5 Reasons to See the China Lights

The lantern displays are at Boerner Botanical Gardens until Oct. 30.

The China Lights returned to the Boerner Botanical Gardens last week with the theme “Adventures in Lantern Wonderland,” taking you inside the story of Alice in Wonderland through their 40+ lantern displays. It’s here until Oct. 30, and here’s five reasons you should go check it out: 

1. The Lights

Though this may seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning how incredible these lighting displays really are. The lantern walkways at the beginning act as a beautiful, colorful threshold from the world outside to the magical experience inside. The cherry blossom tree is huge and gorgeous, yet with more subtle lighting that changes colors. The 200-foot dragon, which returns every year, is an incredible sight at the halfway point of the path. The Alice in Wonderland displays are whimsical and fun. All of the lanterns are eye-catching and make you feel a sense of wonder.

China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert



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2. The Storytelling

To further the previous point, the Alice in Wonderland lanterns did a wonderful job of telling the story through bright colors, moving lanterns, music and more. You start by “falling” down the rabbit hole and into lantern wonderland, where you meet all of the favorite characters from the story. You get to walk through a teacup lit walkway and come face-to-face with the Queen of Hearts, and much more. 

3. Interactive Displays

Beyond the lanterns, there were also 11 interactive light displays that were not only fun for kids, but adults too. There were light up stars that changed color as you jump on them, a light-up tunnel, light-up swings, sea-saws, drums and more. 

4. Photo Opportunities

This event is just full of endless photo opportunities. All of the lantern displays photograph really well, and there are lots of spots to stop and take photos. Or, if you want to try out an interactive photo opportunity, there’s one toward the end of wings that do something special when you flap your arms for that perfectly Instagrammable photo.

China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert

5. Make a Night Out of it

Beyond just walking around to look at the lanterns and playing with the interactive light displays, there is also nightly entertainment and food, making it a perfect way to spend an evening. Or, if you want to take in the lanterns for longer than just strolling through, there are tons of benches and seating throughout the displays for you to take it all in and enjoy a nice fall evening.

More Photos:

China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert
China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert
China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert
China Lights 2022; Photo by Brianna Schubert



Brianna Schubert is the associate digital editor and writes about art, culture and more at Milwaukee Magazine. When she’s not writing/editing, she’s likely reading (follow her book reviews on Instagram at @read_with_bee), cooking or listening to Taylor Swift.