This special showcase of Asian works of art will be leaving soon. Come experience the colorful lantern and light displays.
LanternAsia is a special exhibit that has taken over the Norfolk Botanical Garden this spring. I love attending local events, and this one is definitely worth the cost of admission. LanternAsia has traveled all over the world, and this is its first appearance in Virginia. Stemming from the lantern traditions of eastern Asia, each structure displays something unique and beautiful. Some lanterns display folklore while others reflect a respect for nature and wildlife. When you hear the word lantern, you may be thinking of a small, pumpkin sized light fixture. But these lanterns are epic. Some as tall as four stories or as long as five school buses.
My own experience at LanternAsia was one I’ll never forget. Since the motto was “Art by Day, Magic by Night,” I decided to come early so I could experience the exhibit during the day and at night.
Art by Day…
I have had the pleasure of exploring the Norfolk Botanical Garden before, but LanternAsia has transformed the gardens, and splashed it with vibrant and colorful displays. Everything has aligned itself with the Asian theme, from the lanterns hanging in the trees as I drove in, to the Asian artifacts in the visitor’s center where I got my ticket.
My daytime experience was very different than my night experience. Since most people know that the lanterns are brilliant when lit, there were no crowds when I arrived. I had the freedom to roam and not be jostled. There were also tram rides available so that guests can hear guided descriptions of all the displays. I chose to wander the paths with my boyfriend. The gorgeous, blooming trees were a perfect backdrop to the vivid displays.
There were two standouts to my daytime experience. The White Pagoda was constructed by using over 1,000,000 pieces of porcelain strung individually together by craftsman. It was amazing to see the structure as a whole, but it was incredible to realize that each square-foot contains plates, cups and saucers adding perfectly to the whole design.
The Kylin in Delight is unlike any other lantern. Instead of being made of silk or paper, these dragon-like creatures are constructed using clear bottles filled with colored liquid. The intricate designs used to create it resembled gem settings in a piece of jewelry.
Magic by Night…
As the sun began to set, the lights within each of the exquisite lanterns turned on. I could hardly wait for the daylight to leave so that I could see everything all lit up. The evening experience was definitely busier, the crowds being drawn to the magical experience. As it got darker, the lantern displays took on a new life. Every inch of the garden took on a magical glow. Some of the displays that I thought were unimpressive during the day, left me speechless with their beauty at night.
The Chinese Dragon, the longest display, looked like a fiery beast roaming the garden. The Taj Mahal glowed and seemed to float in the dark. And the lights of the White Pagoda changed colors periodically from blue to purple to green.
Make sure to experience LanternAsia now!
Norfolk Botanical Garden
6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, VA
Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
To read more about the Norfolk Botanical Garden, CLICK HERE.