Do You Find Something New Each Time You Visit?
by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Dominion GardenFest of Lights reopens today after our holiday break. I thought it this might be a good chance to remind you that if you come back to GardenFest for more than visit even in the same year you are likely to see something different that you didn’t see the first time. Take this photo by visitor Harlow Chandler for example. I had never seen this view of the lake at GardenFest before. I’ve walked through the show more than a handful of times, and yet I had no idea that if you view the lights from this angle — the North End of Lake Sydnor — they all have an orange glow to them. That’s one reason I love looking at all the photos that come in via our Instagram contest. Sometimes folks visit GardenFest and they don’t realize how much there is to see. We don’t want you to miss anything! To get the full experience of the show, you need to make sure you see both the indoor exhibits and the outdoor displays. Indoors, in the Conservatory, don’t miss the night-blooming (and fragrant) orchids, the storybook display in the West Wing, the shooting star hydrangea tree in the Round House, the Conservatory Tree, and train and Richmond landmarks in miniature in the North Wing. In the Kelly Education Center you don’t want to miss the trains, and all the exhibits in the Lora Robins Library, including doll houses, cycling history exhibits, decorations and the lovely tree that is a tribute to the Garden’s 30th Anniversary. I’m sure there something I’m missing! Feel free to add it to the comments. See what I mean? There’s so much to see.
Key features you don’t want to miss outdoors are also nearly too many to list. You can always get a GardenFest Map, available digitally or at the Admissions Desk in the Visitor Center and use it as a check list — unless you consider that cheating. Here are a few of my favorites: Climbing the CWD Kids Tree house to see the view from the top (don’t worry, it’s not really a climbing thing, it’s accessible to all) is worth it every time. And you must find the peacock, see the John Meola bike tree sculpture, and race your friends and family in the light maze. Never again may you get to see lighted bicycles hanging from a ginkgo tree, so don’t miss a that one! Plus there are new features like walking all the way around Lake Sydnor on the Cherry Tree Walk. Also, don’t miss the Man in the Moon photo op for wacky photos of your family and friends. I know a few people who would say kissing in the Grace Arents Garden gazebo or in front of the Conservatory Tree is their tradition. I think I need to ask the volunteers up there how many times they take photos of people kissing in front of that tree! What’s on your list of what not to miss at GardenFest?