Chihuly in the Dark, All Lit Up

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix springs a light show every winter, starting at the end of November. The garden lights 7,000 luminarias on every pathway and on the roof off the buildings. That alone would be breathtaking. This year, they added the glass art of Dale Chihuly, making the tour a nighttime must-see.

Chihuly sculputre at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Chihuly sculputre at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

The organic glass sculptures look like otherworldly desert plants. Some are tall and sinuous, others looks like glowing rocks in a reed garden.

The tall, dark red reed-like structures create a cathedral. The cactus and desert trees around them look like Gothic arches. But when I moved just slightly, the same image changed to a smoke and fiery hell of red embers and incense smoke.

The paths wind through the darkened gardens lighting the trees from below and washing the paths in a soft, sandy glow. Music is stationed around the grounds, and you can drift from Native American flute music to folk guitar to big band. There

Chihuly scultpure installation

Chihuly scultpure installation

are also wine-tasting bars and coffee stations. You can walk and listen and be swept away by the plants, the lighting, the glass and the food. It is an amazing evening you shouldn’t miss.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach.

Chihuly installation in long exposure

Chihuly installation in long exposure

Luminarias and tree lights

Luminarias and tree lights