by Laura Kocum
on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at 10:48am.
It's that time of year- when frantic shopping trips and holiday parties fill the schedule. But it's also a time to swing by area attractions, slow down, and enjoy the season. As Madison prepares to celebrate the holidays, there are several stops worth visiting. Take a drive through town and enjoy the lights, and don't miss these must-see events along the way:
Olbrich Botantical Gardens Holiday Express opens December 3, and features electric trains, provided by the Wisconsin Garden Railway Society, intricate Lego creations made by the Wisconsin Lego Users Group (WisLUG), and, of course, beautiful flowers and plants. Walk through and enjoy the pirate village, dragon and other creations. The trains change regularly, as different volunteers bring their own trains to display. Holiday Express admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 3-12, and free for children two and under. It's open daily from 10-4.
Wisconsin Governor's Mansion opens several times for free tours. The residence is decorated for Christmas, and is a popular destination for locals. Enjoy all the decorated trees, and learn more about Wisconsin. Admission is free!
Henry Vilas Zoo Lights is open each Thurday-Sunday through January 1. Walk through the zoo, sip a hot drink, and enjoy the lights. The carousel is open, and Santa is available each evening from 5:30-8 p.m. Admission is $7, with family 4-pack tickets for $24. Children 3 and under are free.
Holiday Fantasy in Lights is open in Olin Park. Drive through and enjoy the light display, put on by The Electric Group. Admission is free, but donations are accepted to underwrite expenses.
State Capitol and Downtown is another place worth stopping. The Capitol offers free tours daily, and guests are sure to enjoy the decorated tree in the rotunda. After touring the building, catch a free trolley and visit State Street businesses for shopping and treats.