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Tickets for China Lights at Boerner Botanical Gardens on sale now

Four children are silhouetted against a backdrop of colorful lights as they play inside a large polygon structure.
China Lights

For several years, the China Lights lantern festival has illuminated fall nights at Boerner Botanical Gardens. We’re a little more than a month away from its return Sept. 15, and tickets officially went on sale today.

A partnership between Milwaukee County Parks and Tianyu Arts & Culture, the festival runs through Oct. 29 and will bring a new theme to Hales Corners this year: “Nature’s Glow.” According to a release, the fresh approach will “shine a light on biodiversity of the ocean and beyond to jungle animals and insects.”

That’ll be reflected in the 40 lanterns — the vast majority of which are brand new — visitors will find on the three-quarter-mile path winding through the gardens. Among the giant displays are:

  • A 20-foot-high walkthrough octopus
  • A “bubbling” animated crab
  • A 20-foot-long T-rex walkthrough tunnel
  • A series of animated and illuminated insects

The release also mentioned that the festival’s trademark Chinese dragon will also return, albeit “in a completely different form.” There will also be a nod to 2023 being the year of the rabbit, with an 18-foot-tall long-eared lantern positioned at the atrium’s entrance.

“China Lights has become a yearly favorite for the community and tourists alike. We know people are excited to see what the new show will bring to the Boerner Botanical Gardens this year,” Milwaukee County Parks executive director Guy Smith said in the release. “We’re proud to showcase an illuminating experience with brand new lanterns along the unique backdrop of the gorgeous gardens here in Hales Corners.”

If you want to secure a spot strolling among the lights, tickets are on sale now at the China Lights website. Prices are below, and if you’re among the first 1,000 tickets sold through Aug. 22, you can use the code EARLYLIGHTS for a $5 discount on general admission:

  • General admission (ages 12+): $22 weekday, $25 weekend
  • Child (ages 3-11): $14 weekday, $16 weekend
  • Infant (under 3): free
  • Early entry (any age): $25 weekday, $28 weekend
  • Family pack (two general, two children): $62 weekday, $70 weekend
  • Unlimited-visit individual season pass: $55