Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tripping the Lights Fantastic

What seems like long ago on these pages--last summer--were pictures of CJ from a visit to a local treasure, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. She and I spent a long beautiful morning enjoying the garden displays--inside and out. On the way home, she decided that she would really like to go more often. A membership for Christmas would be a great gift!

And, so it is--already! On Christmas Day, CJ received a family membership to the gardens (plus two, for Grandma and Grandpa when they visit, or other guests). What we didn't know is that it came with four tickets to their annual "Gardenfest of Lights." Since we had plans after Christmas, we looked to early January for a late visit to the show. We were not disappointed!

Even though they look a bit nervous sitting on this butterfly....

R and I both had cameras that night. His pictures are much better, because he had a tripod and wasn't running. I had the camera looped around my hand, running after RJ2, who was pulling CJ by the arm to go fast everywhere! There was so much to see. I knew we would end up making a couple loops around things, just to try and catch a better view.

We started out in the Conservatory. This is the left arm of the beautiful glass domed structure.

That's a view of the right arm stretching straight toward the camera--across the pond.

Inside, there were all kinds of light strings. Not what you'd find on your indoor Christmas tree or outside bush. The pink flowers that this butterfly is sitting on were actually all lights on branches. (Take note, Grandma!) There was a stunning tree where the gardens would usually feature tropical plants and trees. A wall full of lighted snow (see at top of post) came down over a very cool train display, with some very rapidly moving cars! (I'm sure if I try to post that video of RJ2 and the train that Blogger will be mad at me. Another time....)

How about this lighted Christmas ball?

This is the "LOVE" sign. I think it's sponsored by the Virginia Board of Tourism. The idea was to stand in the letters and take a picture of your family to post on Facebook. We didn't think that was feasible, so we hung out in the pavilions that you see in the background.


A hummingbird, checking out some flowers, and a frog whose extended tongue has just caught a fly. The lights on the tongue go out and come back on--so fun!

Just a gorgeous peacock!

A multi-colored dragon fly, and a girl on a swing, who looks very familiar....

The children's area has been expanded in recent years to include a tree house with many ramps and a small fountain park for kids to run through and cool off in the summer. The gardens has a big emphasis on education and garden activities for kids. No surprise that they had a garden planted and growing in January!

Cool watermelon!

Enjoying a rest in the tree house rockers....

How about these lighted stars, Grandpa?

Fun to see these two photos back to back. The stick sculpture palace that was created by a visiting artist was dressed with some a special gelled light that made its branches sparkle!

There was a campfire going that night, and someone was heating up marshmallows for s'mores. It was more for effect the night we went, since it was pretty unseasonably warm. So has been the season here in Central VA!

So much to see. Hold tight; here we go.......!!!!


Time for ring around the rosie!

 And I really should stop and chat with these kids!

C'mon, RJ2, let's run through the maze. AAAAAAaaaaa.....!!!!

We may not have seen everything, but we sure saw a lot. And even though the lights will be down by the next time we go back. I think we see just a few crocuses! Until next time....

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And CJ provides the postscript, with "Gardenfest of Lights" Mash Up! (Or, I'm ready for Photoshop....)

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