Saturday, December 5: After I fetch Mike from the University of Richmond football game, we sit in Starbucks drinking hot coffee for about an hour before we’re due to pick up Alex and his girlfriend, Ariana.
From Alex’s house in The Fan, we head over to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for the Dominion GardenFest of Lights. It’s quite a cold night, so we bundle up to walk through the 30-acre light and botanical display. The “H2Whoa” theme showcases water in all its forms and highlights the many ways water shapes our world.
I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my photos, for without a tripod, I fear they’re pretty blurry!
Many of the flowers and fish throughout the gardens are made from recycled materials, especially plastic bottles — cut, painted and shaped into fantastical creatures and botanical features.
In the children’s area, we find a zoo of colorful animals.
Alex and Ariana are a cute couple, don’t you think?
We make our way slowly over toward the Conservatory. The warmth inside beckons.
Inside the Conservatory, we’re greeted by a giant octopus and schools of fish on the “ocean’s floor.”
We find many garden features in the Conservatory, some real and some created out of plastic bottles.
In the Conservatory, we also admire the elaborate electric train dioramas.
Finally, we head back into the Visitor’s Center, where we wander around the gift shop to warm up.
After our fun exploration of the GardenFest of Lights, we go to The Fan, where we wait in line for a Cuban dinner at Kuba-Kuba Restaurante y Bodega. We enjoy a lively atmosphere, delicious meals and cold beers, after which we take Alex and Ariana back home and we drive home two hours to northern Virginia. 🙂