Norfolk Botanical Gardens (Norfolk, Virginia) is celebrating 20 years of holiday light shows as well as the honor of being selected as one of America's top ten in the 'Best Public Lights Display' category in USA TODAY's readers' choice contest. The Norfolk light display celebrates the four seasons with over a million bulbs, and is open through Dec. 31, from 5:30 - 10 p.m. nightly.
The Garden 2.015 Fun Run is Thurs., Jan. 1, 2015, from 4-7 pm. You can run through 2.015 miles of spectacular light displays! (Walkers may walk beginning at 6 pm.) Or walk through the holiday lights during the Million Bulb Walk on Jan. 2nd 5-9 pm.
Deborah Norville of Inside Edition selected the 20 nominees, and the public voted for the top ten.
- Festival of Lights - Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
- Nights of Lights - Downtown St. Augustine
- Holiday Festival of Lights - James Island
- Holiday Lights Show - Coeur d'Alene Resort
- Fantasy in Lights - Callaway Gardens
- Magic Christmas in Lights - Bellingrath Gardens
- Christmas on Main Street - Silver Dollar City
- Dominion Garden of Lights-Norfolk Botanical Garden
- Garden Lights - Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill - Clifton Mill
Norfolk Botanical Gardens started as a WPA (Works Project Administration) project for an azalea garden on 75 acres in 1938 with a grant of just over $75,000. It is now the location of the International Azalea Festival, an annual festival that celebrates the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The First Azalea Festival Coronation took place in 1954. Today, Norfolk Botanical Garden includes 155 acres, with over 40 theme gardens that can be seen by tram, boat or by foot. Theme gardens include the Bristow Butterfly Garden, the Sarah Lee Baker Perennial Garden, the Virginia Native Plant Garden and the Bicentennial Rose Garden.