Address: 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI
Dates: November 24 – 30, December 2 – 3, 7 – 10, 14 – 23, 26 – 30
Hours: 4:30 pm – 9 pm
Last admission is at 8:30 pm
Lights go dark at 9 pm
Rates: $12 per adult (13 and up), $5 per child (3-12 years old), children 2 and under are free
The Holiday Light Show at Rotary Botanical Gardens is one of the largest and most impressive holiday light shows in the Stateline! This incredible event is only 30 minutes from Rockford, Illinois in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Holiday Light Show is truly the biggest and best light show in the Stateline area!
The Holiday Light Show at Rotary Gardens is like nothing you’ve ever seen before! The entire garden is lit up with over 1.5 million lights including lights strung from trees, displays, walls of lights, and luminaria lighting the path. These lights come in every color imaginable and surround the pathway throughout the gardens. Many of the sections are absolutely breathtaking, especially the section where long strands of lights hang from the tree tops to the ground. There are also LED displays throughout the gardens featuring cute characters like penguins. A winter snowfall only enhances the beauty of the lights. One of our best visits to the gardens was during a light snowfall.
Walking through the gardens takes at least 30 minutes, but plan to be there for 1 – 1.5 hours because you’ll want to stop at the photo ops throughout the garden. We have visited the gardens for the last five years and spend at least one hour there each time. If you get tired while you’re walking through the event, you can stop and rest at one of the many benches along the pathway.
Be sure to go to the bathroom before you arrive. There are Portapotties in the Wellness garden (halfway through the event) and in the main parking lot, but indoor facilities are not available.
New at the Holiday Light Show for 2023
In 2023, there will be an additional comfort station in the event. This station will sell hot chocolate, frosted sugar cookies, and 3D glasses. The 3D glasses make the lights look like snowflakes and snowmen! My kids love looking through them while we walk around.
Parking at the event is limited in the parking lot, but you can find parking alongside Palmer Road and walk to the gates. There will be a line, but it typically moves quickly. Have your pre-purchased tickets ready on your phone, or printed out, so you can get in quickly.
The entire display is outside so sure to bundle up! We put both kids in layers, winter coats, hats, gloves, snow pants and boots and they were comfortable throughout our hour-long visit. The gardens are stroller and wagon-friendly, but the paths can get busy during peak hours. If it’s snowing during your visit, it may be easier to pull a sled. Paths are kept shoveled, but during an active snowfall, they may be snowy.
Get ready to take a lot of pictures! There are so many creative and interesting light displays, that you’re going to want to get pictures! There are also lots of places to get a cute picture of your kids.
The Holiday Light Show is a ticketed event where you must buy tickets in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Your ticket is good for the entire time slot (4:30 pm – 9 pm) and you can stay inside the event as long as you’d like. If you check the date you’re interested in on Rotary Garden’s website, you can get a real-time update on what percentage of tickets were sold for that date. This will give you an idea of whether your visit will be busy or not.