Aubryana Bowen
Photo Gallery

Chinese Lantern Festival

Boerner Botanical Gardens Chinese Lantern Festival is a hit. Our photos show why.

By - Oct 14th, 2016 12:58 pm

It’s a unique event that is attracting great attention: the Chinese Lantern Festival at Boerner Botanical Gardens. The exhibit, “China Lights: Boerner Brighter Than Ever,” is a celebration of Asian culture featuring 40 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays, state performances highlighting folk-culture entertainment and activities, and a crowded marketplace.

The festival is open from 5:30-10:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Sunday, through Oct. 30. Boerner Botanical Gardens is located in Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI.

To create the festival, about 30 artisans from China have created welded metal frames using various LED lights in many different colors. The result is a range of colorful displays, from smaller ones to a glowing, 200-foot-long dragon.


More Information

At about 6:15 p.m., each night, the festival features a procession to light the zodiac display in the Shrub Mall of the Botanical Gardens. The Illumination Parade will conclude at the main stage.

Entertainment will be varied throughout the run of the show. Tuesday through Thursday, performances will be at 6:30 and 8 p.m. A third performance will be added every Friday through Sunday at 9 p.m.

The festival had its kick-off celebration on the weekend of Oct 1-2 and each weekend since then has a special theme.

October 14-16: Moon Festival Weekend, presented by Tri-City National Bank, the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center, and OCA Wisconsin, will feature Chinese calligraphy, painting and knot-typing. There will be food demonstrations of water-lantern-floating, watermelon carving and much more.

October 21-23: Cultural Weekend features presentations on the history and folklore of China.

October 29-30: Closing Weekend will feature the closing ceremony, giveaways and tours.

China Lights admission tickets is $15 for adults (age 18-59) and $10 for seniors (age 60 and up) and children (age 5-17). Children under age 5 will be admitted free.

For $30, a patron may purchase a one-visit VIP ticket, which includes a behind-the-scenes tour, optional participation in the Illumination Parade, fabric lantern and much more.

Grass-lot parking is included with all admission tickets.

For more information, visit

5 thoughts on “Photo Gallery: Chinese Lantern Festival”

  1. P L C Nakamura says:

    I saw all these figures before they were mounted. I live close enough to drive and walk through the the gardens frequently – and years ago I had a lovely summer job there!

    So one night I’ll come see it all!

  2. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    I spent a few high school years at Whitnall High, and lived near Whitnall Park. Can’t wait to see this festival – I wasn’t sold until I saw some of the photos of it, and learned that it’s the first spot in the Midwest for it, and that each location has a different them and different elements!

  3. james says:

    I wonder how much of the admission price went toward erecting the exclusionary eyesore of a fence around what is supposed to be a public park. I’m all for the gardens raising needed capital but this seems a very heavy-handed way to go about it.

  4. Virginia says:

    I enjoyed the China Lights experience last weekend. Like Christina, I grew up near Whitnall Park. This exhibition provides a very different experience of Boerner Botanical Garden. It’s best viewed at night so the garden takes a back seat to the illuminated installations. The dragon and the lanterns above the long boardwalk seemed especially magical. It’s also fun to see people of all ages enjoying the spectacle and learning about another culture.

    It’s also great that it’s bringing people out to Boerner and that proceeds will be used to supplement the garden’s budget, which like all park funding has been severely slashed. I was also glad to learn it came about through a productive collaboration among Friends of Boerner, the Park People of Milwaukee County and Milwaukee County Parks, with support from other sponsors.

    One question: do county buses bring people directly to Boerner? If not, it means access to this special event is limited to those with cars.

    James: There always is a charge to visit Boerner, (though not Whitnall Park) but admission to China Lights is higher.

  5. james says:

    Virginia – missed – the – point.

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