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Botanical Gardens to be bathed in light for annual Lumagination

Greenhouses 2 and 3 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens reopened to large crowds a couple of weekends ago after being closed for two years.

Now comes the color.

[Gallery: Lumagination]

Beginning Wednesday, the greenhouses' new exhibits – and everything else under the indoor nature attraction's three Victorian glass houses – will be bathed in multi-colored hues of orange, green, purple, blue and yellow. The seventh annual Lumagination once again takes over the Botanical Gardens, creating a light and sound experience that allows familiar surroundings to be seen in a new light.

"For the next several weeks, the two new exhibits are open, and it's a totally different experience," said Erin Grajek, the marketing director. "People can walk through the entire facility, and we haven't had that ability in two years."

Lanterns light up the dome for Lumagination at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Lumagination seeks a "light and sound immersion," said Philip Colarusso of Luminated Landscapes. This is his third year creating the show.

In the Palm Dome, colors dance across the glass surface or subtly highlight a lone plant as music tracks from Celtic and Italian to Arabic and polka are played. A large tea pot, referencing the new Asian exhibits, lets out a blast of fog sure to be a treat for kids.

In the new exhibits, Asian music and Chinese lanterns add a tranquil touch to the rare and exotic orchids, bamboos, palms and other plant species.

[Related: Tranquil new exhibits transform Botanical Gardens]

Students from the University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance's Design and Technology program also contributed a light and soundscape and front lawn lighting.

"This is another opportunity for people to come in, especially this year, to experience the gardens at night in Buffalo's winter," said David Swarts, president and CEO of the botanical gardens. "From the roadside, people looking at the gardens will want to come in, because it looks so spectacular."

Lumagination will run through Feb. 21. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 6 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, go to buffalogardens.com.

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