Review: Christmas in the Garden at The Oregon Gardens

About an hour south of Portland, on the border of Silverton, Oregon sits a garden respite. The Oregon Garden, an 80-acre botanical garden, opened in 1999. Since welcoming its first visitors, it has grown to include over twenty different specialized gardens.

This time of year, The Oregon Garden transforms itself into a holiday wonderland. It’s Rediscovery Gardens are adorned with lights, while artists and vendors sell handmade crafts and food. Fire pits are scattered along the path for visitors to warm their toes and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, hot apple cider, or for the adults gluhwien that are all available from one of the outdoor refreshment kiosks.

Upon entering the Rediscovery Gardens, you walk though a lovely candy cane colored lit walkway. Be patient here, as people often stop to snap a photo. It really is a perfect photo opportunity. On the evening of this, our first ever visit, it was a bit foggy, but it added to the beauty of the lights. The creative light vignettes featured some of our favorite holiday characters, including the Charlie Brown crew singing carols around Snoopy’s dog house and the iceberg scene from Elf, but the highlight of the lit décor are the twenty-foot tall flowers. Huge daisies dot the walkway in bright yellows, oranges, greens, and reds. Paying homage to the nearby Silver Falls, there is even a waterfall of lights you can walk behind.

The evening we attended, Saturday, December 13th, was very busy. Santa was there greeting children in his cozy little holiday house. This was another darling photo opportunity for those who brought their own camera. The line was rather a long wait, but the photos turned out very cute. We also enjoyed seeing REAL reindeer. Both an adult reindeer and baby were on display. If interested, visitors could wait in line to get a photo opportunity with the baby reindeer. She needed to take rests every 30 minutes. So, the line would disperse when she took her break. Then, it would build up again for the next opportunity children would get for an up-close and personal visit with her and her handler. When not out for a visit, both reindeer were in a pen, where visitors could easily see them and take photos.

If you plan a visit to Christmas in the Garden, you should be prepared for lots of lines. There were lines on the road to enter the gardens and quite a long line to get in, even with tickets in hand. The admission is very reasonable at $5 for a non-member ($4 for members of the garden). Each paid admission also includes five $1 food/beverage vouchers and children under 4 are free. The reasonable prices, beautiful lit displays, the artisans, and special events make this a very popular place. There are shuttles from downtown Silverton, so drivers can avoid the garden’s parking lot altogether, but unfortunately, the shuttles wait in the same line of traffic as others on the main road. So, just pack some patience and look forward to the evening beauty the Oregon Gardens offers us in December.

For more information on Christmas in the Garden, directions, and a list of special events click here.

Debbie and her family were given tickets to visit the Garden on behalf of PDX Kids Calendar for review. She was in no way compensated for her opinions.

Debbie Tofte

Debbie Tofte

Like so many people, I traveled here to the Pacific Northwest as a tourist and fell in love with it. I’ve lived in the Portland area since 1998 and treasure Oregon’s natural beauty, eclectic style, and the down to earth brilliant people who live here. An educator, I teach in a middle school in Newberg and am passionate about kids’ learning and having fun in the process. My son helps me experience life through an exciting lens and as all parents know, each day offers something new.
Debbie Tofte

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