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  • Writer's pictureKaren K.

Welcome to Wildwood Park's Lanterns Festival Blog!

We're excited to launch a brand new Lanterns Festival website and blog to keep west Little Rock and all our fans across the state of Arkansas up to date on the latest developments for our annual Lanterns Festival.

The 2023 Lanterns Festival will take place on Thursday, April 20; Friday, April 21; and Saturday, April 22! We'll be open for the usual festival hours from 6 - 10 pm on Thursday and Friday, and we'll be open for extended hours on Saturday from 4 - 10 pm. As always, we encourage you to buy your tickets in advance at! Adults who buy online get a $5 discount off the price that we charge at the gate the day of the event.

We're grateful to report that the recent storms in Arkansas did not damage Wildwood Park, and preparations are in full swing to welcome you to Lanterns in just under 2 weeks.

Butler Gazebo surrounded by trees with Swan Lake in the background

West Little Rock's Festival of Lights and Cultures

If you've attended Lanterns before, you know the festival is popular for two big reasons. First, there's a magical feeling in the air when you walk along our woodland paths at night, especially with the trails so beautifully lit by hundreds of luminarias. As festival goers make their way to the Butler Gazebo and set their own lighted lanterns on Swan Lake, the lake gradually fills with silvery light that is breathtaking to behold.

Second, as part of our festival decorations each year, Lanterns celebrates a variety of world cultures and one U.S. city. We create several "vistas" representing these cultures throughout the park. At each vista, you can take photos in front of recreations of iconic landmarks, listen to music from that culture, sample some foods and drinks, and sometimes even watch performances or interact with local artists.

Lanterns 2023: Bigger, Brighter, and Bolder

This year's Lanterns will be the best yet! We've incorporated ideas from last year's festival attendees with new inspirations from our staff, board members, and vista leaders to bring you more cultures, more lights, and more entertainment than ever before. You can find all the details about what's happening at Lanterns 2023 by visiting the new Lanterns Festival website.

As always, because it was the culture that helped inspire the very first Lanterns Festival in 2005, China will be the first vista you meet as you enter the festival's front gates. Along with China, we are also proud to spotlight the cultures of Ukraine, Jamaica, Scotland, and France. This year's US representative is none other than one of the foremost cities of light and entertainment: Las Vegas, Nevada!

The Las Vegas vista will be the site of two of Lanterns 2023's most exciting activities. We are offering a free family-friendly stage show sponsored by Arkansas Circus Arts inside our theater auditorium every night at 7, 8, and 9 pm! Each show lasts approximately 40 minutes, and you are welcome to drop in for a couple of acts or stay for the entire performance. Don't miss the talented local singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and circus artists who will be spotlighted on our stage!

Second, our theater's South Lobby will also host the first-ever Lanterns charity casino. Come try your luck at our blackjack tables, craps table, and roulette wheel! Cash in your winnings each night for chances to win prizes each evening -- or maybe even a chance at our grand prize, a trip for 2 to the real Las Vegas!

Also for the first time ever, we have a vista devoted entirely to kids' activities: the Fairytale Forest! Kids can meet and take photos with their favorite fairytale characters, go on a quest to find colorful toadstools in the forest and win prizes, hear stories from faraway lands, or participate in a variety of arts and crafts. The food in the Fairytale Forest is also especially kid-friendly. But fear not, parents! We have adult beverages in the forest, including our special Witches' Brew cocktail, that are just for you.

Let Us Hear from You!

More fun announcements about activities at Lanterns are coming, so stay tuned! In the meantime, why not leave us a comment about what you're looking forward to most? Or if you're new to Lanterns and have a question for us, feel free to share it here. We're delighted to hear from you and looking forward to welcoming you in person at Lanterns 2023!

Don't forget to take advantage of that online discount for adult admission! Get your tickets for Lanterns 2023 now at!

114 views3 comments


Mar 19

Do you have scooters available for handicap people?


Mar 07

What are the 2024 dates? I can’t find them anywhere on your online site & this blog only talks about 2023. I’ve never been but if getting to it is as bad as the commenter says, I don’t know if I will go.


Apr 23, 2023

Had pre-paid tickets for Saturday, but after waiting in line at the Promenade more than an hour for a shuttle, with another 40-50 people still ahead of us in the shuttle line, our party of 5 (including a small child) gave up & left. We were really looking forward to the festival & sorry to have missed it for lack of festival transportation.

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