Wyoming October 09, 2017
The Magical Forest Of Light In Wyoming That’s Almost Too Beautiful To Believe
The light of hope shines brightly in a sparkling forest right here in Wyoming. Every year, long before anyone else has even celebrated Halloween, let alone busted out the Christmas decorations, a stunning magical woodland lights up to the delight of kids of all ages. The forest of light started out as a token of love that has now grown to touch hundreds of lives and bring a special blessing to more than one community.
You don't have to make a trek into the wilderness to see the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope - it's located at 6565 Ashley Drive in Cheyenne.
It all began in 2010 as Nancy and Gary Kelley's special Christmas surprise for their daughter's family who was visiting from out of state. Although they initially planned on only decorating 10 trees, the Kelleys ended up stringing lights on over 400 of them that first year.
The Kelley's granddaughter, Jessie, has undergone Hemispherectomy - brain surgery for seizures. As a way of bringing hope and light not only into her life but also for the hundreds of children in the Hemi Foundation, they decided to light a tree for each and every one of them. What's more, many of the trees are decorated with the pictures of kids in the Hemi Foundation in addition to the sparkling lights.
Over the years, as more kids' names were added to the Hemi Foundation's database, the Kelleys have added more trees. There are so many, an entire crew starts working on the decorations long before the snow flies.
Today, there are over 630 trees covering 4 1/2 acres in the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope.
It takes over 200,000 lights on more than 1,600 strings to light up this magical forest. In addition to the hundreds of trees, there is also a lit outdoor water feature including waterfalls plus hayrides and hot chocolate for everyone.
The wonder and delight extend inside, too. There is a delightful indoor display that includes a scale-sized train...
...that is lit up and running each night...
...in addition to a larger "parade" train with Santa standing watch nearby.
Traditionally, the forest officially lights up on October 15 and is open for visits all the way through February - yes, even on Christmas Day!
Visitors are welcome every day of the week between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. from October 15 to March 1. Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to the Hemi Foundation.
All the work the Kelleys have put into growing their forest of light and hope has turned it into a spectacular sight to see, and one that is almost too beautiful to believe.
Pictures hardly do this charming forest justice, but this will give you an idea of how amazing it is:
Have you visited the Hemi Lighted Forest of Hope? What was your favorite part of it all?