The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory offers a “snowy, natural, glistening, fresh” depiction of the Alps with its Alpine Holiday theme, through Jan. 2.
That’s how Amanda Amstutz describes the display that opened Nov. 20 at the Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne. Amstutz is supervisor of programs and volunteers for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.
Visitors are surrounded by the display as soon as they pass the check-in desk. The theme extends through the main display room. Amstutz said many types of evergreens and flowers make up the display.
The scenery will take visitors through scenes reminiscent of an Alpine village at the foot of the mountains, ascending to the snowy slopes. Rocky terrain from the mountainsides with accompanying foliage will also be there — and perhaps a few mountain animals.
This year, the Botanical Conservatory will be able to host special weekend events. “We are so happy to have Santa back this year,” Amstutz said. Last year, due to the pandemic, the list of events was abbreviated. This year, however, many things are edging back toward normal.
“What’s really amazing about this showcase is (that…) within a week’s time frame, we change the whole thing!” Amstutz said of the display. From evergreens to poinsettias, this display will be full of seasonal sights.
The conservatory is following city guidelines regarding mask protocols. If guests want to double-check for what that means the week they want to visit, they can call the conservatory at 260-427-6440.
“Imagine the sting of snow on your cheek, the brilliance of dusted slopes and the fragrance of mountain pines,” the conservatory website says. “The Botanical Conservatory’s version of the Alps offers a bold glacial display that will have you basking in the cool blues of winter offsetting the rich deep colors of holiday poinsettias. Find yourself winding down a mountain path and admiring the scenery from the porch of a snow-capped ski hut. If you get in deep powder, all you have to do is give a ‘yodel-ay-hee-hooo!’ ”
Holiday hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through Dec. 17. The conservatory is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. The conservatory is closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Visit botanicalconservatory.org for regular hours.
Alpine Holiday is sponsored by PBS Fort Wayne and Majic 95.1 WAJI.
Late-Night light display
Thursdays & Fridays, through Dec. 17, 5-8 p.m. The gardens are dressed up for the season. See stunning poinsettias, find illuminated photo ops and discover charming scenes. Unique gifts are available for purchase in the Conservatory Shop. Included with regular conservatory admission.
Days of Holly Shopping
Saturdays, through Dec. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This year Shop Small Saturday will take place on not just one Saturday, but every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Experience the holiday excitement throughout Downtown Fort Wayne, the West Main Shops, and the Wells Street Corridor. Visit locally owned and operated shops, including the Conservatory Shop. Conservatory admission is not required to shop during this experience in partnership with the Downtown Improvement District.
Conservatory holiday concert
Thursday, Dec. 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m. On this $1 Night in December, the conservatory welcomes Those 2 Guys in Suits & Ties, Tom Didier and Todd Frymier, “who are singin’ with style!” No reservations required.
Breakfast with Santa
Saturday, Dec. 4, 9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. This event includes a personalized visit with Santa. Enjoy pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit and a beverage of choice. A holiday take-away is included along with day-of garden admission and a chance to visit the reindeer from noon-4 p.m. The cost is $28. Children 2 or under are admitted free; a spot must be reserved at registration along with requests for high chairs or booster seats.
Santa & Reindeer Saturdays
Dec. 4, 11 & 18, noon-4 p.m. Santa and his reindeer will be at the Botanical Conservatory on each of the three Saturdays before Christmas. Visit holiday-dressed reindeer who love petting and posing for pictures. Enjoy the Alpine Holiday exhibit and other jolly scenery. Santa takes a break from 2-2:30 p.m. Regular admission fees apply.
Succulent Christmas tree
Sunday, Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m. Design a 3D Christmas tree made of succulent cuttings. Standing at just over 1-foot tall, this tree can be adored throughout the holiday season. Learn expert tips on how to maintain and multiply plant cuttings once the season is over. The cost is $47. Garden admission is included.
Evergreen centerpiece workshop
Thursday, Dec. 9, 10-11:30 a.m. and 6-7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 11, 9-10:30 a.m. Sign up sooner rather than later for this popular holiday workshop. Join returning instructor and florist Dennis Bowman in fashioning balsam fir, cedar and pine branch tips in a fragrant evergreen centerpiece to enjoy throughout the season. Complement the piece with festive ribbon, pine cones and a special feature. The registration fee also includes a visit to the Alpine Holidays garden exhibit. Participants are welcome to bring garden gloves, pruners and suitable accents. The cost is $43.
Suzuki Strings performance
Sunday, Dec. 12, 2-2:45 p.m. Children of Fort Wayne Suzuki will play holiday favorites on the violin and cello. These accomplished students are familiar with the Suzuki Method of instruction that is the “mother tongue method” based on the premise that music is learned like a language. Local Suzuki students will perform music with holiday ear appeal. Included with regular conservatory admission.