Atlanta Botanical Garden Celebrates Holidays With Thousands Of Lights

Atlanta Botanical Garden's "Earth Goddess" was transformed into the "Goddess of Ice" for the "Garden Lights, Holiday Nights" show.
Atlanta Botanical Garden’s “Earth Goddess” was transformed into the “Goddess of Ice” for the “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” show. Photo by Virginie Kippelen.

A massive curtain of cascading lights surrounded visitors as they walked across a winding bridge. Some paused to watch the bulbs change colors to a gentle crescendo of music as they illuminated the dark sky.

“Nature’s Wonders” is the newest addition to Atlanta Botanical Garden’s seventh annual “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” show, which debuted for members Nov. 9. “Nature’s Wonders” is supposedly one of the tallest structures of synchronized hanging lights in the country and is made up of more than 1,000 strands measuring 16 to 64 feet long, according to a press release.

“Our lighting people work with places all over the country,” said Atlanta Botanical Garden CEO Mary Pat Matheson. “And they say, ‘No one’s ever done this.'”

Matheson believes “Nature’s Wonders” is going to be a big hit this year, and she is expecting around 170,000 visitors to come see “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” by the end of the year. Last year, she said around 158,000 people came to see the lights.

Find More Outdoor Holiday Events In The Atlanta Festivals Guide >

Another interesting display was hidden inside the garden’s conservatory. Visitors walked through the “Radiant Rainforest,” which was dark but had small green lights shinning on the plants.

“It feels like (the movie) ‘Avatar,'” Matheson said.

The rest of the show featured other displays including the “Ice Goddess,” “Glittering Galaxy” and “Orchestral Orbs.” Carolers sang Christmas tunes, and families roasted marshmallows together at the “Twinkling Terrace.”

The colorful "Orchestral Orbs" sit outside of Atlanta Botanical Garden's conservatory, where the "Radiant Rainforest" can be found inside. Photo by Virginie Kippelen.
The colorful “Orchestral Orbs” sit outside of Atlanta Botanical Garden’s conservatory, where the “Radiant Rainforest” can be found inside. Photo by Virginie Kippelen.

“This has been amazing,” said Kristina Dowling, who brought her family from Covington, Ga., to see the lights Nov. 9. “We love the music. It just feels beautiful. I thought it was going to be too early to look at lights, but now it’s just great.”

“What do you think would be your first impression of it?” she said, turning to her son, Aaron.

“Tons of lights,” he said. “The lights are unique, like not the normal lights you can buy at the Christmas store.”

More than 1,000 strings of lights hang over the Storza Woods bridge at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo by Virginie Kippelen.
More than 1,000 strings of lights hang over the Storza Woods bridge at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo by Virginie Kippelen.

This was the first year that the Dowlings came to the holiday lights show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. They said the “Nature’s Wonders” display was one of their favorites out of everything they had seen so far, as they made their way to the “Tunnel of Lights” to continue their self-guided tour through the garden.

“Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” is open to both members and non-members nightly from Nov. 11 through Jan. 7, 2018. The show lasts from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. those nights.

Matheson, Atlanta Botanical Garden’s CEO, said that this is a “community-building event.” There’s a “Glow Bar” with music for the adults and a display of model trains for the kids to enjoy.

Regular admission tickets are $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children.

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