We are thrilled to welcome you back to the walk-through display at Winter Lights! While this year’s event represents a return to our traditional show in many ways, we have also made big changes to Winter Lights admissions and ticketing that will continue keeping guests safe while improving the guest experience. 

What’s New? 

A lot! Please be sure to review all of the ticket information before purchasing. Questions may be emailed to winterlights@ncarboretum.org.

Tickets are now sold PER VEHICLE, not per person.

Per-vehicle ticketing allows us to handle the full check-in process at the gatehouse, eliminating the need for a crowded indoor admissions area. 

Personal Vehicle: Up to 20’ in length. If you can park in a standard parking space, this is probably the ticket for you. For reference, a Suburban SUV is just under 19’ in length.

Large Vehicle: 21’-29’ in length. Commercial passenger vans, RVs, some short buses, etc.

XL Vehicle: 30’+ in length. Primarily buses.

Ticket prices vary by date.

There are 3 tiers – Bronze, Silver, and Gold. These tiers reflect peak and off-peak pricing.

Take a look at the calendar below to find a ticket option that fits your schedule and your budget. 

What else should I know before purchasing?

Tickets are date specific. 

Attendees must select a date when purchasing tickets, and all Winter Lights tickets are non-refundable.

Only Flex tickets may be exchanged. All other ticket-types are not exchangeable.

Flex tickets allow attendees to change their date. 

Flex tickets may only be purchased in advance and allow attendees to change their ticket to another non-sold-out date for any reason. Flex tickets are the only ticket type that allows for date changes.

Attendees must select a date when purchasing. Flex tickets are only valid for the date listed on the ticket, unless the ticket-holder contacts Winter Lights Guest Services to request a change. Flex tickets do not function as undated or open-ended tickets, and will not be honored for the incorrect date. All Flex tickets are listed as 6:00 p.m. entry, meaning that ticket-holders may enter anytime between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on their selected date.

To change the date or time of a Flex ticket, ticket holders may submit their request using the Flex Ticket Change Request Form or by emailing winterlights@ncarboretum.org before 5:00 p.m. on the date shown on their ticket. 

Flex prices do not vary by date (ie, a Flex ticket for a Bronze date costs the same as a Flex ticket for a Gold date.) and member discounts do not apply. Flex tickets are limited and may sell out.

Tickets are timed.

Attendees must select an entry time (6:00, 7:00 or 8:00 p.m.) when purchasing tickets. Ticket holders may enter any time between their selected entry time and 9:00 p.m. 

Attendees who arrive before the entry time on their ticket may be turned away, and must return after their selected entry time. 

Once on property, ticket holders are welcome to stay until the event closes. Please note: incoming gates will close promptly at 9:00 p.m. and the event will end at 10:00 p.m. All guests must be off the property by 10:30 p.m.

Additional Ticket Information and FAQ

  • Arboretum Society members receive a $5.00 discount on tickets for all vehicle sizes when they buy in advance. The member discount does not apply to Flex tickets or tickets purchased at the gate on the night of the event. After selecting your desired date, members must sign in or create a new account by clicking one of the links on the blue bar in the upper right-hand corner of the purchasing page. All member discounts will be applied on the next page – the cart/ticket order page. Click here for instructions to on how to obtain Member Discount. 

  • Winter Lights tickets are date and time specific and are non-refundable. Only Flex Tickets may be exchanged for different dates or times. All other ticket-types are not exchangeable.

  • Winter Lights will be held rain or shine unless the Arboretum closes for a weather-related emergency. Closures will be announced by 3:00 p.m. on the Arboretum’s website and Facebook page unless circumstances develop later on that warrant a closure after the event opens.

  • Advance tickets are available for each date of the event until the show opens at 6:00 p.m. that night, unless they sell out first.

    Once the show opens each night, tickets for that evening’s event may be purchased at the gate between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., if space allows. In some cases, visitors without pre-purchased tickets may be turned away. Please note, ticket prices increase by $10 at the gate and Member discounts do not apply.

  • If you are no longer able to attend on your selected date, we recommend giving your ticket to a friend and re-purchasing for your preferred date.

    All Winter Lights tickets are non-refundable. Only Flex tickets may be exchanged. All other ticket-types are not exchangeable.

    If you’ve purchased a Flex ticket, you may change your date by submitting the Flex Ticket Change Request Form before 5:00 p.m. on the date of your original ticket.

  • Check out our Flex ticket option or plan to purchase admission when you arrive at the event.

    Tickets may be purchased at the gate between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. if space allows. In some cases, visitors without pre-purchased tickets may be turned away. Please note, ticket prices increase by $10 at the gate.

  • You are welcome to purchase a ticket as a gift and either email the e-ticket to the desired recipient or print it out to give to them directly. We do not offer gift certificates or non-dated tickets.

  • Tickets are available for large vehicles and buses, based on vehicle size. There is no discount for multiple tickets purchased.

    Arboretum Society members receive a $5.00 discount on tickets for all vehicle sizes when they buy in advance. The member discount does not apply to Flex tickets or tickets purchased at the gate on the night of the event. 

    Looking for our most affordable ticket? Bronze tier tickets are available on off-peak dates and start at only $30.00 per vehicle.

  • Yes. Tickets may be purchased at the gate between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. if space allows. In some cases, visitors without pre-purchased tickets may be turned away. Please note, ticket prices increase by $10 at the gate and member discounts do not apply.

    We strongly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online at www.ncwinterlights.com.

  • All tickets are date and time specific.  Attendees may enter between the time shown on their ticket and 9:00 p.m. when the incoming gates close.  6:00 p.m. ticket holders must refrain from lining up early at the entry gates, as this creates safety issues and blocks traffic unnecessarily.

    Once on property, ticket holders are welcome to stay until the event closes. Please note: incoming gates will close promptly at 9:00 p.m. and the event will end at 10:00 p.m. All guests must be off the property by 10:30 p.m.

    On weekends and around the holidays, we expect the show to be busy, which may result in a wait for some guests. To avoid lines, we recommend that guests arrive later in the evening or join us during the week.

Need ticketing assistance or have a question regarding Winter Lights? Click the button below to send us a message, or call Winter Lights Guest Services at 828-412-8570. Staff will monitor and return email and voicemail messages Monday - Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.