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‘Lumagination’ comes to Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens

Erin Grajek

on January 26, 2015 - 9:42 PM, updated January 26, 2015 at 9:57 PM

Aram Khachaturian’s “The Sabre Dance” song has been discontinued at Sabres games, but it can be heard at another public space for the next four weeks.

Beginning Wednesday, the rousing piece will be played in the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens’ main Palm Room, along with snippets of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, as a musical starting point for “Lumagination.”

Keyed to the music will be multicolored lights and a fog machine placed in the middle of the 67-foot-tall space, blasting smoke into the air three times every two minutes.

“This type of theatrical lighting is so much more dramatic when there’s a little bit of fog or haze or mist in here,” said lighting designer Phillip Colorusso of Luminated Landscapes, based in East Aurora.

After four years of presenting the successful “Night Lights” inside the tri-domed Victorian glass house in Buffalo’s South Park, David J. Swarts, the gardens’ president and CEO, said it was time to create a new experience.

The show’s colorful and atmospheric attractions – from colorful orb dragons controlled with an app and hundreds of illuminated fireflies by the gardens’ 30-foot waterfall, to neon-lighted ferns and interactive projected animation aimed at children – are meant to allow visitors to the gardens’ 22,000-plant collection to see them in fresh ways.

Each room throughout the gardens is themed. There’s a whimsical Fairy Room, where handblown glass is lighted up among orchids. Lights in the Morroccan Desert Room all point to the sun. Dripping water has been added to the rainforest room to simulate the sounds of the natural environment, while the pressing of a button lets children have fun with the rumble of thunder and the flash of lightning.

The Aura Room will let visitors learn what their aura is, with a description and color display.

“In the kids room, an optically projected rug will look like leaves. When a kid walks on it, he kicks the leaves and the leaves move, and you see the grass underneath, and there might be a bunny or a squirrel,” Colorusso said.

As an added attraction, a short time-lapse film of Morty the corpse flower – whose short-lived bloom last summer shattered box-office records at the Botanical Gardens – will be shown in House 10.

Also on the walls is a colorful photography show by Michael Haderer.

The continuing Orchid Show will run concurrently with Lumagination, with the flowers frequently presented in window settings.

Improvements aimed at increasing safety and comfort have also been made. Dark pathways are now lined with light, while an outdoor tent with heaters will be near the entrance to help people stay warm while waiting in line.

Lumagination will occur Wednesday through Saturday nights through Feb. 21. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights, and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for members, senior citizens and students 13 and older, and $5 for kids 3 to 12. For more information, go to www.buffalogardens.com.

“I’m really excited because we added an extra week this year, and that’s the week the kids are off from school. Seeing little kids is so much fun during the show, because they’re kids and their eyes light up,” marketing director Erin Grajek said.

email: msommer@buffnews.com

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