Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

Winter Glow at PowellsWood Garden lights up holiday season

Winter Glow is from 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 8-12; Dec. 15-19; and Dec. 22-23. Online ticket purchase and time reservation required.

PowellsWood Garden is glowing with holiday magic.

The local botantical gardens, located at 430 S. Dash Point Road in Federal Way, offer a new event called Winter Glow, a 12-night event this month providing a safe way for the local community to experience holiday lights.

The three-acre gardens are colorfully illuminated as a one-way path guides visitors through the thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and more from 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 8-12; Dec. 15-19; and Dec. 22-23.

Last year, the garden hosted a smaller two-night event, which brought in about 150 people. Based on the community’s feedback, PowellsWood wanted to expand the event into a bigger, annual display.

“There’s not as many festive activities that people can go to during this time,” said Justin Henderson, garden director of PowellsWood. “We wanted to provide that.”

The goal was not to introduce thousands of Christmas lights, but rather to “illuminate the architecture of the gardens and connect people with nature in a brand new way.”

During the wintertime, the array of trees at PowellsWood often lose attention when their foliage falls.

By casting various lights on them at night, you learn to appreciate the shape of the trees and the topography of the garden, Henderson said.

“You see more of the structural elements of the garden during the winter time and the lights really illuminate that,” said Henderson, who has been with PowellsWood for three years.

Earlier this year, PowellsWood announced the gardens would remain open year-round (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday), compared to the previous season lasting from April 1-Oct. 31.

“We realized how important it is for the community to have nature opportunities,” he said. “We saw a lot of people coming into the garden that wouldn’t typically wander into a botanical garden. They were looking for rest or a safe place to connect with a loved one or just to get away outdoors from quarantine.”

Oftentimes public gardens are under-appreciated, thought of as a secondary nature space compared to zoos or aquariums, but gardens provide an important asset and escape for local communities, Henderson said.

A timed ticket reservation online is required, and face coverings are required during your visit. Visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring a flashlight, if possible, for increased safety when navigating through the gardens.

Winter Glow is from 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 8-12; Dec. 15-19; and Dec. 22-23.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

Photo courtesy of Justin Henderson

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