Dazzling Nights offers a holiday walk in the garden
Last updated on December 1, 2022 by Jeremy
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In 2022, the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden near Oakdale announced they were hosting a new holiday light experience, aptly named Dazzling Nights, which transformed 65 acres of the property into a magnificent visitor experience.
Naturally we were very excited about this one as a guided tour Christmas lights in Pittsburgh are rare and hit this one shortly after it opened in November.
Although this one has a significant premium over almost every other holiday experience in town, we must admit, we had a lot of fun there!
Stroll through the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden on dazzling nights
The Dazzling Nights show at Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens transforms many areas of the gardens into unique themed sections that can be enjoyed over the course of an evening.
The Japanese Garden transforms the pond area into a synchronized sound and light show that guests can enjoy from every angle. A path through the woods becomes a 65-foot tunnel of light ideal for photographs. Other sections of the garden conjure up images of the Northern Lights, fireflies, neon Christmas trees, faux snow paths, and more.
For us, two key factors resulted in a great evening. First, it’s because the lights are tastefully done with multiple areas providing light experiences that we’ve really never seen before (the firefly field is particularly notable in this regard, and there was no Father Inflatable Christmas to see). Second, since our visit in late November at least, the crowds weren’t crazy. We had free rein to wander around the park as we pleased and often had a light experience given to ourselves – perfect for photos.
Will you get the latter when you visit, especially around Christmas? It’s hard to say, but it helped improve the experience for all of us.
In fact after leaving this one we noticed how well the gardens would do to have a light experience all year round not just at Christmas as it was quite well executed and helped bring life to the unique ambiance of the gardens after dark.
Our only regret was that there was no snow on the ground to complete the experience! Although we should note that there is a section of the gardens for a snow spraying experience via soap bubbles, but the wind blew it out of the way.
In the end, as we walked away having enjoyed our experience at Dazzling Nights, we have some tips for getting the most out of your visit, in part because it can be the most expensive vacation experience. from the city !
How to make the most of the experience
While we generally had a great time at the Dazzling Nights show at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, there are a few things you should probably know before buying a ticket and visiting this one.
Firstand perhaps most important, tickets are expensive. When we visited in 2022, adult prices were $25 per ticket, children 3-13 were $22, and premium parking was $12. Free parking is available nearby but requires a shuttle transfer, but for two adults plus premium parking and a service charge/fee, it cost us $72 just to get into this one. We’re told member discounts are around 20%, but we haven’t heard that officially – only through third-party sources.
Secondwhile the gardens laid plastic tracks on some walkways, we found that not all paths had this particular coating. We found ourselves walking on dirt roads in some sections, often poorly lit, and ended up walking in mud a few times as well. Those with less secure bases should plan to have a flashlight ready from your phone or separately. Likewise, we’re not sure how well strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs would do on some of the trails here.
To finishit should be noted that there is also food and drink available at this one, including mocktails from Goodlander cocktails, fortified drinks (available for mocktails and separately as mulled wine, fortified cocoa, etc.), etc. When we visited, soft drinks were around $6 and alcoholic options were $12.
Overall, despite the quality of Dazzling Nights’ lights, we can see how off-putting the price tag would be for many. Between two tickets, premium parking, a mulled wine, and all of the bartender’s fees, taxes, and tips, our evening quickly exceeded $85 and would have tipped over $100 had we ordered a second drink. As we are often quite quick in these experiments, it is also worth noting that we were there for just under an hour.
For families with kids, it could quickly become an expensive night out, just as kids’ fares aren’t much cheaper (unless you have a member discount, at least) – but you can wander around as long as you want to get what you pay for, too.
Is this one worth its price? It’s up to you to decide. But I’d also be lying if I didn’t say I walked into this one grumpy about the price and walked out having fun all the same.
dazzling nights takes place at the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden at 799 Pinkerton Run Rd in Collier Township near Oakdale. Timed entry tickets must be purchased in advance and premium parking is limited and is likely to sell out considerably in advance. For those opting for free parking, read the shuttle instructions carefully and be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss your entry slot.