Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show – Reiman Gardens

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Reiman Gardens is the gorgeous horticulture garden at Iowa State University that’s been in Ames, Iowa since 1914. It provides a variety of unique plants and garden areas for visitors and researchers to explore. This past year they introduced the outdoor Winter Wonderscape Holiday Light Show for the first time, so we had to go check it out!

This walk-through display has the garden grounds covered with beautiful light displays, tunnels, music, and even disco balls as you went along. This was such a creative and festive way to allow visitors to safely enjoy the holiday lights.


Getting tickets for the show was a very easy process. This past year they encouraged purchasing them ahead of time online, and we did exactly that! I actually purchased my tickets on the way there and had them in my email and ready to go once we got there.

Parking is also no problem there. There are plenty of spaces and the gardens are literally next to the Iowa State University stadium, so there’s a couple extra spots if it ever gets busy.

Once you arrive, there is a ticket booth that you could buy your tickets from as well. We showed my phone to the ticket booth with our confirmation and were on our way!

Varied Pathways

Reiman Gardens has many different smaller and larger areas for display throughout. This allows for many winding pathways and bridges among the garden grounds. The walk may take up to 30 – 60 minutes depending if you’re taking pictures or how quickly you move along.

Because of 2020, there were only one-directional path ways, with some of the “intersections” being monitored by staff to make sure spacing requirements were being followed.

All the pathways were clear of snow and ice with a nice grip-padding in many of the walking areas or had salt down on the bridges.

It was too cold to take many selfies, but couldn’t resist at least one in the light tunnel!

Formal Garden Elegance

The gorgeous formal fountain area had the blue lighting where water would normally be. Also surrounded with warm-white lights on the spheres, topped with an elegant swan as you walk by.

Reiman Garden Rose

See the larger-than-life Reiman Garden light up rose! I can only assume is representative of the lovely rose gardens also housed here during the warmer months.

Light Tunnels

The couple of light tunnels are truly magical to walk through compared to drive-through light shows. You can also see in the picture below that the grip-like padding that make it easy to walk through-out the garden without fear of slipping.

Holiday Disco Balls!

Where else can you say you’ve experienced seeing a string of disco balls hanging from two trees while crossing a bridge? We loved the use of disco balls and the reflective light to produce this fun display. Especially seeing all the colors reflect onto the white snow as well.

Winter Vegetable Garden

It’s only acceptable that the winter vegetable garden is filled with light-up carrots, fruits and even a scarecrow!

Pink Trees & Bursts of Light

You will absolutely fall in love with these pink trees! I could not get enough of these hanging bursts of lights within them as well. You can also see the same type of bursting lights in the distance as they line the pathway.

Music & Lights

Enjoy the small pond area with these light up cubes that flashed and changed with the music. This is also a great view of the penguin lights that we passed by earlier.

It’s amazing how creative and gorgeous all the light displays were throughout Reiman Gardens. It was not just pre-lit figures placed in the snow. There was a lot of care and thought put into the entire display that made it memorable, which I expect nothing less from them.

This is definitely a fun experience for any family or couple to to enjoy, and would even be more fun to bring your own cup of hot chocolate to keep warm on your walk!

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