LANTERNS! Festival Lights Up the Night
Wildwood’s annual deep-winter festival celebrates the first full moon of the lunar new year. Held over three magical evenings, guests are transported to far away lands and times as they stroll through the beautifully lit pathways of Wildwood’s gardens. Cultural vistas feature live entertainment, food, drink, games and more throughout the Park’s Butler Arboretum and inside the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre.
This year’s vistas include Germany, Mexico, China, Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom. Our American vista is Prohibition Chicago. As always, a trip to the Moon is a must, but this year be sure to stop by Area 51 as you just might find some aliens at our Moon vista.
Once you’re inside the gate, purchase your WildBucks at any of four locations and enjoy food and beverages at every vista. Prices range from $1 to $8. (ATM available inside the Park.) All proceeds support Wildwood Park for the Arts’ programs, gardens and operations.
Tickets to the event are available online: $10 for adults, $5 for children age 6 – 12, Admission to LANTERNS! is FREE for children 5 and younger. At noon on each day of the festival, admission for that evening will increase to $12 for adults and $7 for children. Tickets at the gate are $12 for adults and $7 for children. Admission to LANTERNS! for children 5 and younger is FREE.
If you choose to purchase your ticket at the gate, we recommend bringing cash to avoid credit card fees and ticket lines!
Shuttles will run between The Promenade at Chenal and Wildwood Park beginning at 6 pm nightly until 30 minutes past the Festival’s closing. The festival closes at 10 pm on Friday & Saturday, 9 pm on Sunday. Arkansas Destinations shuttles will pick up passengers in the mall’s Courtyard located on the west side of the mall. Parking is ample.
Off-street parking is also available along Denny Road in front of Wildwood Park. Guests enter the park on foot through two gates; no festival patron automobiles are allowed inside the park.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Wildwood Park for the Arts relies on volunteers to help bring this enchanting festival to life.
Check out images from prior LANTERNS! Festivals in the Gallery below.
Happy Year of the Pig! Our good friends from ACAA always host a lovely party in The Pavilion at Wildwood. You’re in for a treat as we celebrate Chinese traditions for the new lunar year!
Vista Chairs: American Chinese Association of Arkansas (ACAA)
Vista Volunteer Support: American Chinese Association of Arkansas
Wildwood takes The Moon to new heights this year! Please note: some tables are reserved, but who wants to stay in one place when you have the whole world to explore?
Come enjoy the taste of Oktoberfest right here in Little Rock, Arkansas! Underneath our large festival tent, you will find German foods such as brats, pretzels, strudel, and of course lots of beer on tap (for the adults) and root beer (for the kids). Be sure to bring your dancing shoes as no Oktoberfest is complete without dancing a polka! This vista will be lively and entertaining for all who visit.
Always a Lanterns favorite, the Mexico vista will feature a ranchero band, piñatas, quesadillas, churros, limonada, and elote,
While you listen to the sounds of an English band, and raise your warming cup of Irish whiskey, you can wave at Nessie as you visit one of our most popular vistas, the United Kingdom. This year, our most popular Lanterns food item—turkey legs—will be available along with the English classics fish and chips, scones, and English candies. Of course, there will be plenty of Guinness for all!
This year, Chicago is our U.S. city of choice. There will be three distinct areas, all representative of the great city of the Midwest. Come visit the Dugout Sports Bar, or listen to the voices and players in our intimate Chicago speakeasy, or walk the streets of the theater district as you are entertained by our main stage performers. There will be cheesecake, deep dish pizza—hot dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn for the kids—and of course, for all you gangsters and flappers, come join us at the speakeasy club for your own Al Capone specialty drink.
Do you accept credit cards?
Credit cards are an acceptable form of payment, however, cash is the preferred method of payment for tickets and WILDBucks as it gets you through the gates and into the fun more quickly.
What do I receive for the price of admission?
Admission to the Park offers guests access to all vistas and a full schedule of performances and entertainment at each vista. Food and souvenir items are available for purchase with WILDBucks.
What are WILDBucks?
WILDBucks are Wildwood’s in-park currency. Simply visit one of the four WILDBucks stations throughout the Park to exchange your cash or credit card information for WILDBucks. WILDBucks are the only form of payment accepted for food, beverages, and other souvenirs throughout LANTERNS!
One Dollar = One WILDBuck
As a general rule, WILDBucks cannot be refunded, but can be saved and used for purchases at next year’s LANTERNS! Festival.
What are the costs of food and drink in the Park?
Culinary items vary from 2-8 WILDBucks.
Is the festival outdoors?
Several vistas are outdoors and spaced throughout the Park’s arboretum, Asian Woodland Garden and green spaces. Other vistas are inside the Cabe Festival Theatre Complex.
Where is the festival?
Wildwood Park is located at 20919 Denny Road in west Little Rock. Wildwood has two entrances, both on Denny Road. The large main entrance is across from the green Wildwood Park sign at the Park’s main entrance. The smaller entrance is located east of the main entrance.
How does parking work?
Free shuttles run beginning at 6 pm nightly until 30 minutes past the Festival’s closing. The festival closes at 10 pm on Friday & Saturday, 9 pm on Sunday. Shuttles will run to Wildwood Park for the Arts’ LANTERNS! Festival from Promenade at Chenal (located on Chenal Parkway between Rahling Road and St. Vincent Way). The shuttle stop will be located near Café Brunelle on the southwest side of the mall.
Parking is available on Denny Road, across from Wildwood Park. No parking is available inside the gates of the Park on the nights of the festival. A great parking option is available by parking Promenade at Chenal and taking the LANTERNS! trolleys to the Park. Handicapped guests can be dropped off at the gates to the park.
Is there a release of lanterns?
LANTERNS! is anchored by Chinese traditions for celebrating the New Year and is held during the first full moon of the new lunar year. Purchase luminaries, make your wish, and launch them on the waters of Swan Lake.
What if the weather is bad?
We make every attempt to bring the festival to life outdoors, no matter the weather. If it is very cold, very wet, or very windy, we will move the festival inside the Cabe Theatre and celebrate indoors. Since we’ll hold the festival rain or shine, tickets are non-refundable.
What does the LANTERNS! Festival raise funds for?
All funds support the mission of Wildwood Park for the Arts, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, including youth music education, art exhibitions, the botanical gardens and other arts programming.
Will alcohol be served?
Yes. Most vistas serve alcoholic beverages. Every vista also serves non-alcoholic beverages. Caffeine-free options are also available throughout the Park.
What about special dietary needs?
We try to offer something for everyone!
Can I bring my pet?
Usually, we love to have pets visit Wildwood. For the LANTERNS! Festival, though, we ask that pets stay at home.