Newfields’ Winterlights bring festive fun to Indianapolis Museum of Art

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Newfields, the campus that includes the Indianapolis Museum of Art among other attractions, continues its tradition of Winterlights for the third year. My family and I visited Winterlights last year, and I was excited to visit again this year. 

Tickets for Winterlights can be purchased online on Newfields’ website and cost $25 for the public and $20 for members. In addition, special glasses that make lights look like snowflakes are available at Winterlights for $10.  

We first entered through the welcome center in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Inside, there was a shop called the Garden Shop. During the holidays, it sells festive Christmas decorations and cards. Before continuing to the main room, we bought the special glasses. Even though  they cost money, they add to the experience, especially at the end when you go through the Ice Storm Walk.

Photo by Justus O'Neil While patrons walk through the Newfields Winterlights exhibit, the light covered trees are seen in every direction, with all parts of their grounds included. Red and green makeshift trees are complemented with enormous yellow-lit trees that tower over the exhibit’s path.

After purchasing our glasses, we went to the main room in the museum, called the Wintermarket. There was a Christmas tree in the center where people could take photos and a place to buy food and drinks. I got a chocolate chip cookie and some hot chocolate, while my family got drinks and food as well. Our four drinks and food cost around $28. I recommend trying the food while visiting, because there is a wide variety of options, from cookies to grilled cheese. There is also spiked apple cider for the adults. 

After my family finished our food, we walked outside into the cold evening air. The trees were covered with lights and there were lit snowflakes hanging above the path. The first area was Snowflake Bridge, followed by Frosted Forest, with lights covering every surface. The next area was the Landscape of Lights. Large trees, balls and swirls of lights lit up to songs from The Nutcracker. It is relaxing, yet fun, to watch the lights move in sync with the festive music. 

Behind the light display was the Lilly House, a historic mansion that belonged to an Indianapolis businessman, that was decorated for Christmas. There were paper chains strung across Christmas trees. Even the sink in the butler’s pantry was filled with paper chains and paper balls to look like bubbles. There is so much to see in this house, I suggest stopping there during your Winterlights visit.

We walked  down a path leading to the Whimsical Terrace. The path was dotted with little fire pits where people can warm their hands. Looking ahead, I saw that the trees had icicle lights hanging from them, which were mesmerizing to watch. 

When we reached the Whimsical Terrace, it was lit up with vibrant pink and green lights. There was a s’more making station located there as well. The best part of the Whimsical Terrace was a very unique piece of art: a Christmas tree made from old children’s toys. This piece, called Playtime in Indy by Karl Unnasch, is so interesting to look at. I loved finding old toys in the tree and seeing if I had them as a kid. 

The last stops were the Ice Storm Walk and the Finale Tree. Arches of blue and white lights stood above us as soft music played through the speakers. We used our glasses and they transformed the lights into snowflakes. At the end of the tunnel was the Finale Tree, a large tree covered in lights. 

Winterlights is absolutely worth going to.  I highly recommend purchasing a ticket to see this wonderful Christmas experience. For those looking for a fun and festive time this holiday season, it is definitely worth the money.

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