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There's magic in the air at Cleveland Botanical Garden's 'Glow'

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There is one "must-see" family-friendly area attraction this holiday season and it can be found at the Cleveland Botanical Garden's annual "Glow" Winter show. Filled with spectacular sights that will enchant all ages, "Glow" will be on display from now through January 5, 2014.

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"Glow" Featuring more than 100,000 lights and nearly 2800 holiday plantings, this season event is hard to beat for family entertainment. Upon entering the lobby you will be greeted by a garden of white poinsettias, red amaryllis, winterberry holly and Himalayan white birch trees (strung with hundreds of white lights) and there is a 25 foot fir tree decorated with red and gold balls surrounded by red poinsettias.

The centerpiece of "Glow" is the annual Gingerbread display featuring over 100 gingerbread buildings spread throughout the building (Don't miss the display on the second floor), all vying for awards in the gingerbread competition in three different divisions (professional, adult and family & children).

Among some of the outstanding entries are an intricately detailed castle complete with a dragon, a Victorian house, a replica of the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse, a riverboat, Snoopy on his dog house, a toy store, Santa's Magical Palace, the "Christmas Story"house, a gingerbread RV and a replica of Hogwart's from the "Harry Potter" series of books and movies.

The winner of the professional gingerbread category (a replica of Cleveland's own Old Stone Church on Public Square) is prominently displayed in the lobby area. Take a few moments to admire the intricate details on the structure.

Other sights at "Glow" include avenues of close to 40 brightly lit holiday trees decorated by area affiliate garden clubs, all with a different theme including "Visions of Sugar Plums," Underwater Garden," "The Nutcracker," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Woodland Wonderland".

In the Garden's Clark Hall, kids can make their own gingerbread house to take home ($20 for a small house and $30 for a large house) and the Treetop Shop ( a two-level Alpine style clubhouse with a slide) where kids can shop for family and friends. Clark Hall also features live holiday music performances and be bedazzled by the curtains bedecked in hundreds of sparking lights behind the stage.

And don't miss the chance to hop aboard the Garden Express Train which takes passengers from the Geis Terrace to Hershey Children's Garden and back.

Make sure you pay a visit to the Wishing Tree where you can hang a paper tree after you have written your special wishes for the season on it.

New this year is Mrs. Claus' Sweete Shop where you can purchase candies of all shapes, colors and flavors.

Visitors can also walk through the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse where among the sights are desert plants, numerous varieties of poinsettias, small free-flying birds, tortoises and an iguana. Be sure to walk through the Cloud Forest featuring butterflies, tropical plants, orchids and a waterfall.

Food is available at the Garden Cafe including soups, sandwiches, salads, beverages (including hot chocolate) and bakery items like cookies, fruit bars, scones, muffins and gingerbread men.

The Garden Store offers shoppers a variety of items including ornaments, wreaths, CD's, jewelry, home accessories, fragrances, books and gifts for gardeners. Market carts in Clark Hall also offer items like "Glow" ornaments and tea for sale.

Hours for "Glow" are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and noon - 5 p.m. on Sundays. The Cleveland Botanical Garden is closed on Mondays. The Garden will also be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Admission is $12 for adults and $6.50 for children (3-12). Children 2 and under are free. Admission for Garden members is free.

For more information about "Glow" or about the Cleveland Botanical Garden call 216-721-2056 or get online at www.cbgarden.org.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden is located at the University Circle area at 11030 East Blvd. in Cleveland.

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