Christmas Day is fast approaching, but if you are looking for a holiday perfect photo op, there is none better than the Missouri Botanical Garden’s fifth annual Garden Glow.

More than 1 million lights twinkle and glow in this holiday favorite, which features new and expanded displays, including “12 Days of the Garden,” an interpretation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that is imaginative, fun and, at the end, interactive, allowing guests to become 12 drummers drumming.

There are numerous places to stop for a photo (tripods are not allowed). Some are designated areas, like the lifesize inflatable snowglobe that allows guests to climb inside and smile for the camera or the Four Calling Birds display that invites guests to insert their faces into the cutout openings of birds resting on a rotary dial telephone.

‘Proposal Packages’

There is even a designated mistletoe kissing area, and the Garden offers a special customized “Proposal Package,” although time is running out on this option. Event planners will help you create an enchanted evening, but reservations must be made at least one week in advance. To begin the process, people need to complete an online form at

More details can be found online in the Glow’s “A to Z Guide” under Engagements.

Of course, a Proposal Package isn’t required to pop the question at the Garden Glow. Guests who do propose on the grounds are invited to share their photos on the Garden’s Facebook page.

Plan Your Visit to Maximize Experience

To create this year’s Garden Glow, planning began more than nine months ago, and the installation was started over the summer. More than 50 people from the Garden and its Glow partner, Oak Island Creative, assist with installation and design.

The path of the Glow is marked, so you can easily find your way. But if you’d like to plan ahead to maximize your experience and time, the Garden offers extensive details about the exhibit online.

Garden provides a map of the grounds with the sponsored exhibits marked, or you can download a PDF of the map.

There are several dining and refreshment choices, including two locations of S’more Toasting Pits.

Sit-down dinner options are available at the Sassafras Cafe (5 to 8 p.m.) and Cafe Flora (5 to 9 p.m.)

There are several places to pick up hot chocolate. Specialty drinks (fireball hot chocolate, amaretto hot chocolate, peppermint hot chocolate or sake cocktail) also can be purchased at various locations.

Hours and Ticket Info

To see the 2017 Garden Glow in person, there’s still time. The lights will be on through Jan. 1 (closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. with last entry at 9 p.m.

For ticket information, go to

New this year, Glow tickets include entry into Gardenland Express, the holiday flower and train show. This year’s theme is “Felices Fiestas” and celebrates poinsettias and their native country, Mexico. See G-scale model trains as you wander through a floral wonderland of hundreds of colorful poinsettias and other traditional plants.

If you can’t make it to the Garden this year, we’ve captured some of our favorite Glow scenes for you here.

Merry Christmas!