Road Trip: China Lights

(Not from Chicago? Other light displays can be found in these states)

China Lights is a large-scale lantern display that has to be seen to be appreciated. My pictures will not do it justice.  But just to give you an idea of how cool it is:

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Lantern festivals can be traced back more than 2000 years to the Han Dynasty. Traditionally, this festival took place on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. People prayed for good health and good fortune by lighting lanterns and shooting fireworks in the sky.

This festival takes place on the grounds of the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Hales Corners, WI. It consists of almost 40 displays constructed with bright colors and illuminated with LED lighting.  Right now, the botanical garden is open from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. The China Lights festival then opens from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm (closed Mondays). I would definitely recommend getting there after the sun sets to experience the full effect of the light display.

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Tickets are $20 per person (less for children and seniors). I found a deal on Groupon that gets you admission plus the mobile guide (a self-guided mobile tour app – $5.00) for only $19.00. I purchased our tickets this way but never figured out how to access the mobile guide. You don’t need the guide to navigate your way through the festival so I wouldn’t pay extra for it if I were you. You can also pre-purchase parking online as well. For $10, you get a spot in a lot right next to the entrance for China Lights. There is also complimentary (free) parking and shuttle service, but I was not up to the challenge of finding those lots in an area I was not familiar with.

The displays were much larger and more colorful than I expected.

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There was also a description of that display’s significance to China’s history at many of the stops.  Maybe this is where the mobile guide would have been useful . . .

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Some of the displays had changing colors and some of them had moving parts (watch the flowers).

Stage performances, highlighting Asian culture and art, took place as well. We caught two different acrobatic acts.

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It was a chilly night for us, but this was definitely worth the trip.  If you can make it there before it closes next week, I highly recommend this.  If not, I will keep you posted on its return next year!

The 25 Year Switch on Pinterest

The 25 Year Switch is now on Pinterest! I have created the page to allow for easier access to previous blog posts. This will also make it easier for you to find date night activities or to find a post about a specific activity.  In addition to the link above, there is also a Pinterest button on the homepage of my website:

Home page button





There are a variety of boards for you to find the perfect outing. Clicking on any “pin” will link you to my blog post. In there, you can read about the activity and find links to get current dates/times as well as ticket information.

Link to the blog

First, let’s talk about the “month” boards. This option will have links to the activities that only occur on a single date in that month. For example, in the photo below, you can see the board for October. I have a link in October for the Bacon and Beer Festival. This was a one-day event that occurs every year.  These will be helpful if you need to plan ahead.


I will have a board for the seasons as well as a “Limited Time” board. This one will be ever changing as I add and delete activities that are only happening for a short time. Like Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-up, which is open from October 3 – November 3.

Limited Time

You also might notice that some of my blog posts appear in more than one board. That is because some activities fall into more than one category.  The Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Festival is a sporting event, however, it also takes place on a single day in September.  I think this will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

Multiple Categories


There is a glitch in the Pinterest app if you are accessing it from your phone. Right now, if there are only two “pins” in a category, it shows the same picture twice even though they are different. Currently, in the Heritage Corridor Ale Trail board, I have a blog post about Miskatonic Brewery and another blog post about the three breweries we visited down in Starved Rock County. But the app shows the photo for Miskatonic twice. Once you click on the whole board, you will see two different blog post options. Hopefully, this kink will work itself out once I add more posts about the Ale Trail.

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Follow me on Pinterest and, hopefully, this will be an easy-to-use tool for when you inevitable ask each other “What should we do this weekend?”!