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 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. There are also displays and videos highlighting the Chinese culture in the Garden House. Asian and American food is available for purchase along with beer and non-alcoholic beverages in the Shrub Mall and the Perennial Mall.
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.
Where can I purchase tickets?
To create a safe and pleasant environment for all visitors, our tickets are date and time specific, and must be purchased online in advance. Chinalights.org is the only official website for the event tickets.
A limited number of walk-up tickets are available at the box office for people to purchase. The box office is open from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm on all event nights. There will be a surcharge of $4 - $12 for walk-up tickets. The box office may close early if the event exceeds its capacity limit for the night.
Can I change the date and time of my tickets?
Yes! Ticket holders can change the date and time of their tickets any time BEFORE the event starts. To change tickets, please follow instructions of this link here:
Tickets date and time cannot be changed AFTER The event starts.
What are the time slots and how do we use the time slot for tickets?
We have 2 time slots every event night – 5:30pm and 7:30pm.
Once you enter the festival, you may stay until the end of the night at 10:00 pm.
What are the hours of the China Lights event?
China Lights is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm (closed Mondays). The onsite box office is open from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, but it may close early if attendance exceeds the venue’s capacity limit. Early Entry ticket holders can get into the event at 5:00 pm. The Visitor and Education Center building will be closed at 4:00 p.m. daily during China Lights.
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. (Early Entry ticket holders can enter the festival at 5:00 p.m.)
Persons presenting a ticket assume all risks incidental to the event. Tickets are all date and time specific. 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 “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.
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 acrobat performance.
Do you offer a group discount?
Yes! For groups of 10 adults (Age 12 and above), we offer 20% on General Admission tickets. Simply go to the ticket page and select the number of General Admission tickets you need. Once the number of tickets reaches 10 or more, the discount will be applied automatically.
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. Please stay tuned for sign up - coming soon!
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.