Wilmington, N.C.: Perhaps you’ve heard or read about enchanted forests, but have you actually experienced one? Now is your chance! Visitors who travel to Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and island beaches during the holiday season will have the opportunity to experience “Enchanted Airlie,” a spectacular glittering landscape of lighted oaks and twinkling displays in a coastal garden setting.
Now in its eighth season, Enchanted Airlie (Nov. 23-Dec. 22) is a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event. Magical evenings and fond memories are in store for visitors and local residents who visit the tastefully decorated gardens. On select dates beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and continuing into late December, Airlie Gardens is transformed into a visually stunning wonderland of theatrically illuminated large oaks, small native trees, holiday flowers, and elegant displays. Prepare to be enchanted by a world of holiday fantasy that features 300,000 lights and whimsical LEGO exhibits to delight visitors of all ages.
Back by popular demand is the massive LEGO exhibit that has drawn record crowds. Last year’s Wilmington-themed display featured more than 250,000 LEGO bricks that set a world record as the largest crowd to see a single LEGO display in the U.S. This year’s exhibit promises to be even bigger, spotlighting a number of miniature architectural feats with the colorful blocks. Inside the garden services center, guests will marvel at an actual running LEGO train set constructed by Airlie LEGO campers. Other highlights include: a Poinsettia Paradise with more than 400 holiday plants; live musical entertainment and visits with Santa. Families can also have their pictures taken in Airlie’s 2,400-square-foot floral conservatory. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the Airlie gift shop will be open.
Want to go? Enchanted Airlie runs November 23-24, 29-30; December 1, 6-8, 13-15, and 20-22 in two time slots: 5:00-7:00 p.m. and 7:00–9:00 p.m. Enchanted Airlie tickets must be purchased in advance, no later than 4:00 p.m. the night of the event. Due to the popularity of this event, it is recommended that visitors purchase tickets for their preferred dates prior to arrival. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.airliegardens.org or in-person at Airlie Gardens service center (300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington) between 9am and 4pm. Individual tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for children ages 4 – 12. Children under age 3 are free. Parking is limited and each car must pre-purchase one parking pass ($5 per vehicle for general admission) when using the individual tickets option. An economical green option is the carload ticket for $22, which will cover as many people as will safely fit into an automobile; no individual tickets or parking passes are required for this option (excludes buses and large, multi-passenger vans).
Airlie Gardens, located at 300 Airlie Road, is a 67-acre historic public garden bordering Bradley Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly and comfortably for an outdoor walking tour on gravel, sand, and mulch paths. For more details about Enchanted Airlie, please call 910-798-7700 or visit the Airlie Gardens website www.airliegardens.org for event information and rules, restrictions and rain policy.
From the river to the sea, more than 40 holiday activities celebrate the season in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. To download a holiday events brochure, visit ww.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/content/download/2264/14486/Holiday+for+web.pdf. For seasonal specials, featured experiences and events for Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and island beaches, visit www.gowilmingtonandbeaches.com. For a free official visitors guide, call 1-866-266-9690, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A, in historic Downtown Wilmington.