Art

NightGarden Turns Fairchild Garden Into a Fairy Wonderland

It's a sea of orbs.
It's a sea of orbs. Courtesy of Kilburn Media
Lights, camera, selfie. A new immersive experience is coming to Miami, and this one is bound to give your photos that sought-after perfect lighting.

By day, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is your run-of-the-mill nature escape. There are trees, awe-inspiring views, and some cool plants. But this holiday season, all of that will change when the sun goes down. For six weeks, the botanical garden will be transformed into a three-dimensional, immersive outdoor art exhibition. It's called the NightGarden, and its creators promise this “illuminated wonderland” will be the next great “Instagrammable hotspot."

Orchestrated by entertainment company Kilburn Media, the nighttime spectacular is like something straight out of James Cameron’s Avatar. There’s a larger-than-life tree with a face carved into its trunk — and, yes, it talks. There are glowing, orb-shaped plants and even fairies. You’ll spend a lot of time walking around, looking up, and saying, “Whoa.”
click to enlarge This tree talks back. - COURTESY OF KILBURN MEDIA
This tree talks back.
Courtesy of Kilburn Media
What sets the NightGarden apart from other light festivals around the world, says Mark Manuel, CEO of Kilburn Media, are its unique interactive characters. “We have been looking for the right venue to do a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience,” he explains. “But it couldn’t be just any illuminated experience or any venue. We needed to create something no one has ever seen before in a location where no one would ever expect to experience it.”

The interactive event will span over 23 acres and include mind-bending visions of illuminated landscapes. Guests can expect mazes, tons of lights, and a multisensory flower installation, among other delights.
click to enlarge You've never seen Fairchild quite like this. - COURTESY OF KILBURN MEDIA
You've never seen Fairchild quite like this.
Courtesy of Kilburn Media
Although Manuel admits the NightGarden will certainly photograph nicely, he's hopeful the experience will transcend photo ops. “We hope the NightGarden becomes so much more than just social postings to our guests,” he says. “Aside from being beautiful, it is highly interactive and fully immersive. You can talk to trees, find the missing fairy sisters, walk through an illuminated maze, do a scavenger hunt, eat and drink with your friends and family.


“We genuinely hope that people can visit without their phones and truly lose themselves in the moment.”

NightGarden. 6 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from November 23 through January 6, 2019, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; 305-667-1651; fairchildgarden.org. Tickets cost $28 via thenightgarden.com.
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Carolina del Busto is a freelance writer for Miami New Times. She nurtured her love of words at Boston College before moving back home to Miami and has been covering arts and culture in the Magic City since 2013.