Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday: Garden D'Lights 2009

The Garden D'Lights in Bellevue, Washington included this extensive scene with a centerpiece fountain and even a swan on 22-December-2009

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON - Last year, a snowstorm kept the number of people visiting the Garden D'Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden down, as noted in this blog. This year, with fair weather, the event is overflowing with people to the extent that traffic jams are extending all the way down to the foot of Main Street, and the trails are quite crowded.

An old standby, the snail, was one of the "critters" at the Garden D'Lights in Bellevue, Washington on 22-December-2009

The display added yet more LED lights this year, pushing the total number of lights well beyond the half-million mark to the point that nobody seems to know the exact number anymore. While there were definitely new displays this year as in all previous years, there were many old stand-bys from previous years, including the pond scene, the squirrel, the frog reflected in the pond, and the snail shown above.

A monkey, well-hidden in a tree, was amongst the "critters" in the Garden D'Lights in Bellevue, Washington on 22-December-2009

There are now so many "critters" in the Garden D'Lights, from geckos to ducks to peacocks to the monkey shown above, that a "critter map" is distributed for kids to try to find all of them. The "map" actually does not tell which critter is where, but just gives a list of all the animals and a map of locations, creating an activity for children to match the list with the actual locations.

The aquarium scene inside the Bellevue Botanical Garden Visitor Center was noted in Bellevue, Washington on 22-December-2009

The most impressive scene this year may have been the aquarium inside the visitor center, which now includes an octopus and a smattering of jellyfish as well as tropical fish and plants. With temperatures around the freezing mark, though, the best part of the aquarium scene may have been the ability to view it in a warmer environment.

A jellyfish was included in the aquarium scene at the Garden D'Lights in Bellevue, Washington on 22-December-2009

The Garden D'Lights remains open daily through 2-January-2010 from 5 pm to 10 pm; arriving early or late is advisable. Parking is $5 in the premium area, but there is a drop-off area this year and free parking available farther away. Admission is free but donors are entered in daily and weekly drawings for lights--my mother has of course won a daily drawing.

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