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‘Enchanted’ Light Show Shines at Descanso Gardens
By Stacy Lee

Descanso Gardens has debuted its original, holiday interactive light show that features eight unique experiences along a one-mile stroll.

“Enchanted: Forest of Light” opened to the public on Nov. 25 at the La Cañada Flintridge botanic gardens and will run daily through Jan. 8, 2017 between the hours of 5-10 p.m.

“Nature takes center stage in ‘Enchanted: Forest of Light’!” said Juliann Rooke, chief operations officer for Descanso Gardens.

“‘Enchanted: Forest of Light’ will be the first light show of its kind on the West Coast. We are excited for Los Angeles to see Descanso in a new light.”

Visitors can view some of Descanso Gardens’ most notable sites illuminated with state-of-the-art light installations by the company, Lightswitch.

“It’s seasonal, beautiful lighting with lots of interaction,” said Rachel Young, Descanso Gardens director of horticulture and garden operations. “The grounds themselves are really featured in the displays.”

The enchantment begins with the first station, Flower Power, which contains thousands of tulip-shaped lights that is a tribute to Descanso’s well-known spring tulip display.

“Every year we plant 20,000 living tulips for the spring,” Young said, explaining that the one-of-a-kind installation is an impression of that.

Next at Rainbow Sycamores, Descanso Gardens’ towering Sycamore trees are aglow with colorful lights that guests can operate by way of columns.

“It’s an interactive exhibit where you can change the colors and tones of the lights by touching the poles,” Young said.

Lightwave Lake utilizes the botanic garden’s lake to create a dazzling light display that visitors also can adjust with nearby controls.

“It’s shows off our lake habitat and there’s also some really amazing light installations that are interactive,” Young said. “They are supposed to echo some of the plants that exist in the water area.”

Another interactive installation follows with Symphony of Oaks where guests can control not only the lights, but also the music in the Oak Grove.

“This is a spot in garden that we use often for events, but also it’s really a representation of Descanso’s oak trees,” Young said. “That’s why this is called ‘Symphony of Oaks.’ This exhibit is an interactive exhibit of both sound and light. It’s really gorgeous and just a beautiful canopy. Families and kids of all ages can interact with the exhibit and change it.”

Descanso Gardens’ famous camellias are highlighted in shades of blue and red next in the Fantasy Forest display. In addition to the more than 600 varieties of camellias, lighted chandeliers add to the scene.

“It feels like you’re in another world,” Young said, noting that it was one of her favorite exhibits of Enchanted.

Luminous Lawn showcases the interactive sculpture, Pool, by artist Jen Lewin, in which visitors can change the colors of lighted pads by walking on them.

Young said she’s seen people of all ages, from an 82-year-old to a 2-year-old, enjoying the lily pad-like lights during day and night.

“The Ancient Forest is a new garden that we added just a year-and-a-half ago,” Young said. “That garden features plants that existed during the dinosaur era. As you walk through, you’ll see redwood trees and cycads lit up.”

For the final station, The Garden of Good Fortune, the Japanese Garden is decorated with hundreds of glowing red lanterns. Descanso Gardens celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japanese Garden this year.

There are plenty of special holiday treats available at Enchanted. Patina Restaurant Group will have food and beverage options, such as glow-in-the-dark cotton candy and hot chocolate. Visitors also will be able to dine at the new Maple restaurant, which will be open for dinner daily and for brunch on weekends from Nov. 25-Jan. 8.

The menu, specially-designed for the holiday spectacular, features items such as Winter Squash Salad, the Enchanted Burger, Partridge Pot Pie and Cinderella Pumpkin Pie. Diners must have tickets to Enchanted and have to make reservations by calling 818-864-6435.

Enchanted will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for senior citizens and children ages 3-17 and free for children age 3 and younger.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit enchantedla.com or call 818-949-4200.