By: Christina Chastain
The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced a new evening light show experience that will be open into the fall.
Garden Party Lights will be open Thursdays through Sundays, starting July 5 for members and July 6 for the general public, through Oct. 19. The doors open at 6 p.m. for food, drinks, and admiring the gardens. At dusk, take a self-guided stroll through more than a mile of paths and take in a light show that includes interactive lighting, projection mapping and laser show installations.
Last summer, the Missouri Botanical Garden invested about $2 million for its illuminated nighttime experience Flora Borealis. They bought projection and lighting equipment for Flora Borealis and worked with AVI Systems and Theatrical Concepts Inc. for this year’s event.
Garden Party Lights will be a mix of elements from past night displays, with rotating projections on Tower Grove House and a laser light show in the Cohen Amphitheater. There will no longer be a voice narration and the paths will be more free-flowing.
Beginning at dusk each night, Flora Borealis visitors will embark on a journey through iconic Garden locations transformed through a combination of lights, moving images, and sounds that bring the Garden to life like never before.
“It’s very special,” said Katie O’Sullivan, Missouri Botanical Garden’s Chief Communications Officer. “We have a laser show, projection mapping, all sorts of lighting and interactive elements, and people just get to stroll the Garden at night. Usually, we’re closed right at 5 p.m., but especially in the St. Louis summers, you want to be here when the sun goes down.”
When the sun goes down at the Missouri Botanical Garden during Flora Borealis, the magic – or science – happens, thanks to AVI Systems, a St. Louis audiovisual design company.
“This has been about two years in the making,” said Mark Shaffer, Project Manager at AVI Systems. “We’ve had a hand in this project from start to finish. The Garden gave us an overall idea and we just kind of ran with it, with helping out with the script, to the audiovisual components as well.”
But, the science is flawlessly forgotten as you walk through the Garden, as you are immersed in a story line that beats with the lightshows and rhythmic tunes.
“With the script, the underlying story throughout Flora Borealis, which is narrated by a 200-year-old water lily planted by Henry Shaw himself, is to remind people about the role that plants play in their lives, and also how people can affect plants, positively and negatively by their actions,” said O’Sullivan. “At the end of the walk, people can reflect on what they’re doing now to affect our environment, and what changes they can make going forward.”
As you exit Flora Borealis and reflect on the world around you, visit the Biergarden on your way out – or in – to enjoy crafted cocktails and snacks, as well as family-friendly activities, along with live entertainment on select nights.
Also, don’t miss Family Fun night on Mondays in July for backyard games, coloring activities, and glow-in-the-dark face painting. Plus, don’t miss Star Gazing with the Astronomical Society on select nights.
For special nights at Flora Borealis, and for more information, go to http://events.missouribotanicalgarden.org/flora.