A Longwood Christmas 2012: How to Make the Most of Your Visit | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

December 11, 2012

A Longwood Christmas 2012: How to Make the Most of Your Visit

It's no secret that I love where I live.  I believe my cozy little suburb outside of Philadelphia is pretty much the bees knees and everyone should move here. 2 hours from the beach, 2 hours from the mountains, less than an hour from the city, less than an hour from the country. We have so many fantastic events, venues and attractions, it's a wonder we ever leave!

Recently, I was delighted to be invited with a group of bloggers to get a holiday behind-the-scenes look at one of my favorite local attractions: 

Whether you are local or not, Longwood Gardens is renowned near and far, drawing visitors from other countries all year round. One of the best exhibits to see at Longwood, though, is hands-down their Christmas Display, A Longwood Christmas. In the span of 45 days, Longwood receives over 300,000 visitors who flock to see the lights, the seasonal flower displays, and the heart of the Christmas season.

Bloggers got an inside look at what it takes for the Longwood Gardens team to put together A Longwood Christmas (a lot of hands in the amazing time of only 3 days). We learned that the Christmas exhibit is a throw back to the extravagant Christmas dinners that Pierre S. duPont would host for family, friends and employees. In 1957, Longwood Gardens made their Christmas display public, with each year outshining the last.

This year's Christmas display is no different. A decked out table (a nod to Mr. duPont) with seating for over 40 people is the centerpiece of the Conservatory. And this year's theme, stars, can be seen throughout the gardens.  Take a look:

Photo Credit: Longwood Gardens

Photo Credit: Longwood Gardens

Photo Credit: Longwood Gardens

Photo Credit: Longwood Gardens

I've been coming to Longwood Garden's for years now. With 300,000 people clamoring to make visits during the holidays, one might imagine Longwood can become crowded. This can be a damper, especially if you are bringing kids. 

Here are some of my tips on how to make your trip a success:

Go Non-Peak 

Weekends may be more convenient, but if you have the goal of bringing your family to Longwood during the holidays, coming during the week is your best bet. Weekends are the busiest time for visitors, as you might imagine. Coming on a weeknight (Monday-Thurday) you'll see less crowds. If you are willing to forego the lights, come during the day with your kids!  They can run around outside, enjoy the conservatory, and still see all the amazing holiday decorations that Longwood has to offer.

Make a Day of It

Get more bang for your buck! IF you are making the trip to Longwood Gardens, don't head home after an hour or two. Make a day of it, as the area has much more to offer! . A trip of less than 5 minutes takes you from Longwood into the idyllic downtown of Historic Kennett Square. One of the things I love about Kennett is that there is something for everyone: clothing boutiques for fashionistas, gift shops and children's boutiques for families, fantastic restaurants for foodies, eco and vintage shops for those who enjoy green living and more. I'll be doing a Shop Kennett Square post in the near future - check back for a more in-depth look at all Kennett has to offer. In the meantime see Kennett Area Merchants and Historic Kennett Square to plan your visit!

Know what's best for Kids

I take my kids all year long to Longwood (it helps that we live literally 5 minutes down the road). So I've come to learn which spots they love best during each season, and I make a beeline for those places (which are sometimes slightly less crowded). If you are bringing kids, a must-see is the Indoor Children’s Garden (located in the conservatory). It is decorated for the holidays, and a small "safe" place for kids inside the otherwise overwhelming conservatory. Another great Kids Spot is the Garden Railway. If your children love trains, this is the perfect exhibit. A miniature mountainside is created, with several tracks and trains running through bridges and tunnels.

Garden Railway: A kids dream!
Photo Credit: LongwoodGardens

Know the Schedule

Don't get caught off guard!  Poke around the Longwood Gardens website for the timing of things such as fountain shows, fireworks and special events. Remember - to come to Longwood this time of year you need Timed Tickets. You can also purchase Timed Tickets in advance.

Become a Member

I can't begin to share that a membership to Longwood Gardens is truly the gift that keeps on giving. If you take a family of 4 even two or three times per year, the membership pays for itself. Members get special discounts and other benefits (such as members-only hours and events). But the best part? During the holiday season, there are Member-Only Mondays, which opens the Christmas Display only to members. Less chaos, less crowds, more fun!

If you are going to Longwood and are twitter-savvy, tweet your visit using @longwoodgardens and hashtag #StarsAtLongwood. If you happen to head into Kennett Square, use the hashtag #ShopKennett (many of the stores are on twitter)!

Have you been to Longwood Gardens?  I want to hear about it!

Leave a comment and share your Longwood holiday experiences and travel tips!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. In exchange for posting, I was given a membership by Longwood Gardens. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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