Holiday light shows with kids can be tricky. The lines are long, it's cold (sometimes really cold), and the lights can get old after awhile. The show at Longwood Gardens solves all of these problems: entry is timed so you can get there right after sundown, there are lots of places to stop and get hot cocoa and coffee along the way, and many things (that also happen to be indoors and heated) to see other than the lights.
Longwood Gardens was the country estate of Pierre S. du Pont and his former home is open and decorated for Christmas. It's a great place to pop in and get warm while learning a little bit about the house and the man who built it. Look out for the cat who likes to lay on the heating grants in the atrium! He is always up for a little attention.
Further on there is a small train exhibit. If you have ever been to the train show at the New York Botanical Garden, you will recognize the handiwork of the buildings that decorate the tracks. Composed entirely of natural building material, they represent famous structures in the area. (These pictures were taken during a previous visit earlier in the month and it looks completely different lit up at night.)
Just when you have had enough cold and lights, the conservatory comes into view. This is a magical place, warm and filled with trees made out of poinsettias and huge swans crafted out of leaves. There is also a wonderful children's garden here but we didn't explore it this time.
Taking in everything took us about 1 1/2 hours total and we missed the fountain show, which is spectacular. We definitely could have spent more time here but with dinnertime approaching we decided to make our way back home.
If you plan to take in the show, be sure to buy tickets ahead of time on the website as the earlier times quickly sold out when we visited. This is also a great place to visit in the daytime and I will do another post on that soon!