What started out in 1987 with a few volunteers, 6,000 lights and one single Christmas Tree has grown considerably over the years.
The lights at Shore Acres State Park Botanical Garden, south of Charleston, Oregon, switch on Thanksgiving Day and shine every night through December 31.
Several weeks before opening night, volunteers with the Friends of Shore Acres string up more than 325,000 low wattage LED lights throughout the gardens.
In 2017, the lights at Shore Acres received more than 50,000 visitors throughout the 30-day opening. A bit of rain rarely deters guests from their park visit, however, through December there are many nights provide a crisp and clear outing that make this holiday experience all the more enjoyable.
Also, take a brief tour through the festively decorated Garden House, part of the historic and elegant charm of the gardens property. At the house, you can peek in on Santa and get a hot apple cider, punch, coffee and a cookie! Different service groups, student governments and businesses volunteer to serve the goodies with glee and many visitors are happy to support the effort with a small donation.
Throughout the lighted garden, there are several static and animated light sculptures including a life size spouting whale, breaching orca, giant leaping frog, an undersea display, various animals, insects, flowers, a lighthouse, and more than 30 large decorated Christmas Trees.
Each night a different group entertains visitors from the Shore Acres Pavilion. Groups sing Christmas carols, play instruments and encourage visitors to sing along. Check the entertainment schedule for times here.
There is no charge to view the lights, but the Oregon State Parks does charge a $5 per vehicle parking fee. You can park free of charge with a current OPRD Annual Parking Pass or Coastal Passport or current OPRD Campground Receipt or current Special Access Pass.
The Shore Acres Information and Gift Center is open each night through December 31. There you will find a keepsake such as Shore Acres sweatshirt, holiday lights photos and postcards or maybe coastal field guide to birds and marine life.
The gardens provides paved walkways and is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The holiday lights display now through New Year’s Eve from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm including Christmas Eve.