Magical Garden has reopened its doors and this year with a new theme: Alice in Wonderland.
Magical Garden is a light installation that takes place in Jardim Tropical de Belem, a lovely public park with amazing plants, ponds, and vegetation in every corner: the location itself is magical and usually open all year round during the day.
This year’s Magical Garden light show portrait many scenes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carrol.
The suggested path brings you around the park and follows the storyline: the lights are a work of art and each station has a description both in Portuguese and English, so no need to refresh the movie or book before going to see the installation.
There are few interactive installations, the best being the augmented reality mushrooms search almost at the end of the whole circuit and the one with noise-activated lights, where my son’s shouting skills were for once useful.
You will need your phone for the augmented reality one, so be sure to download the app, and I suggest activating it only once you are about to begin looking for mushrooms.
In the middle of the circuit, there is a big video mapping installation of the main garden building, and right after that there is the secret garden experience which you can take pictures of and goes through a secret part which is usually not open to the public and that has loads of tall flowers (but you can’t take pictures there).
Throughout the whole installation, music is played in a mix of animal noises and classical music.
There is a refreshment and street food corner at about the 8th station: you can still admire some lights while eating some food.
The installation takes about 90′ minutes to visit and then I suggest not bringing the stroller (yet it’s not a big deal if you bring it, but you can’t get through the secret garden part with it).
My family overall experience
I think that the Magical Garden installation it’s very nice and fun to see, despite me, not being a fan of the movie: my 2 YO literally loved it and was happily running around while my 5 YO wasn’t really amazed, but he is rarely amazed by anything that doesn’t involve things he knows already (he is 5 going 15) plus he never saw the movie. Elio loved the interactive parts and was thrilled by the virtual reality one.
Last year the theme was more general and it included different animals, historical moments, and dinosaurs: it was probably a bit more relatable as the theme involved two kids exploring history.
Tickets cost a maximum of 17,5€ on weekends, less on weekdays: all residents of Lisbon Municipality are entitled to the Reduced ticket which is 15€ on weekends (the same ticket you book for all kids 4 and above and 65+).
Kids 3 and under enter for free and family tickets are available: you can get all kinds of tickets at this link, and are also refundable until 24 hours before the event)
You choose a time slot but you can be slightly flexible with the time you enter: I actually suggest getting there slightly after your ticket time slot, to avoid lines and crowds.
Public transport: there is a bus and electrico stop very close to the garden entrance. If you come by train, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the station to the garden.
Hot tips: Pair you visit with snack at Pasteis de Belem or dinner at Honorato Hamburgeres Artesanais. I also suggest visiting the Edp Planeta Zero Christmas Market or CCB Belem. Bring comfy shoes, an be aware that sometimes the garden can be slippery.