Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Holiday Glow

Cleveland’s weather hasn’t been able to make up its mind lately – some days have been beautiful and warm (definitely not December weather). Others draped in fog. And then this weekend’s forecast calls for rain and possibly snow.

I know for me, this can make it difficult when putting together my holiday plans.

Fortunately, you can surround yourself with the natural beauty of the holidays without worrying about the weather at the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s indoor Glow.

This December, take your coat off and stay awhile inside the Garden’s galleries and greenhouse, decked with 100,000 lights and the bright colors of 3,000 holiday plantings from red and white poinsettias to Christmas cactus and winterberry holly.

Last weekend, Scott and I took in the sights, sounds and scents of Glow for ourselves.

As soon as we walked into the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s main hall, we were welcomed by a cascade of lights and a stunning 25-foot fir decorated with 40 live poinsettias.

Strolling through the hallways, we continued to marvel at CBG’s close to 40 Fraser firs, designed by their Affiliate Garden Clubs like this one from the Arrangers Guild:

However, it was the craftsmanship of Glow’s gingerbread houses that had me most in awe. Built by professional “edible architects” as well as families and children, there were both traditional houses and displays that were anything but.

It was difficult to pick a favorite – I honestly don’t know how the judges did it.

On the one hand, I really enjoyed the Cleveland-centric displays, like the West Side Market, Cleveland Museum of Art and Christmas Story gingerbread houses.

And the video game and model train nerd in me was happy with the gingerbread Mine Craft and train depot displays.

However, I think it was this gingerbread village (complete with sledding hill, fire pit and gingerbread jacuzzi) that was top of my list just for its attention to detail:

New to this year’s winter show are an Alpine-village experience of holiday shopping and treats as well as a Treetop Shop complete with slide where children can pick out presents for their moms and dads.

Although a little part of me wished I could’ve gone down the slide, I’ll take grown-up beverages and treats any day.  There was Christmas ale, wine and gingerbread snacks a-plenty.

While we hung out, we enjoyed a few holiday songs by the Don DiSantis Trio (the Garden features a full lineup of musicians for each day of Glow).

And because last weekend was unseasonably warm, we headed outside to walk the gardens. We watched as the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s energy-efficient Garden Express train took children on a loop around the Geis Terrace and Hershey Children’s Garden.

Glow is going on through New Year’s Eve, Tuesdays through Sundays (except Christmas).

On Wednesdays and Fridays (except Dec. 7), Glow has special evening hours until 9pm when the sun goes down and the Greenhouse and Garden are bathed in lights.

And this Saturday and Sunday (12/8-9), parents can bring their children for breakfast with Santa, holiday crafts, and early entry to Glow.

Tickets are free for Garden members; for non-members, it’s $12 for adults and $6.50 for children. Buy your tickets online for one of Cleveland’s most scenic holiday spots. Here are a few more photos from the day:

Speaking of hamming it up for holiday photos, Positively Cleveland is running a photo contest and wants to see what being home for the holidays means to you.

Whether you’re snapping your photos at the Cleveland Botanical Garden or anywhere else around town, post them to Instagram with the tag #HomeinCLE to be entered to win a full-size leg lamp (Click here for contest rules).

And if you need more ideas for what to do this season, they put together holiday planning guides at as well as lists of top holiday music, lights and outdoor fun.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend Glow in exchange for sharing my thoughts on the experience. The opinions expressed here are my own.

2 thoughts on “Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Holiday Glow

  1. Pingback: Cleveland Date-rday: Cleveland Botanical Garden and Shakespeare

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