More than half a million lights will festoon the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville during the annual Winter Lights Holiday Light Show, which runs Nov. 22-Jan. 4.

The Winter Lights show is an outdoor walking tour that winds through the arboretum. The family-friendly event includes lighted displays and glowing landscapes, interactive games and activities and live entertainment. Winter Lights also serves as the arboretum’s largest fundraising event of the year, with proceeds helping to support educational programs, exhibits and facilities.

New this year:

-The “Magical Maple” display will showcase Western North Carolina’s native red maple tree through lights, music and art. It will feature four signature trees located alongside the arboretum’s grassy knoll. Musical hits from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s will play alongside the lights.

-This year the arboretum is offering Flex Tickets, which give visitors the option to easily exchange the date of their purchased ticket for another night without any additional penalty. (Tickets range from $8 to $25 and are date- and time-specific. Children age 4 and under are free.) The arboretum will also be offering several different discounted ticket opportunities, including its “Friends and Family” Tuesday night promotion (excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) and “Arboretum Week,” December 2 – 5. Arboretum members receive $2 off each ticket purchased. Tickets for Winter Lights can be purchased online at ncwinterlights.com.

Fan favorites will return, including the arboretum’s signature 50-foot animated tree and lighted Quilt Garden, Rocky Cove Railroad garden scale model train, as well as its animatronic children’s program, “Storytime at Woodland Cove.”  Food and drink, including hot cocoa, s’mores, wine and beer, will be available for purchase.

For visitors seeking transportation from Asheville, The Trolley Company will offer its Winter Lights Holiday Tour, Thursdays through Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. This chartered package includes a complimentary cup of hot cocoa, admission to Winter Lights and a scenic ride filled with music to and from the arboretum. Pick-up locations for the tour will be at the Renaissance hotel in downtown Asheville and the DoubleTree hotel in Biltmore Village. Tickets for The Trolley Company’s Winter Lights Holiday Tour are $29.50 per person and must be purchased in advance through The Trolley Company’s website, www.thetrolleycompany.com.

The arboretum, a nationally recognized affiliate of the affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System that aims to cultivate connections among people, plants and places, has also partnered again with the City of Asheville for its Local Lights display. Thanks to a partnership between the arboretum, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Downtown Association, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and the Historic Biltmore Village Association, residents and visitors can enjoy special pop-up holiday light displays in Pack Square Park, Pritchard Park and Biltmore Village. A special lighting ceremony to kick off Local Lights will take place at Pack Square Park from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 22 and will include free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. On Dec.6, Biltmore Village will celebrate its Local Lights display as part of the tree lighting ceremony for its 32nd annual Dickens Festival.

Tickets for Winter Lights range from $8 to $25 and are date- and time-specific. Children four and under are free. This year, the arboretum is offering guests the opportunity to purchase Flex Tickets, which give visitors the option to easily exchange the date of their purchased ticket for another night without any additional penalty. The Arboretum will also be offering several different discounted ticket opportunities, including its “Friends and Family” Tuesday night promotion (excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) and “Arboretum Week,” December 2 – 5. Arboretum members receive $2 off each ticket purchased. Many nights, including weekends and holidays, are likely to sell out, and visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. Tickets for Winter Lights can be purchased online at ncwinterlights.com.

For more information about the North Carolina Arboretum and Winter Lights, please visit ncarboretum.org.

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