Holiday Garden Lights Ignite at Atlanta Botanical Garden

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The Atlanta Botanical Garden sparkles as a twinkling winter wonderland this holiday season with an elegant new outdoor light show unlike any other in the Southeast, featuring nearly 1 million energy-efficient bulbs.

Destined to become an in-town holiday tradition, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, open nightly from November 19 through January 7, showcases enormous botanical-inspired light displays throughout the 30-acre Midtown attraction, known for its innovative exhibitions. Unlike other area holiday light displays, this spectacular event allows visitors to meander among garden displays — including giant snowflakes, fleeting bumblebees and a towering “praying Santa mantis”# – while sipping hot drinks and listening to strolling carolers.

“This show has been in the planning stages for years because we wanted it to be unique and innovative – an elegant winter wonderland,”# said Mary Pat Matheson, the Garden”s executive director. “The intent is to throw a sparkling veil over the landscape, transforming how people perceive gardens, particularly the trees.”#

Continuing the Garden”s commitment to environmental sustainability, Garden Lights, Holiday Nights emphasizes low-energy LED lights throughout the displays, which were designed by studio-Outside of Dallas and CD+M Lighting and Design Group of Atlanta.

The show, open daily from 5 to 10 p.m. (except for December 24 and 31),# centers around a magical atmosphere of graceful light displays of plants and figures inspired by the Garden”s living collections and crafted from thousands of strings of tiny colored lights.

Upon arriving, visitors are greeted by numerous potted conifers wrapped in light, then pass through the Hardin Visitor Center, where traditional poinsettias and greenery showcase winter”s natural beauty. Moving through the Southern Seasons Garden, guests are dazzled by dozens of illuminated stars dancing from the canopies of storied hardwood trees, while pathways are cast in theatrical lighting effects.

Rounding a curve, visitors are funneled through an allee of crape myrtle trees wrapped in teal, blue and soft white twinkling lights to a breathtaking focal point”a 27-foot-tall, 18-foor-wide tree of sparkling lights anchoring a fountain where water makes the reflections dance in enchanting patterns.

From there, the show grows more whimsical with trees “traced”# in light like line drawings. On the adjacent Great Lawn, nearly 200 translucent spheres, half-spheres and lighted abstract trees form a show-stopping effect of color-changing topiaries created by sophisticated never-before-seen LED technology. And inside the Fuqua Conservatory, visitors will experience the otherworldly effect of “Avatar”#-like light projections.

The twinkling fantasy culminates in the new Edible Garden, which features oversized beneficial insects at play. There”s a two-dimensional lighted “Elf Wings”# (derived from lacewing insects), “Candy Cane Bees,”# “Flutterflies”# (butterflies of holiday lights), and that holiday praying mantis perched on the roof of the Outdoor Kitchen.

While touring Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, presented by the Kendeda Foundation, visitors may enjoy live entertainment, a quaint model train display, cash bars, and food from MetroFresh in the Garden.

Tickets are $18.95 for adults; $12.95, children 3-17. Discounted tickets for Garden members are $14.95 adults, $9.95 children 3-17.

The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. The Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE in Midtown, between 14th Street and Monroe Drive. For information, visit atlantabotanicalgarden.org or phone 404-876-5859.

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