of Night Lights: A Winter's Solstice celebration. Each night of the festival, the air hums with live music and audiophile butterflies that crowd-surf amid the blooms of six gardens. Strolling amid 170 acres of verdant flora, guests can munch on treats catered by Tastebuds or toast their own marshmallows over an open fire. Polychromatic lights decorate the event spaces, creating an enchanting aura of holiday cheer and entwining winter-wary shrubs to prevent their escape to equatorial climes. On December 22, the garden takes advantage of the year's shortest night to project The Polar Express on Winter Solstice Movie Night.
Naples Botanical Garden
Two decades ago, a strip mall, parking lot, and acres of invasive plants stood on this land, hosting crowds of shoppers bustling through their daily routines. Now, serene greenery has once again reclaimed the expanse, replacing the concrete and metal with 170 acres of flourishing gardens and pine flatwoods. Naples Botanical Garden's 90-acre preserve is home to seven ecosystems, including untouched forests, marshes, and mangroves, where hundreds of animal species and more than 300 species of native and exotic plants dwell.
Cultivating a diverse array of subtropical flora, the seven garden habitats enchant and educate adults and children alike. Visitors meander along 2.5 miles of walking trails, dropping into the Lea Asian Garden to admire a northern Thailand riverside scene and relax at the Balinese--temple water garden, spying on frogs trying to have a conversation with their own reflections. Throughout the Kapnick Caribbean Garden, guests stroll beneath a vine-covered arbor and through the coconut grove, which showcases plants from Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific that had great economic impact on the islands. Wee ones splash in jets of water in the Smith's Children’s Garden, where they can visit a butterfly house, caper about treehouses, and drop by the healthy-eating garden to ask organic vegetables why there are no mummies in the food pyramid. In addition to engaging the senses, the botanical gardens enlightens minds of all ages with myriad educational programs and events.