Winter Wonderlights brings holiday spirit to Greensboro

Photo+Courtesy+of+the+Greensboro+Science+Center%27s+Instagram.

Photo Courtesy of the Greensboro Science Center’s Instagram.

Sydney Ross, theCulture Reporter

The Greensboro Science Center has opened the first holiday light show for Greensboro and the triad area. As a new addition to the science center, Winter Wonderlights gives local visitors a holiday zoo light experience like never before.

Through interactive displays of bright colorful Christmas lights and playful exhibits, families can explore 12 “magical realms” of holiday-themed attractions. 

During the event’s Nov. 6 opening night, Glenn Dobrogosz, CEO of the Greensboro Science Center, said that this event is something new and exciting for everyone. By introducing the light show to the community, Dobrogosz and the Greensboro Science Center staff are aiming to end the incredibly strenuous year on a high note. 

“As a science museum, you wouldn’t expect us to do a light show,” Dobrogosz said. “We wanted to be the first organization to bring a holiday event to our community. We had to step up to the plate.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they knew the light show was needed more now than ever before to bring holiday spirit to the community. The holiday walk-through display features bold Christmas lights, music and games, and is designed for social distancing. 

Greensboro Science Center employee, Landon Alison, expressed how the staff made sure, when planning the event, that it would be an enjoyable time for everyone while also prioritizing their health and safety. 

“Health and safety is the number one priority,” Alison said. “This is so we can ensure an overall fun place for people to come and bring their families.”

The event has various exhibits placed indoors and outdoors. On the ground, both inside and outside the event, there are several markers indicating the flow of traffic to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Upon entry to the science center, the event begins indoors. The two exhibits inside include Wishes for the World and the Snow Globe Theater. 

The Wishes for the World exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to write down any wishes they have for the world. The exhibit is full of colorfully wrapped Christmas presents and bright vibrant Christmas trees, which is where guests have the opportunity to hang their wishes once they are completed. 

The exhibit also includes interactive animated story telling for those to watch and listen to while waiting to make their wishes.

The Snow Globe Theater has an animated showing of penguins singing various Christmas carols to entertain guests. In adherence to the CDC guidelines, theatre seats are blocked off to restrict guests to exhibit entry only and to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

The Greensboro Opera has also participated in virtually singing carols throughout the halls for guests to enjoy, while heading to the outdoor portion of the event. The halls are well lit with Christmas lights and decor and large candy canes, wrapped Christmas presents, as well as Christmas wreaths and trees. 

Some of the outdoor exhibits include the Wintry Welcome, the Festive Fun Zone, and the Peppermint Path. The Wintry Welcome includes artificial snow as well as food and souvenir vendors for all to enjoy. 

The Festive Fun Zone includes interactive lily pads that change colors right under your feet each time they are stepped on. After the fun zone, the Peppermint Path leads visitors to see Santa Claus. On the trail are well lit projections of interactive peppermint swirls and there are large candy canes throughout all leading to meet Santa and make their wishes.

There are interactive light shows at the Snowball Surprise, the Dancing Fountains and a live performance at the Gingerbread Barn. Each show occurs every 10 minutes, with the exception of the Snowball Surprise occurring every five minutes. 

The Winter Wonderlights experience has brought together so many friends and families from near and far. Dalton Caine from California says he looks forward to holiday events like this.

“I was born here in Greensboro,” Caine said. “But I haven’t been to the Science Center since I was 5-years-old, so it’s definitely something different. It’s nice to come back and bring my kids to do something Christmas-y early.”

Winter Wonderlights is open to the public from November until Jan. 3, 2021. The event is open seven days a week and runs nightly from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 

For the holiday season, they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

There is a timed ticket entry to limit the amount of guests at the science center at a time. Tickets may be purchased onsite or online at the Greensboro Science Center website.