What is the China Lights Event?
China Lights is an event that celebrates the art, skill, and beauty of traditional Chinese lantern festivals that have been celebrated across Asia for the last 400 years. This has been accomplished through an almost two month long building process where about 40 exhibits, made of more than 1,000 components, are welded together, covered with colored fabric, and then hand painted. These displays are then illuminated with LED lighting to complete the amazing visual experience.
The show site is approximately 9 acres and has a 3/4 of a mile route that includes some steps and uneven surfaces. We recommend 2-3 hours to experience the entire exhibition.
In addition to the lighted displays there are multiple nightly performances of classic Chinese arts. Performance times are posted at the stages nightly. The Nightly Illumination Parade takes place around 6:15 p.m. each night at the Dragon Stage in the Shrub Mall.
There are also displays and videos highlighting the Treasures of China from the past to the present in the Reiman Cultural Building. Asian and American food is available for purchase along with beer and non-alcoholic beverages in the Shrub Mall and the Perennial Mall.
Where can I purchase tickets?
Tickets can be purchased online at www.chinalights.org or at these Milwaukee County Parks locations during regular business hours. Boerner Botanical Garden’s Atrium, located at 9400 Boerner Drive in Hales Corners, is open daily August 8th thru September 12th from 10:00AM to 5:00PM and from 10:00AM to 4:00PM on show days from September 13th - October 20th.
Tickets are good for any night of the current season that the event is open. No reciprocal garden admissions or Friends of Boerner Botanical Garden Memberships are valid during the China Lights special event. There is no refund due to rain, power outages, and/or other unforeseen conditions. In the unlikely event of a weather caused cancellation, patrons on the grounds will be given rain checks for a subsequent show. The Visitor and Education Center building will be closed at 4:30 p.m. daily during China Lights.
Where is China Lights being held?
China lights is being held at the Boerner Botanical Gardens, 9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners, Wisconsin. The Botanical Gardens are located in the northeast corner of Whitnall Park and is about 3 minutes west of Southridge Mall in Greenfield, Wisconsin. See location details.
What are the hours of the China Lights event?
China Lights was extended to run through Sunday, October 27, 2019. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays). The last onsite box office ticket will be sold at 9:00 p.m. V.I.P. ticket holders are afforded early admission at 5:00 p.m. The Visitor and Education Center building will be closed at 4:00 p.m. daily during China Lights.
The China Lights area of Boerner Botanical Gardens is open during the day for the general admission fees from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Guests purchasing a daytime ticket can purchase an evening ticket for that same day for an additional $10 by showing their daytime wristband. No reciprocal garden admissions or Friends of Boerner Botanical Garden Memberships are valid during the China Lights special event.
How close can we get to the displays?
Guests may get near displays, but please do not touch, climb on, or go over rope lines around displays. We want to reduce wear and tear as much as possible.
Can I photograph the displays?
Absolutely! Guests may take photos, but please do not touch, climb on, or go over rope lines around displays. Due to the large volume of people only monopods are allowed until 9:30 p.m. each night. After 9:30 p.m. you would be welcome to use a tripod. Keep in mind the show does close at 10:00 p.m.
What are admission policies of the China Lights event?
Regular admission rates to Boerner Botanical Gardens apply during daytime hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday. The Gardens will close at 4:30 p.m. Both will reopen for China Lights at 5:30 p.m. (V.I.P. Ticket Holders are entitled to Early Admission at 5:00 p.m.) Tuesday through Sunday. Guests purchasing a daytime ticket can purchase an evening ticket for that same day for an additional $10 by showing their daytime wristband. The last onsite box office ticket will be sold at 9:00 p.m. No reciprocal garden admissions or Friends of Boerner Botanical Garden Memberships are valid during the China Lights special event.
Persons presenting a ticket assume all risks incidental to the event. Tickets are good for any night of the current season that the event is open. There is no refund due to rain, power outages, and/or other unforeseen conditions. There are no refunds for unused tickets. In the unlikely event of a weather caused cancellation, patrons on the grounds will be given rain checks for a subsequent show. No reciprocal garden admissions or Friends of Boerner Botanical Garden Memberships are valid during the China Lights special event.
