Enchanted: Forest of Light
Time Out says
Discovery and wonder abound across the 10 illuminated installations in Descanso Gardens’ holiday tradition.
The botanical garden’s nighttime experience masterfully mixes hands-on art installations with atmospheric, luminescent forests, all against a background of uplit trees and shimmery sound effects.
Enchanted is intuitively immersive: You can tap columns that change color according to your touch; spin a dizzying swirl of kaleidoscopic patterns with HYBYCOZO’s “Celestial Shadows” pendants; and stomp your way across Jen Lewin’s “Aqueous,” a serpentine Candyland-like path that changes colors as you meander along its winding walkway. And, true to its botanical garden location, most of the installations highlight the natural beauty of Descanso’s flora.
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This year, “Celestial Shadows” has been upgraded with even more shapes (last year saw the addition of a particulalrly mesmerizing disco-ball–like one) while sculptor Tom Fruin’s kaleidoscopic stained-glass–like house is anchored in the Mulberry Pond. The event has also added Enchanted with Entertainment evenings (Dec 6, 7, 13, 14) with student performances as well as ambient DJ sets on the main lawn. Also, note that the dates around Christmas are for members only this year (Dec 20–23, 26–28).
Some of last year’s chances stuck around: “Aqueous” if flanked with glowing benches around the perimeter. At “Lightwave Lake,” you can no longer control the swirl of colorful spotlights atop the foggy water, but there are far more stations to change the colors of the lighting on the trees (And bonus: There’s a bar right next to it, with an especially delicious spiked cider).
Elsewhere, “Enchanted” (delightedly) looks much like it has in the past: a field of faux tulips ripples with waves of twinkling color changes while the mist-filled “Ancient Forest” still beckons visitors with its straight-out-of-E.T. setting.
You’ll want to wear comfy shoes as it’s about a mile walk around “Enchanted.” The route is clearly marked and the grounds are mostly level, though some of the paths can get a little spongey if it’s rained recently. Make sure you bundle up before you go; average lows in La Cañada Flintridge this time of year can hover around the mid 40s and you’ll need at least an hour to explore all “Enchanted” has to offer.