Why I Love Longwood Garden’s Festival Of Fountains

If you’re looking for a fantastic summer celebration with breathtaking magical fountains and gardens as your backdrop, then you don’t want to miss the Longwood Garden’s Festival of Fountains and the Light Installations.

Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia in the Kennett Square area are gorgeous, with beautiful flowers blooming and fountains everywhere. From now until September 25, The Festival of Fountains is an extravaganza you don’t want to miss. Another fun happening through the final weekend of October is the Light: Installations by Bruce Monroe.

Longwood Gardens hosted our visit to the gardens. All opinions are my own.

The Festival of Fountains is just one of many reasons to visit the Longwood Gardens this summer. Let’s review some of the reasons.

Gorgeous fountains at Longwood Gardens

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

The Festival Of Fountains

The magnificent Festival of Fountains is in full swing every Thursday through Saturday, starting at dusk through September 25, 2022.

You can enjoy the beauty of the flowers and watch the dancing fountains throughout the gardens during the day, but the magic of the fountains begins when the sun sets.

At dusk, you will also be amazed by the magic of Light: Installations by Bruce Munro that light up after dark, and the illuminated fountain performances. There is also live music in the Beer Garden area.

Illuminated Fountain Performances

Enjoy the spectacular night time Illuminated Fountain Performances in the main fountain garden every Thursday through Sunday at 9:15 pm This illuminated water show is set to music and is the highlight of time spent at Longwood Gardens.

Watching the fountain show is truly magical. Take a chair or blanket to sit and watch the show. Alternatively, you could stand in the back next to the wall and watch the water in all shapes and heights combined with various colors and music for a magnificently colorful 30-minute show. They have more than 25 theme shows they rotate through, and you can check their website to see which show might be playing the evening you are visiting.

Pro Tips

  • If possible, plan to stroll through the five-acre garden prior to the illuminated fountain performance. Waiting until after the show will give you very little time to see the light installations and other garden highlights.
  • There will be many people, so you might want to take your chair or blanket and put it in place an hour or so before the show starts.
Italian water garden at Longwood Gardens

Italian water garden at Longwood Gardens

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Open Air Theater Fountain Shows

Throughout the day, the Open Air Theater Fountain Shows come alive to music every two hours, starting at 10:15 a.m. The fountains spout and spray to the tune of the music and entertain garden visitors four times each day.

Main garden fountain performance

Main garden fountain performance

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Main Fountain Garden Performances

These giant water performances send streams of water through the air from 1,719 jets. The Main Fountain Garden Performances occur every two hours starting at 11:15 am

Pro tip: Be aware that these enormous fountains can easily spray spectators. You might want to stand five or ten feet away from the fountains (also, you will get better photos a few feet away).

The water feels great on a hot day, but not so refreshing when it’s chilly.

The pump room for the fountains

The pump room for the fountains

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

The Behind The Scenes Tour

The Behind the Scenes Tour: Under the Fountains takes you from ground level down to a vast tunnel system below the fountains to see the myriad of pipes, pumps, and other equipment used for the fountains and presentations.

My husband and I took this more than an hour-long tour and learned about recent enhancements to the fountain system and what it takes to make all the fountains and jets work. It was interesting to see how they program the jets and fountain presentations to the music.

A ticket is required, and the tour is offered on selected days.

Pro Tips

  • You must be able to climb several flights of stairs, and this tour is not accessible by wheelchairs or mobility devices.
  • Children must be at least 11 years old to participate, and an adult must accompany 11 to 16 year olds.
  • They do not permit adults to carry infants or wear infant holders during the tour.
Flowers at Longwood Gardens

Flowers at Longwood Gardens

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Beautiful Gardens

Once a Quaker farmstead and arboretum owned by Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens is home to an awe-inspiring collection of the most beautiful plants worldwide.

With over 400 acres of lush gardens and open meadows to explore, you will find a flower that makes your heart smile.

The flowers and plants change with the seasons, offering year-round enjoyment.

The Green Wall at Longwood Gardens

The Green Wall

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

The Conservatory

The outdoor gardens are not the only area where you will find flowers. There are plenty of indoor rooms full of blooms to enjoy.

Acres of glass providing sweeping views of the lush outdoor foliage offer a kaleidoscope of color as a background for dazzling indoor flower displays.

I loved the flowers everywhere, but was mesmerized by the stunning Green Wall. Imagine 4,000 square feet of lush vertical vegetation from floor to ceiling that leads the way to the restrooms within the conservatory. At the end of the Green Wall hallway is a reflecting pool of marble.

Dessert at Longwood Gardens

Everything, including the flowers and the pot, were edible.

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Dining Options

Longwood Gardens is home to three dining venues. You don’t have to leave the gardens to enjoy a delicious meal.

1906

Named in honor of the year Longwood Gardens’ ground was purchased, the 1906 upscale restaurant menu changes seasonally and includes items that visit the past, present, and future using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients as much as possible.

When we visited, we enjoyed a meal at 1906. I had the following:

  • Appetizers: Stone Fruit Salad that includes greens, pickled shallot, fruit, and pecans with a cherry-vanilla vinaigrette drizzled over it.
  • Drink: Bird of Paradise made with bluebird distilling vodka mixed with coconut water, honey, and lime juice with pieces of honeydew melon.
  • Entree: Jail Island Salmon that was served over coconut jasmine rice with peach salsa.
  • Dessert: Chocolate Cherry Flower Pot including chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, a layer of cherry jam, cherry mouse topped with cookie crumbs, and vanilla ice cream with live flowers. The pot was edible and created using buttercream frosting marzipan (this is the dessert in the photograph above).

The Café

Salads, ready-to-eat sandwiches, hot entree selections, soup, and desserts are featured.

The Beer Garden

If you prefer to dine alfresco, the Beer Garden offers pub fare, homemade pizza, sandwiches, beer, and other beverages.

Pro Tips

  • You must be a paid guest visiting the gardens to eat in the dining areas.
  • Outside the garden grounds is a shaded picnic area with tables, grills, etc. Guests should use this before or after visiting the gardens. You must enter the gardens through the main gate.
Illuminated flamingoes by Bruce Monro

Illuminated flamingoes are part of the Light Installations by Bruce Monro

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

The Light Installations

The Light: Installations by Bruce Munro are viewable from Thursday through Sunday until the end of October.

A completely new exhibition includes a field of light, illuminated flamingoes wading near the Chimes Tower, and other installations that are a dazzling display of artistry and imagination.

Illuminated fountains at Longwood Gardens

Illuminated fountains

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Light Nights

Light Nights is a special event on the second Friday of each month to showcase the Light: Installations by Bruce Munro, along with workshops, activities, concessions, live music, and more.

Walkway through Longwood Gardens

Walkway through Longwood Gardens

Photo credit: Robin O’Neal Smith

Accessibility

The gardens, conservatory, and fountain area are wheelchair accessible. The only areas that aren’t accessible are the areas in the “Behind the Scenes” tour and a few stone side paths.

If you want to experience a summer festival that is both beautiful and awe-inspiring, be sure to visit Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia. With illuminated fountains and light installations throughout the gardens, it’s a spectacle that you won’t want to miss.

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