Feeling Festive at Philbrook!
Philbrook Festival is one of our favorite holiday traditions
Joss and I attended Philbrook Festival for the first time last year–I forget why, but there was free admission on the day we went, and let me tell you, by the time we left, there were cars lined up for blocks down the street and a constant stream still coming into the neighborhood. We’d gotten there early, around 5 p.m., so we had a prime parking spot–but I still ended up getting completely turned around and bewildered as we tried to navigate out of the neighborhood!
This situation is why Philbrook has changed up their Festival some this year, limiting the number of tickets sold each Festival night. We still ended up parking along the street, but it was easy to leave at the end of the evening, so no complaints there. I was tempted to arrive early but wasn’t certain how that worked with Festival being a ticketed event, so we just showed up around 5:45 p.m. and waited outside for the doors to open at 6.
Another major change to Philbrook Festival this year is the addition of Karl Unnasch’s Glass Cabin on the Philbrook grounds. If you haven’t visited the Cabin yet, it is gorgeous–and the perfect holiday setting, from the cozy fireplace to the glowing stained glass. For Festival purposes, the Cabin is considered “Santa’s Cabin”–although due to weather concerns (November tornadoes?!?), on the day we visited he had taken up residence inside the Philbrook auditorium. There will also be food available for purchase outside of the Cabin–again, on Festival nights not thrown slightly off by wacky weather.
Outside the Cabin, you can hop aboard the Philbrook Express! Small trains are so popular this year–Joss loved the one at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s Garden of Lights–so I was so excited for him to get to ride another train! Alas, trains can’t run in tornadoes–so we weren’t able to do that this time, but I’m sure it would have been wonderful.(That said, Philbrook did a great job of being flexible with the weather–I was so worried that we wouldn’t be able to have the full Philbrook Festival experience, since there was a chance of thunderstorms all evening long, but other than the train, we got to do everything we’d been hoping for.)
I’ve attended Philbrook’s Friday Burger Nights a couple of times, so I already knew their burgers are top-notch. Normally Burger Nights take place on the patio outside the main Kitchen 27 restaurant, but because of weather, it was moved indoors. You can choose from a menu of about 4 burger options ($8.50 per burger, includes fries); they also have delicious onion rings and a variety of beverages available. So this is a great meal option if you’re there on Friday evening and haven’t put in a meal reservation at the restaurant.
Splurged on a can of wine 😉
The main appeal, to me, of Philbrook Festival is the setting: Philbrook is gorgeous to visit all year long, but it is extra special to see the villa decorated for the holidays, with Christmas trees and garlands, and of course all the lights! Also new this year is a lights show, which we mainly missed–but we did hear a large round of applause from the people who were more in the right place at the right time than we were 🙂
Don’t miss the selfie station in front of the mantle!
Other Festival attractions include the LEGO village, made up of creative contributions from families and businesses in the community, and a Make-and-Take Ornaments station. We promptly lost our mini-lantern, but at least Joss had fun making it!
You can choose between decorating a wooden ornament or a mini lantern. So many supplies to choose from! (FYI, these are the example ornaments, not ours)
At least on the night we visited, I think you did have to exit through the gift shop–which is really fun. If you are still completing your holiday shopping, don’t forget Philbrook as a place to shop local for some unique items! They have a large selection of artsy/creative stuff for kids, plenty of Philbrook-specific merchandise, and more.
Because I have a membership discount–and also because I got a little confused about what tickets were available, whoops!–I purchased a Family Package, which is $65 for non-members. This Pack includes 3 Make-and-Take Ornament tickets, 6 Train Ride tickets and 2 Adult Admission tickets. Children 17 and under are still free! Otherwise, tickets for adults are $15 each and each of the activities cost $5 each, so although $65 sounds a little steep, it’s a savings of $19 if you want to do that many activities. When we got our activity tickets, it was actually a bundle of tickets that could be used either for crafts or train rides, so it was a little more flexible. Purchase tickets at Philbrook.org. Remaining Festival dates are December 7, 14, 21, 24 and 28!