The SLO Botanical Garden is bringing back “Nature Nights” for a second year

The SLO Botanical Garden is bringing back “Nature Nights” for a second year

In 2022, more than 9,000 people visited the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden for an evening filled with lights, art and nature, according to San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden Executive Director Janine Stillman. This year the park is bringing back Nature Nights, an immersive outdoor experience covering more than eight acres of the park, from November 17 to December 31.

“I think the inspiration for me has always been the land,” project manager John McGann said.

The purpose of Nature Nights is to highlight the characteristics of the park. The garden specifically displays plants from Mediterranean climates around the world.

“We’re making it more relevant to the park this year,” Stillman said. “You won’t see Santa and Christmas lights lit up in the form of reindeer, you’ll see beautifully wrapped trees and beautifully lit plants and shrubs.”

While the gardens cover 150 acres of San Luis Obispo County, Nature Nights will only be featured in the Botanical Garden’s Children’s Area, Welcome Area and Display Garden.

Some of the exhibits to look forward to include “a very large, very expansive wine bottle exhibit,” McGann said. The exhibit will display more than 1,200 bottles of wine assembled and illuminated along the ridge. The bottles on display were donated by local vineyards, restaurants and volunteers.

“You’ll be able to see some of the original creations for the first time,” McGann said.

Another exhibit will be on display during Nature Nights in the Children’s Garden where teardrop lights will be hung from oak trees.

All displays during Nature Nights will be homemade by park members and volunteers. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has more than 185 volunteers working to create and install these displays, according to Katherine Rowe, the garden’s interim program coordinator. Other local artists and musicians will also be featured throughout the month.

Participating artists include B-Hive, Hakeem, Deuces Wylde and Emily Smith. There will also be seasonal offerings of Bellisima Hand Bells and Jingle Bells. Attendees of the park’s opening night on Nov. 16 can expect food, wine and cocktails to be served, and Joy Polloi, an acoustic folk and rock band, will also perform.

Along with the various offerings, the park will feature a Crave Mini Donuts food truck in December.

Following opening night, Nature Nights will continue on Friday and Saturday nights through the end of December as well as Wednesday, November 22nd. Ticket prices are $27 for adults and $17 for youth. Students and faculty will receive 15% off any night of the show if they use code MUSTANG15.

Proceeds from Nature Nights will go back into the park and allow them to host similar events in the future.

“We try hard to make daily improvements and upgrades to the space, so visitors will come in and see new and dynamic things happening all the time,” Stillman said.

To purchase tickets, visit

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