Selby welcomed 500 children and families to the garden free of charge as part of its Family Togetherness program.
The holidays were in full bloom Dec. 20 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Lights sparkled among the banyan branches, which turned to snowflakes when guests put on a pair of Selby's special viewing glasses
But the real holiday magic was on the ground as 500 parents and children wandered through the garden during a special preview of the annual Lights and Bloom event.
The gardens' many guests entered free of charge thanks to a partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County called the Family Togetherness Program. The program welcomes families to events such as the Selby Spooktacular and Lights and Bloom.
"The special school night viewing of Selby Gardens’ Lights in Bloom holiday display is a beautiful holiday event for families who would otherwise not have an opportunity to attend the event," the gardens said in a release.
As participants and representatives of organizations such as Easter Seals, UnidosNow and Girls Inc. darted between light displays, craft tables and complimentary refreshments, Selby CEO Jennifer Rominiecki said although the holidays might come and go, the Family Togetherness program was there to stay.
"We look forward to seeing you all the time," she said to guests.