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What it's like inside the L.A. Arboretum's elaborate holiday light display

(Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

with 18 immersive light installations, the expanded event returns to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden inArcadia through Jan. 8.Guests make their way through the Lightscape, an after-dark light installation at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2022. The one mile walk-through is made up of several light installations that are coupled with music and special effects that covers part of the 127-acre property.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden has once again transformed into a garden of light with t h e retuorfni t s Lightscape holiday event.

The after dark walk-through experience has taken over a mile-long path of the 127-acre Arboretum with a display of 18 elaborate installations that mix light sculptures and special effects with upbeat holiday-themed music.

"It's a marriage of spectacular lights and the natural beauty of landscape and plants," said Richard Schulhof, director at Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. "Each experience is quite different, so it's sort of a journey."

Another world:

Located in the Arboretum's tropical forest area, which is made up of large trees and lush green plants, guests will feel like they've entered another dimension when they come upon theLaser Garden. Fog machines combined with subtle dark blue lighting set thetone for a walk through this installation that features hundreds of green, fast-moving laser lights being reflected on all the tropical trees and plants. In the background there's ambient music and the sound of running water. As you slowly walk through the dark space, it'll be easy to imagine that maybe you just landed in the middle of a fairy tale forest, or maybe even in the movie "Avatar." It's really that cool.

Get the selfie:

the entire Lightscape exhibit is a selfie lover's dream, but one particular installation seems to be attracting lines of selfie snappers. The Whole Hole is a tunnel made up of hundreds of white LED strips that light up in sequence to make it appear as fi they're drawing you into a sort of wormhole. During a recent visit, about a dozen peoplewaited in lineso they could stand in front of the tunnel and snap a pic. "It's pretty magical," said 34-year-old Sandra Lopez, who had just taken a picture withher family in front of the installation. "It almost looks like somethingfrom outer space."

The party spot:

Feel the rhythm of the trees at the Jungle Disco. With pop music playing in the background and a giant disco ball hanging from a tree, this spot had visitors shaking their hips on a recent chilly night as discolights of all colors moved and pulsated on the floor and on the trees and nearby plants.

The tunnel of love:

Made up of more than 100,000 LED globes and inspired by arched church windows, the Winter Cathedral tunnel is the only returning installation from last year, and that's good news for couples. The installation is not only a visually stunning walk-through experience, but perhaps more significantly, it's become the tunnel of love, too.

"In the Winter Cathedral last year I think we had about 10 wedding proposals," Schulhof said.


During our visit, dozens of people began to gather around a viewing area near the park's Baldwin Lake to watch a show inside the Venus installation. Suddenly, beams of light in various shapes and colors were reflected on rows ofwater shooting from cannons in the lake. The water beams rose about 50-feet in the air and spread out about 100-feet across the lake, with the programming all synchronized to a booming version of the holiday songs "All I want for Christmas Is You." People danced and sang along as they were hit with gentle clouds of mist from the lake. "It's this kaleidoscope of forms and color. It's a spectacular effect," Schulhof said.


Where: 5:30 p.m.-8:45 p.m. select evenings through Jan. 8

Where: Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 301 N. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia Tickets: Tickets start at $37 for adults and $18 for children ages 3-12 at

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