Christmas lights displays are popping up all over the city now, so we decided to check out the Franklin Park Conservatory Lights Aglow. We are members at FPC and love going year round to the botanical gardens and outside children’s area. However, much to the chagrin of all members, FPC decided to NOT include the holiday lights display with membership admission. It hasn’t been like this in the past, so it’s unfortunate they decided to exclude it this year, especially since they didn’t tell anyone when renewing memberships that it wouldn’t be included. I’ve called the membership office to ask about this decision, there’s a formal petition circling about this, and there’s a letter writing campaign going on, so I know I’m not the only one upset by this decision. A family membership runs around $174 for a year, so to then be asked to pay $11 per person to attend the lights display (it’s $22 per person for non-members!) is ridiculous. Knowing there was no way we were going to pay $44 for our family to walk through some lights, we decided to attend the after-hours “Members Holiday Party” this year included with our membership. Normally, we never go to any of the “free member” events no matter where they take place – the zoo, FPC, etc. – because we are not a crowd-loving family, but this was our one shot to see the lights, so we decided to give it a go.
The holiday party was packed – just like we suspected it would be since members have to now pay every other night of the season – but the lights were pretty and we made the best of the crowded evening.
The kids enjoyed most of all the new interactive dancing lights disc display (I don’t know how else to describe it). 100 plastic discs were laid in a circle and when you stepped on them, they changed colors and interacted with other discs around them.
The big question remaining after seeing Lights Aglow this year – “Is it worth the admission??” The answer is….NO! $22 per person (or $11 per person) is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard of, especially when the Christmas season is supposed to be about goodwill towards all and thinking of others. Asking a family of 4 to spend $88 for 2 hours of looking at lights is the exact opposite of that. Save your money for one of the other lights experiences that I’ll be writing about soon!