Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s ‘Lightscape’ lights up the holiday season

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden just got that much more magical. That is because “Lightscape,” a new interactive, after-dark light exhibit has just opened up in the Garden’s grounds on Nov. 19, 2021through Jan. 9, 2022.

“It’s like a Paris you’re the city of light but tonight Brooklyn is the city of lights and will be the city of light from now till Jan. 9,” Adrian Benepe, the president of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, said in an article from News 12 The Bronx.

“Lightscape” features more than a million lights — 60,000 small pea lights, 14,000 glowing orbs of lights, 630 lighting fixtures, 600 strands of lights and 60 Go Between Optics to make shapes and designs out of the lights.

A walk along the exhibit’s mile-long trail takes visitors through the entire garden, from the main entrance, past the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the concessions area, through the Cherry Esplanade, up the Robert W. Wilson Overlook and out the exit.

Each step of the way passes lights of all kinds — bright, soft, warm, flickering, colored and curated music and sounds. From the entrance, there are colored lights highlighting trees along the path.

Certain stops along the way have installations, like the “Fire Garden,” a structure with tin cans hanging off of it, each with a lit candle inside. This installation was created by Ashley Bertling and features its very own Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff member accompanied with three large fire extinguishers.

Another installation are the “12 Pampas”, tall grass-like structures that light up from root to leafy end. There is also the “Laser Pond,” where the Garden’s pond is outfitted with moving and color changing lights, illuminating the Japanese torii gate standing in the water.

The first installation visitors can stop by is a light tree with glow-in-the-dark board hanging from it like ornaments. By using a cell phone flashlight, visitors can draw on the boards. When the light is pulled away, a yellow-green drawing is left on the board for a few seconds before fading away and becoming ready for use again.

One of the main attractions, though, is the 98-foot long “Winter Cathedral Tunnel,” essentially a tunnel of light created by Mandylights. The front end of the tunnel is shaped like a classic Gothic cathedral arch, becoming more tapered as visitors reach the other end.

The tunnel includes tens of thousands of string lights in the shape of small petaled flowers. Inside it, visitors will have a blinding experience that can even cause their eyes to strobe, but it isa great place for photos.

Along the way to the tunnel, explorers pass by some white and red flowers that stand more than 6 feet tall and light up from where the pollen center should be.

Also along the route are two concession stands. The first offers some food options like chicken fingers and soup, though the most popular product seems to be the hot chocolate and candy cane hot chocolate, which comes with spiked options.

The second stand focuses on its do-it-yourself s’mores station where customers can roast their own marshmallows over a fire.

The last big attraction of the exhibit is the “Sea of Light by Ithaca.” This installation consists of hundreds of balls of light placed strategically over the entire lawn of the Cherry Esplanade that turn on and off and change color in a synchronized way to music.

This installation creates beautiful scenes of rolling, dancing, bouncing and crashing lights. After viewing it from the head of the esplanade, visitors walk along the path on the left-hand side, through the covering of trees.

It can be observed that couples choose to sit on the benches along this path and cuddle while watching the lights dance from the side and listening to the music.

At the end of the tree-lined path is the Robert W. Wilson Overlook, which quite literally overlooks the whole esplanade. It gives a stunning view of the “Sea of Light” and sets the visitor on their way to the Garden’s exit.

Scattered throughout the exhibit are quotes from five new Jacquelyn Woodson poems projected in light against the ground or bushes. All relate to the subject of light, water or nature.

Regular admission tickets for non-members are $34 for adults and $18 for children ages three through 12. More information can be found online at