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Fayetteville’s Botanical Garden will be transformed into a truly unique, local winter wonderland on Dec. 11 snow or no snow. Garden spokesperson Meg Suraci says this year’s “Holiday Lights in the Garden” will feature 300,000 lights to illuminate plants and trees. 

New this year is a synchronized show of lights and music shimmering over the Cypress Pond. Attractions and festivities include a mile-long stroll featuring brilliant light displays, photos with Santa, S’mores roasting over the fire pit, free crafts for children and holiday movies in the Orangery.

The Garden Gift Shop, brimming with wonderful holiday selections, is open each evening. Refreshments and beverages are available for purchase from Mrs. Claus’s Kitchen. There is also a beer and wine
cash bar. 

The Garden is partnering with three local non-profits this year. On select nights, guests donating the requested collection drive item will receive $3 off an adult ticket. You might want to plan your visit accordingly. Doors will open nightly at 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 11–15, Fort Bragg’s USO is the beneficiary. Take a bag of individually wrapped candies.

Dec. 16–20, Fayetteville’s Second Harvest Food Bank will benefit when you take a canned food item. 

Dec. 21–23,  The Child Advocacy Center is asking for school supplies or individual snack size bags of animal crackers. 

Admission is:

Botanical Garden Members: $5 

General Admission: $10

Military (with ID): $8

Seniors (65+): $9

Children (ages 6-12): $5

Children 5 and under: Free.

In 1989, a few local citizens believed that the community should have a botanical garden of its own. Bruce Williams, the late Martha Duell and Roger Mercer came together and established Friends of the Botanical Garden. The garden was conceived at Duell’s kitchen table and made public in Mercer’s newspaper gardening column. Dozens of committed supporters and volunteers joined the cause.

Through the perseverance of these founders, the Friends of the Botanical Garden were able to lease what was Pope Park off N. Eastern Boulevard, which was owned by the city. A lot of hard work and sacrifice by all involved followed.

Since then, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden has flourished. More than 25 years later, the garden encompasses 80 acres of pine and hardwood forest, and boasts meticulously preserved natural areas of the region’s indigenous plants, trees and wildlife. The cultivated garden areas showcase more than 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants, and include special daylily, camellia and hosta gardens. The River Walk, Heritage Garden, Children’s Garden and Butterfly Stroll provide unique educational experiences for young and old.

The multi-million dollar Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex opened in April 2011. Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Horticulture Center is located on the Garden’s campus, thanks primarily to the efforts of former longtime Cumberland County Sen. Tony Rand. 

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