Victoria’s Butchart Gardens is amazing from July until early September with its flowers, evening concerts, nightly illuminations and Saturday fireworks.
Summer at Butchart Gardens
Summertime is peak season for Butchart Gardens, with thousands of tourists and local residents visiting the gardens each day. Highlights of the summer season at Butchart Gardens include the Saturday night fireworks displays, nightly garden illuminations and the Summer Festival outdoor concerts.
For information on Butchart Gardens in the summer, see below. For information on Butchart Gardens in general, including activities at other times of the year, click Butchart Gardens Victoria.
From June 15 until September 15 Butchart Gardens is open from 9 am until 10 pm and admission is at its highest, costing close to $32 for adults and half price for youth ages 13 to 17. Summer admission for children is a great deal, with those ages 5 to 12 getting in for just $3 and kids even younger being free.
Although appearing on the pricey side for adults, given what’s offered in the summer, admission prices are actually fairly reasonable, especially if you go frequently and get an annual pass which doesn’t cost a lot more. Also, if you go on Fireworks night or when there’s a major artist performing in concert, $32 ends being a pretty good deal.
Butchart Gardens Fireworks
The Saturday evening summer fireworks displays at Butcharts are impressive and start at dark. They feature both traditional fireworks displays in the sky overhead, but also creative pyrotechnic illuminations close to the ground, all of which are cleverly choreographed to music which makes the experience especially entertaining.
TIP #1: Find a place to sit well before the pyrotechnics start. It gets busy, so get there early, or at least clearly mark your spot with some belongings in advance. On especially busy summer Saturdays there can be as many as 12,000-15,000 visitors at the gardens over the course of the day, although the first couple of Saturdays are often the quietest at fireworks time (other than rainy days, obviously), with an average of only around 5,000 fireworks spectators instead of the more usual 8,000.
TIP #2: Arrive an hour or two before dusk so you can enjoy the gardens in the light before the evening live music entertainment and fireworks. Re-entry is not permitted on fireworks nights, so don’t plan to visit in the morning and then get back in later with the same pass.
TIP #3: Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on, as well as warm clothing. The evenings can get cool, especially later in the summer. Fortunately, blankets are available for sale if you forget to bring one, and they are relatively inexpensive.
TIP #4: Dogs are welcome at Butchart Gardens during the day if kept on leash, but they are not permitted during the fireworks. If you plan to stay late and watch the show, leave Fido at home.
Butchart Gardens Nightly Illumination
From mid-June until mid-September Butchart Gardens lights up at night. After enjoying the evening live music performances or Saturday night fireworks in July and August, go for one final stroll around the gardens and admire the place all lit up. Especially beautiful with all the illumination is the Sunken Garden.
Butchart’s Summer Festival
Every night from early July until the first weekend in September Butchart Gardens hosts live music starting at 8 pm. Bands perform outdoors on the lawns of the gardens, and the concerts are included in the regular cost of admission, except for the odd “special event” when a major artist performs in which case annual passes are not valid. In 2015 special performance artists included Canadian singer Jann Arden and the band Spirit of the West.
TIP: For big name bands, book your tickets in advance as they usually sell out early. You don’t have to pay extra, but spaces are limited.