Dominion Garden of Lights Volunteers


 (Thanksgiving), daily through December 31, 2014.

Thank you for volunteering during Garden of Lights. Garden of Lights is the largest event the Norfolk Botanical Garden presents each year, bringing in thousands of visitors and important financial support. A large part of its success is the work of volunteers, and we’re glad you want to give your time and talents to make the event successful.

See the Volunteer Schedule for the Garden of Lights.
There are two shifts for volunteers, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM and 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM. You can look at the schedule from here, but not make changes.

Sign up for a volunteer shift in the Garden of Lights

Directions to the Garden

Where We Need Help

We need volunteers to staff  the donation tables (flower carts). On busy nights, there are two ticket lines (manned by staff), and two donation flower carts.

Donation Tables

  • Be sure to sign in on the sign in sheet for that night so your hours will be credited. If you are working a double shift, you need to note that.
  • Put on a reflective vest before you start.
  • Carefully approach the cars and ask if they want to give a donation of any amount to the Garden.
  • Do not to crowd the car too early. Make sure there is enough space for the next car to get all the way to the ticket window.
  • Plants are on the flower carts. Let the Supervisor know when you are getting low on plants, or if the donation jar needs to be emptied.
  • Thank customers for coming and wish them “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.”
  • While you are out in public, no talking, texting, surfing, or tweeting on a phone. No ear buds, Bluetooth earpieces or earphones. This is for your own safety. If you must make a call, take a break and go in the ticket hut, your car, or the building.


On the night you volunteer

If you’re working the early shift, the closer you can arrive to 5:00 PM, the better. If you are working the later shift, the closer you can arrive to 7:30 PM, the better. Please remember that traffic is likely to be heavy on weekends, and lines to get into the Garden may be long.

Cobblestone bridge in lightsWhen you enter the Garden and you get near the main lot, let the traffic crew know you are here to volunteer. You can drive your car through the parking lot and park next to the ticket house. After you park, please go directly to the ticket house.

Customers enter the Garden, go past the toll booth, past the Mermaid fountain and around to the back of the parking lot. They stop at the ticket house, where a staff person takes their admission and gives them a receipt. After the ticket house, volunteers ask the customers if they want to make a donation to the Garden in exchange for a plant or coupon or whatever we are giving out that night.

Dress for the weather.  There is some shelter available in the library, and we try to rotate people in and out of the weather, but volunteers are outside almost all of the time. It is dark out there. Everyone wears the provided florescent vests when outside.

Restrooms: Keep in mind you are at least a two-minute walk away from the nearest restroom. The breezeway in the middle of the Visitors Center building stays unlocked, and you can use the restrooms in the education hallway. Enter the building and turn right. The restrooms are on your right about half way down the hall.

You will be able to leave through the lights. All volunteers will receive a one pass to return to Garden of Lights and two passes if hey sign up and staff three or more shifts. This is a $15 value, good for one entire carload of people.

Bad Weather Policy:

If the weather is bad, the Norfolk Botanical Garden follows the City of Norfolk’s policy on closing. If the TV says the City of Norfolk is closed (NOT schools and NOT courts), then the Garden and Garden of Lights will be closed as well.

If the weather is bad on a holiday or weekend, and you are not sure whether or not to come in, you can call the front desk at 441-5830 ext. 324 to see if the Garden is closed.

Of course, if you cannot come in safely, you can call the security cell phone (757-714-5830) or the front desk (757-441-5830 ext. 324) or Amanda Wells (757-441-5830 ext. 327) and have one of us inform the supervisor for that night that you will not be coming in.


If you have any questions, email Amanda Wells or call 757-441-5830 Ext. 327