A visit to Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens during the festive season has been a valley tradition for more than 30 years.
What started off as a place to bring the family to cut their own Christmas tree has turned into a dazzling display of lights, carol walks, and of course a chance for the young, and young at heart to meet Santa Claus.
Over the years the old tree farm has been transformed into nearly 25 acres of woodland trails that weave their way through an incredible landscape of natural gardens, glades, and skirt the shores of shimmering ponds.
While you can’t cut your own tree anymore because owner Bryan Zimmerman is more into preservation there is certainly plenty to do and see at this time of the year.
What Zimmerman finds most interesting today is the number of visitors who come up to him and say that they remember coming to the gardens with their parents and are now coming back with their own children.
“This makes what we do very special,” said Zimmerman. “If we can help keep some of those wonderful Christmas traditions alive then all the work that goes into putting on our festivities is worthwhile.”
Beginning Dec. 1 until January many of the trails become a wonderland of literally thousands of sparkling lights that help visitors capture the spirit of the season. The lights are on from 5-9 p.m. daily and often there’s even a bonfire by Santa’s Barn complete with driftwood benches and logs that you can gather around to help warm both body and soul at the end of your walk.
Speaking of Santa’s Barn, it has been all decked out with holiday trim so that when Santa arrives he’ll feel right at home. While he is a busy man this time of year he has set aside Dec. 11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day to be on hand to meet with the children and as mentioned the young at heart.
For those who like to celebrate the season by singing Christmas carols, you can join the Island Voices as they walk through the gardens on Dec. 19 and 21 from 7-9 p.m.
While all of these activities are taking place to help ring in the season with some great traditions, the gardens still maintain their rustic charm. During the day, when things are less hectic, they are still a wondrous place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. The gardens are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Regular admission charges are in effect.
For further information about activities at Woodland Gardens, visit www.woodlandgardens.ca