New York’s Botanical Gardens Shine Bright This Holiday Season

Rise of the Stars at Astra Lumina - Photo courtesy of Moment Factory
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Story by Jeff and Stephanie Sylva

Light up your nights this holiday season by experiencing two of New York City’s botanical gardens’ nighttime light shows. Queens Botanical Garden is presenting Astra Lumina, Moment Factory’s latest edition of its awe-inspiring nighttime experience series. And in the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden is presenting its fourth edition of NYBG Glow, the Garden’s outdoor holiday light experience.

Astra Lumina

The Queens Botanical Garden has been transformed into an immersive outdoor, multimedia enchanted world that stimulates the imagination. Reflecting the astral theme of a visit from the stars, Moment Factory has created an awesome multi-media experience through projections, lighting, and music. Guests are guided on an illuminated nature pathway through the garden’s groves of trees and botanical installations to encounter nine wondrous light displays and projections, all synchronized to perfect mood-setting music.

Astra Archway at Astra Lumina – Photo courtesy of Moment Factory

Our walk through the installations was magical – a seemingly other-worldly experience. Take a few minutes at each installation to fully immerse yourself in the wondrous colors and soothing music to let yourself escape to a celestial multimedia wonderland. On the night we visited Astra Lumina, afull moon cast a wondrous luminosity over the exhibit, and the low-flying planes heading for JFK Airport added to the almost surreal landscape.   

Falling Stars at Astra Lumina – Photo courtesy of Moment Factory

Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 52,500 unique projects worldwide, including the Lumina Night Walk series. Astra Lumina at Queens Botanical Garden is the 19th experience in the Lumina Enchanted Night Walk series. Experiences are currently available in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Gatlinburg, in addition to NY.

Astra Lumina is the Queens Botanical Garden’s first installment of this kind. And according to Executive Director Evie Hantzopoulos, the Garden’s search committee were painstakingly thorough in its search and ultimate decision to include such an installation. We think they made the right choice.

Stardust Rays at Astra Lumina – Photo courtesy of Moment Factory

A third partner in this venture is Fever, the leading global live entertainment discovery platform which has helped millions of people discover the best experiences in their cities since 2014. Fever inspires users to enjoy unique local experiences and events, from immersive exhibitions, interactive theatrical experiences, festivals, and more.

Astra Lumina at the Queens Botanical Garden is located in Flushing at 42-80 Crommelin St., Queens, NY.Opening times are 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm, now through January 1, 2024. For tickets visit http://www.astralumina.com/new-york.

NYBG Glow

New York’s other spectacular light experience is going on over in the Bronx, at the New York Botanical Garden. On select nights, visitors of all ages can enjoy both NYBG GLOW, the Garden’s outdoor holiday light experience now back for its fourth year,and the Holiday Train Show. Iconic gardens and historic buildings become dramatic, glittering canvases. Thousands of dazzling, energy-efficient choreographed lights and sound, and picture-perfect installations, create a brilliant light spectacle. Tickets for NYBG Glow alsoinclude the Holiday Train Show.

Twinkling Topiaries – NYBG Glow – Photo courtesy of NYBG

NYBG’s Holiday Train Show, now in its 32nd year, returns with more trains and an all-new, outdoor train display. Start on the lawn to capture your perfect holiday photos at the outdoor mountainscapes and then watch trains zip past nearly 200 iconic New York landmarks under the warmth of the Conservatory. 

The Holiday Train Show outdoor expansion during NYBG Glow – Photo courtesy of NYBG

Grab drinks and light bites available for purchase at one of NYBG’s outdoor bars or the Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up, and make the most of these nights out. And don’t miss the return of fan-favorite Bar Car Nights, 21-and-over evenings featuring curated cocktails. These special evenings feature music, experiences, food, and more. Visit the NYBG website for a list of the visiting vendors and dates for the Bronx Night Market Pop-Up events and the dates for Bar Car Nights.

Glittering Gazebo – NYBG Glow – Photo courtesy of NYBG

NYBG Glow, which includes the Holiday Train Show, is available on select nights now through January 13. For tickets or more information, visit www.nygb.org.

About Jeff and Stephanie Sylva 6 Articles
Jeff and Stephanie Sylva are retired English/Journalism and Social Studies high school teachers who have been freelance travel writers for over 34 years. They live in Bergen County, New Jersey and had a monthly travel column with the North Jersey Newspapers for 15 years. In recent years they have had articles published with New York Lifestyles Magazine, Gallagher’s Travels, Hospitality 21, JustSayGo, Family Travel Network, Family Travel Forum, Travellady, The Parent Paper, Bergen County: The Magazine, The Asbury Park Press, Bergen County Kids Magazine and Family Destinations. Jeff and Stephanie enjoy tennis, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing, and of course, traveling. Much of their writing reflects their love of the outdoors and their active lifestyles. Some of their favorite travel experiences include a hike on the Solheimajokull Glacier in Iceland, a trek across the Kilauea Iki Crater on the Big Island of Hawaii, and snorkeling with penguins and white-tipped reef sharks in the Galapagos Islands.

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