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Cheekwood Holiday LIGHTS + Reindeer Back for the 2018 Season

The holiday season is upon us and that means Cheekwood‘s Holiday LIGHTS are back! 

Cheekwood’s Holiday LIGHTS open to the public on Nov. 23 and they light up the Nashville botanical garden through Dec. 30. This is the fourth year for the holiday extravaganza and, this year, they’ve strung one million lights on a mile-long walk.

“With one million lights in the gardens and a new installation designed for the Cheekwood Mansion, this year’s display is sure to dazzle our guests,” said Peter Grimaldi, vice president of gardens for Cheekwood. “Our team has worked tirelessly to prepare a lights experience designed specifically to complement Cheekwood’s sprawling landscape, and we can’t wait for our visitors to see it for themselves and create lasting holiday memories with us.”

Along with the lights, attendees can also see two gorgeous reindeer on the Holly Lawn. Jolly and Nick, two of Santa’s most trusted companions, are now at the botanical garden. The real reindeer come from Rocky Hill Reindeer, an East Tennessee provider, and they’re a mother and son pair.

“She shows him the ways of the world and bosses him around, like moms should,” their handler, Hall Whitaker, said in an interview. He explained that the eight-year-reindeer and her eight-month-old son get along well but she’s definitely the boss.

Whitaker works at Cheekwood year-round but, this time of year, he gets a really special job. He’s the Chief Reindeer Handler and his typical day consists of taking care of these two gorgeous creatures. He greets them in the morning, offers them their meals and cleans their cage.

On the morning when we visited Jolly and Nick, it was a cold 32 degrees. That’s the perfect temperature for the reindeer. Unlike whitetail deer, they have thick coats and bigger bodies. They’re well equipped for cold weather.

The Holiday LIGHTS will be open seven nights a week. This year, they’ll have timed ticket options to provide a better guest experience. First arrivals begin at 5 PM with later evening arrivals beginning at 7. Cheekwood is continuing last year’s Late Night Lights offer, where guests arriving after 8:30 can receive a discounted rate of $15 adult admission and $10 child admission each night.

Find out more and reserve your tickets on Cheekwood’s website.

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