Photography of the displays and performances is allowed but please do not touch, climb on, or go over rope lines around displays. By attending the event, you give permission to have your image and/or likeness reproduced for promotional and/or advertising purposes and/or by the media in print or digital formats.
These items are not allowed into China Lights: carry-in food or beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), illegal drugs and controlled substances, weapons or objects that could
be used as weapons, outside brochures or pamphlets, pets/animals (except service animals), lawn chairs, skateboards or skates, kites, Frisbees, or other carry-ins as determined by management.
Outside vendors are not allowed into China Lights or on Milwaukee County Parks property without a valid permit.
China Lights Officials reserve the right to eject any person violating any law, rule, or policy.
Where can I park for the China Lights Event?
Limited complimentary parking is available on a first come, first served basis. There are 10 fully lit lots. Follow the signs, maps on tickets, and radio broadcasts to gain access to the parking areas. There are shuttle services from outer lots (Lots #7, 8, 9, 10) to the entrance. *Wet and/or muddy conditions may close grass lots for a 2-3 day dry out procedure.
Tune your car radio to 87.9 FM for radio broadcasts about parking information.
Is there paid parking available?
Yes, China Lights will offer “Dragon Reserve Parking." These will be limited (approximately 100 spots per night) reserved parking area in the paved lot closest to the front gate. The cost of this parking will be $10.00 and will only be sold and ticketed online at www.chinalights.org/location-parking.
Persons who are successful in purchasing parking for a particular night will be issued a parking pass to be PRINTED & DISPLAYED in their vehicle dashboard. The parking pass will also detail the access route and procedure to get to the reserved parking lot.
Where is Parking for People with Disabilities?
We will have limited parking spaces near the front gate to the show available on a free first-come, first-served basis with state-issued disabled parking or disabled Veteran parking license plates, or the state-issued disabled parking identification card.
These limited spaces are located in the Staff Parking Lot and are accessed through the entry at 92nd Street and College Avenue. Additional parking will be offered on a limited basis, which may include grassy areas. This is also first-come, first-served.
How accessible is the China Lights Event?
The show does not have wheelchairs available for rent. The show site is approximately 3/4 of a mile and does include some steps and uneven surfaces. All displays can be viewed from garden paths. Multiple vantage points are available for some displays.
When and where is the nightly Illumination Parade?
Nightly at approximately 6:15 p.m. members of the entertainment staff and V.I.P. Ticket holders will participate in a Lion Parade Procession through the audience in the Shrub Mall. The procession ends up at the main stage for the first performance of the night. Participants should gather on the West side of the Dragon Stage prior to the 6:15 parade start.
Is this an indoor or outdoor event?
This is an outdoor event - rain, snow or shine. Please check current weather conditions for your visit and dress appropriately. In the unlikely event of a weather caused cancellation, patrons with the show grounds will be given rain checks for a subsequent show. **Severe weather ( i.e. lighting, flooding, etc.) will require us to close for safety**
What does the ticket admission include?
All tickets include admission to view the displays, exhibits, and authentic Chinese performances. Limited complimentary parking is also included. Tickets are good for any date the exhibit is open.
Do you offer a group discount?
Absolutely! We offer 10% discount for advance purchase tickets for groups of more than 20 people. You can contact our group sales department at 1-888-733-1888 for details.
Can I volunteer?
Yes, there are many volunteer opportunities are available! We need Line-Minders, Docents, and Exit Guides. Each volunteer can earn a free ticket to the festival, a uniform shirt, and an invitation to the staff-appreciation party. Positions must commit to two nights per week (3-4 hours a night) for the duration of the festival. Call 1-888-733-1888 for details.
Do you have a ‘Lost and Found’?
The lost and found is operated in the office inside the Reiman Cultural Building during show hours. During daytime hours the information stand inside the Boerner Botanical Garden atrium can assist with lost items.
Do you allow animals?
For the enjoyment of all those attending this event, we do not allow animals except for registered service animals.
Can I smoke onsite?
This event is a smoke-free event. No smoking of any kind will be allowed. This includes vaping.
If I cannot attend, can I get a refund for my tickets?
Sorry, we do not offer refunds for unused tickets.
What do you do with the lanterns after the
The lanterns are taken apart by the Chinese artisans and technicians. Then they are carefully packed to move to the next show site to be rebuilt and refreshed. They are not available for purchase.