Botanical themed light show illuminates the skies of Green Bay

By Joel Waldinger | January 10, 2023


For more than 25-years the Green Bay Botanical Garden has been lighting up the holidays with its botanical themed light show. There are more than 350,000 lights on 37 different displays. Dave Barkow has been there since day one as the architect and designer, “We’re here to knock your socks-off, something you probably never seen before.” Most of the displays are one of a kind and custom made.

Barkow and his staff of volunteers start creating the winter wonderland in early October and it takes about seven weeks to setup. The repair work, maintenance and designing of the light show lasts all year. His favorite spot is the two-acre pond called “Lake of Lights” where multiple beacons of light dance across the night sky to the beat of holiday music.

Another favorite is the seven-foot tall, 70 feet long caterpillar where visitors can walk through 20,000 lights. Literally you can immerse yourself in the color. Barkow enjoys seeing the excitement families feel as they create a memory during their walk through the Garden of Lights.

Barkow said, “I’m honored to be part of the botanical garden. I’ve considered myself lucky to be a part of this place and experience all these years. It’s a happy time of year.”

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger

Joel Waldinger is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project and considers a sunset over the “big island” on Manson Lake to be a perfect ending to a day of fishing and fun in the Northwoods. 

Sign Up Form

Sign Up for Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Get your favorite Wisconsin Life stories, meet the crew, and go behind the scenes.

Our Favorite Collections

Storyteller Rodney Lambright II's comic series about the rich relationship between a single father, his young daughter and his retirement-age parents.
For the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we discover how Wisconsinites experienced the war both at home and on the battlefield.
Ice, cold and winter are an integral part of what it means to live in Wisconsin. "Ice Week" explores the many ways that ice defines us.
Food plays a central part in many holiday traditions. This series honors the foods and meals that make the day.
Escape winter with a look at some of Wisconsin's favorite sports and games.
"Living the Wisconsin Life" is an online series exploring the little things that make living in Wisconsin fun, interesting and meaningful.