Buffalo News - January 28, 2014

Posted on January 28, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens bring back interactive Night Lights event

Buffalo News - January 28, 2014
by: Mark Sommer

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens bring back Night Lights event for its fourth year, offering ‘kid-interactive fun family’ programs and a chance to escape ‘crazy-cold weather’

It’s an especially good time to be at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens – and for the not-for-profit that operates the century-old, tri-domed Victorian glass house located on the edge of South Park.

Beginning Wednesday, Night Lights at the Gardens – with its trademark multicolored theatrical and interactive lighting, including lasers, enhanced sound and added animation – will soothingly transform the Botanical Gardens for a fourth successive year.“I’m really looking forward to seeing all the kids again. Last year, we really had an outrageous amount of kids, and they love it,” said Erin Grajek, Botanical Gardens’ marketing director. “We’ve amped up the kid-interactive fun family stuff, because it really is a great place to bring families in this crazy-cold weather.”Dazzling and ever-changing shards of colorful lights in the main Palm Room were seen during the event’s setup projecting onto yarey, royal and Sliver Bismarckia palms, or dancing along the 67-foot-high dome.

A nearby female form – constructed from chicken wire, packing tape and a table cloth – was also manipulated with colorful lasers.Interactive, colorful lights lent a new way to experience the Fern House and Tropical Rainforest’s 30-foot waterfall, rainbow-lit bridge and dinosaur topiary, adding another contemporary presentation to the Lord & Burnham-designed conservatory. In House 11, the number of red-and-green butterflies that fill up the small space is being doubled to 8,000.The work is the result of a collaboration between Doug Sittler of Sittler HQ and Steve French of Volt Vision.The most prominent addition this year – that’s sure to be a hit with kids – is what Francis called “a primitive version of motion capture,” allowing a person’s movements in front of a projection screen to be mimicked by an animated fern and Venus fly trap.

The annual Night Lights at the Gardens is one of the site’s most popular events. Total attendance the past two years has gone above 90,000.“Last year was spectacular in so many different ways. Just about every event we had exceeded expectations,” said David J. Swarts, the Botanical Gardens’ president and chief executive officer.The Panama House and outdoor Children’s Garden were redone. A Native Garden was installed, and a gazebo constructed.

The children’s education programs also blossomed, with 12,500 participants last year, the most ever, Swarts said.A horticulture certificate program begun in late 2012 and carried through 2013 helped return the Botanical Gardens to its mission as the region’s “horticulture hub,” he said, with 20 classes averaging more than 30 participants.Other events in February include “Kids Day at the Gardens” on Feb. 19, and the Orchid Show Feb. 22 and 23.

Despite the intense cold that’s draped the region, Swarts is hopeful the light show in the warm confines of the Botanical Gardens will make it a go-to destination the next three weeks.“I keep saying that as long as it doesn’t snow heavily, people are going to want to be here because it’s like being in Florida without buying an airline ticket,” Swarts said.

Night Lights at the Gardens will run Wednesday to Saturday evenings until Feb. 15. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. weekdays, and 6 to 10 p.m. on weekends.There will also be musical entertainment and fire exhibitions on some nights. For more information, go to


Posted on January 22, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is happy to support, the online gardening magazine for Western New York.

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NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens

Posted on January 20, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2014
Contact: Erin Grajek
716.827.1584 ext. 204

The Illuminating “NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens” Returns to the Botanical Gardens
for a Three-Week Run in February, Highlighted by a Launch Party!

Buffalo, NY - NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens is a unique light show that will make its dazzling return to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens over a three week span starting January 29. This creative show uses innovative lighting and interactive entertainment to transform the Gardens’ historic architecture and amazing horticulture collection. To kick off the fun a Launch Party is planned for January 28 from 6:00-9:00 pm.

NIGHT LIGHTS Launch Party, presented by Buffalo Spree Magazine, will flip the switch on NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens 2014 on January 28 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Be the first to see the Botanical Gardens light up after dark with really cool people in a colorful and captivating environment. Tickets include a cash bar of beer and wine, delicious snacks from Lucarelli’s Banquet Center and a sneak preview of NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens! Tickets are $15 and are available at or by calling 716.783.9119 ext. 2202. The Launch Party is sponsored by: Buffalo Spree Magazine, Lucarelli’s Banquet Center, Local Edge, Star 102.5, Backyard Party Supply, Merritt Winery, Seagram’s Escapes and Dundee Ale & Lager.

At NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens visitors walk through the Gardens’ that will be transformed with lights, sounds, interactive fun, art and performance. The ever-changing lights and sounds highlight the Gardens’ iconic conservatory and horticulture collection creating a simply unique atmosphere. This year, guests can expect to see new interactive features, lighting designs, lasers, video projections and enhanced sound systems.

Western New York entertainers and musicians will once again play a vital role in adding to the creativity of the show. Musical entertainment includes; SlyBoots on January 30, Sunny Baker on February 1, The Observers on Feb 7, Amanda Barton & Bill Ward on February 8 and Randle and the Late Night Scandals on February 14. An amazing fire performance will be put on by Spun Out Fire on February 1, 8 and 15 on the front lawn of the Gardens. Musical entertainment is included with tickets to NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens and will run 7:30-8:30pm with standing room only. Spun Out Fire will start around 7pm and will perform for about two hours outside, in front of the Gardens.

NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens will take place on Wednesday through Saturday nights January 29 through February 15, 2014. Show hours will be 6:00-9:00 pm and will stay open until 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Doors open at 6:00 pm each night and admission is $10 for adults, $8 for Garden members, seniors (55+) and students (13+), $5 kids 3-12 and kids under 3 are free. Tickets are available at the door and online at until January 29. Garden Guest passes, discounts and coupons are not valid during NIGHT LIGHTS. Cameras and mono pods are welcome every night however, tripods are not permitted. Photographer Night on February 4 form 6:00-9:00 pm welcomes professional and amateur photographers only and tripods will be permitted on this night only! NIGHT LIGHTS at the Gardens is sponsored by: Buffalo Spree Magazine, Local Edge, Star 102.5 and Backyard Party Supply.

The lighting designers are SitlerHQ, LLC and Volt Vision, Inc. who own and operate the successful eco-tourism attraction NIGHT LIGHTS at The Heron in Chautauqua County. NIGHT LIGHTS at The Heron is a one-mile walk in the woods at night through a lighted trail and is considered to be one of North America’s most unique tourism attractions.

For more information visit the Gardens’ website at Partial proceeds benefit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc. a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing appreciation for and knowledge of plant life and its connection to people and cultures through its documented living plant collection, historic conservatory, education, research and exhibits.



Poinsettia Show Preview

Posted on December 13, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Check out our Poinsettia Show... going on now!




Buffalo is represented in book on garden tourism

Posted on November 01, 2013 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Article from Buffalo Niagara - October 29, 2013

The first ever book on garden tourism was published earlier this year, and Buffalo is represented.

Jim Charlier, author of the blog Art of Gardening, gives us the details in this post. Charlier is seven-time past president of Garden Walk Buffalo as well as the current chair of its  marketing committee. He is a co-founder of the National Garden Festival and is on its planning committee.

Garden Tourism was written by Dr. Richard W. Benfield, associate professor of Geography at Central Connecticut State University. It’s an academic book covering the history of garden tourism starting in Egypt around 1,500 B.C.

In a 240-page book that covers so much geographic territory and such a huge time span, I’m impressed that the events in Buffalo in the past few decades are given a page and a half.

There’s also a photo of the garden of Jennifer Guercio. Here at, she offered 4 big tips for creating a garden with year-round interest.

In the Garden Tourism chapter titled “Outdoor Garden Festivals,” there is a brief introduction on the origins of Garden Walk Buffalo as well as its byproduct, the National Garden Festival, Charlier said.

“There are stats and research data we’ve collected over the years from Zip Code collection and consumer surveys with the help and financial support of Visit Buffalo Niagara,” Charlier said. Statistics from the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens were also used.

Benfield also mentioned Charlier in the preface, writing, “Jim Charlier of Garden Walk Buffalo started out as a source of great knowledge and insight and became a firm friend.” Charlier wrote an endorsement for the back of the book.

It’s estimated that more than 300 million people visited gardens worldwide in 2000. Compare that to the 335 million people that visited amusement parks in 2007, he said.

Total revenues for admittance to garden attractions has never been measured, but it is known that Americans spent $34 billion on plants, tools and supplies in 2005 – $11 billion in flowers alone! U.S. amusement park revenues were only $12 billion in 2007, and casinos had revenue of $35 billion in 2005.

Gardening is a dominant leisure activity, Charlier pointed out. Tourism is the world’s number one industry. And garden tourism is a significant part of it.

Read more at Art of Gardening.


by Connie Oswald Stofko

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