An exception to the many food and drink-related activities we took part in during our trip to NOLA was the China Lights festival (installation? something), which settled in City Park just before we came to the city. Essentially, it’s a big installation of lanterns and lights in all their different forms – quite literally, there were caterpillars and fish and flowers and you name it.
It was installed within the Botanical Garden at City Park, which is a bit of a ways from the French Quarter (we tried and failed to take the bus – the New Orleans bus schedule is a bit of a mystery – and ended up Ubering). We frankly didn’t see much of the garden or the park (it being quite dark), but we did see a lot of color and light.
There were things to walk under, and through, and between, lanterns and lights that looked like flowers and dolls and dragons, even a towering light-up pagoda in the center of it all.
It took somewhere between one and two hours to see it all – it’s a lot of lights, certainly, but the botanical garden isn’t huge and the exhibition was nicely divided up into numbered themed sections – here the bugs, here the pandas, here a tremendous f-ing dragon lantern that was too big to take a picture of all at once.
Lots of families were there, but really it was just lots of everyone, and it was certainly good photography bait for anyone with a picture-taking device (as you can see from the one billion pictures in this post).
Admission cost $18 for an adult, which was probably one of the pricier admission fees we paid during the trip, but it was really fun. One of the cooler pieces were some dragons (animals? At least one was a dragon) assembled out of hundreds of tiny glass jars filled with colored liquid. Pretty badass. I believe the exhibition is in town for another month, so if you’re in New Orleans or you’re going and you want a fun but lower-key nighttime activity, check it out. Just…don’t try to take the bus.