The biggest transformation of the year at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens doesn’t open to the public until Wednesday.
But those changes were already visible Monday, as the indoor nature attraction’s trees and plants were being bathed in dramatic, multi-colored laser lights. Fog machines created a misty quality inside the glowing majestic Palm Dome and greenhouses, joined by music and other atmospheric effects.
“We are not normally open in the evening, so this is an opportunity for people to come here and really experience how different it is at night,” said Erin Grajek, the Botanical Gardens’ marketing director. “She is a totally different garden at night.”
The annual light show, which runs 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 20, is in its sixth year, the second as “Lumagination,” created by lighting designer Phillip Colorusso of Luminated Landscapes. This year’s theme is “Transformation,” to celebrate Buffalo’s upswing.
Garden critters are represented with a long worm that changes colors and spider-like light images. A waterfall of light has been created in sapphire blue obscured by fog, while the “Infinite Bridge” offers the illusion of depth as panels people walk over also change colors.
Inside Greenhouse 5, numerous lanterns change colors intermittently, with Asian music playing in the background. It’s one of several sound tracks that convey moods from upbeat to meditative throughout the Botanical Gardens, which also include an instrumental version of “Danny Boy” by Eric Clapton.
Two greenhouses are under reconstruction, but that has meant more concentrated light in the available spaces.
“‘Lumagination’ gives people an alternative in the wintertime, by coming to a tropical paradise and experiencing something you normally wouldn’t,” Grajek said. “You’re going to be struck by all the different colors and textures, the beauty of nature and this architectural gem, with glass, plants, music and light all in one room.”
The Botanical Gardens’ Orchid Show is also on, and will run concurrently before closing at the end of February.