Christmas at Butchart Gardens is a fabulous holiday outing to add to your traditions! From jaw-dropping light displays to fun activities like outdoor ice skating and carousel rides, your family will love it all!
I say it to pretty much everyone I meet during this time of year…
I love Christmas!
There is magic in the air all wrapped up in family time, lights, traditions, cookies, and music. Every once in awhile we try out something new during the Christmas season and occasionally that something new is also something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
This year, we were able to take the family to experience the Magic Of Christmas At Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens is magical to begin with. I’ve never seen plants and flowers so exquisitely arranged and cared for, so I knew Christmas would be pretty special too.
But “special” really doesn’t do it justice. This place has an interesting effect on those who visit. Time slows down here. And I think there may be a secret in the air that causes people to become drunk on the experience of it all.
For 2 months, the Butchart Gardens elves work getting the lights just right for their display of The Twelve Days of Christmas. But a December experience is so much more that that. It’s…let’s say it all together…magical.
As we walked around the gardens with our children, we all enjoyed it differently, proving once again that Butchart has something for everyone.
We didn’t pick the most beautiful of days, but that didn’t matter. With complimentary umbrellas to use while visiting, we didn’t seem to notice all the rain.
Instead, we noticed the ice rink when we first walked in and enjoyed a family skate together. I fell in love with my husband on the outdoor ice of Alberta and delighted in sharing an outdoor skate with my kids on Vancouver Island. It took a little getting used to for our daughter, but once she adjusted, she giggled and skated to her little heart’s content.
And the outdoor ice rink wasn’t all we noticed. We made our way to the carousel for the 5:00 lighting of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It was here where we all rode the carousel together for the fist time.
I thought for sure the round and round and up and down of this ride would do me in, but sometimes you gotta take one for the team and come out better for it.
I surprised even myself and had fun on my zebra carousel animal.
The rain continued, but we still didn’t notice. I think the Butchart magic air had already taken effect. We noticed carollers and a brass quartet bringing live music to the plaza.
We noticed eight maids ‘a milking and a partridge in a pear tree. We noticed lights like we’d never seen before…even a Christmas light waterfall in the sunken garden that made all three of my kids wonder if it was indeed real.
And just as our hands began to freeze, we noticed the warmth of a coffee shop giving free hot chocolate to kids who brought a hand-made paper snowflake. Yum!
After a bite to eat, the kids asked for more skating time (I think begged is a better word), so while Jay couldn’t resit taking them out on the ice for a second time that night, I took a stroll through the entire gardens by myself to see the rest of the lighted magic.
I walked throughout and paused to take it all in. My mind felt like a child’s, awestruck by the beauty before me. As I approached the three french hens, I looked up and giggled at the glittery, sparkly glow of the trees above.
I had never seen anything quite like it before.
As soon as the kids’ skates were off, I had to show them my discovery. Like me, they gasped in wonder at the sight. Then I heard it, “No, Mama, actually THIS is my favourite.” Koen, the 6 year old, continued to exclaim over the next several minutes that each sight was his new favourite and by the end of it all he still couldn’t choose.
It’s just that magical.
I thought we would be at Butchart Gardens for about 3 hours as a family. You can imagine my surprise when 6 hours after entering, we suddenly realized that the enchanting air at the gardens had stopped time and we were the only ones left.
It’s magical, for sure. And rain or starry night, you really won’t want to miss it.
5 Things To Know Before You Go
1. Admission Ticket Rates During Christmas
Christmas At Butchart Gardens is affordable for families! Check out the price for children: $26 for adults, $13 for youth (Ages 13-17) $3 for child (Ages 5-12).
2. Save A Few Dollars, Actually More Than A Few Dollars…
If you are looking to save some money on this special Christmas outing, bring snacks or a bag dinner. There are no rules against bringing in your own food and snacks into Butchart Gardens. The food is incredible though, so you may want to splurge.
3. When Experiencing The Garden With Young Kids…
Be sure to set the right expectations going in and embrace the energy kids bring to Christmas light experiences. We found mixing your time up between the carousel, ice skating, hot chocolate breaks, listening to the carollers and taking in the Christmas lights is the way to go.
4. Arrive Early
We arrived at 3:30pm and started ice-skating right away and then made it over to the light up ceremony at 5:00pm. Plan plenty of extra time so you don’t have to rush, and if you’re anything like us you’ll find yourself wanting to stay way longer than you originally thought. Closing is at 9:00pm but no one kicked us out.
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While our experience at Butchart Gardens was complimentary, you can rest assured that our thoughts, opinions, and findings are our own as always.