With just over a week left, now is the time to experience “Astra Lumia” in Los Angeles. A walk amongst the stars at the Southcoast Botanical Gardens, this meditative, beautiful, and sometimes trippy festival of light is one of those off-the-beaten-path events you don’t want to miss.
Similar to “Enchanted Nights” at the Descanso Gardens, “Astra Lumina” offers a dark walk through an already magical garden with nine themed areas illuminated by spectacular light shows.
The imagery ranges from wire cages where beams of light dance and swirl around them, to a mysterious portal to far-off dimensions in the sky, to “falling stars” that glow in orbs above your head, to a dazzling lit-up sphere that resembles a disco ball circa another universe.
The most thrilling is the Stardust Rays that beam down on guests from above, creating a body-tingling experience. Even though the hundreds of slender beams are simply made of light, there is almost a weight to them that hits your body in fantastical ways.
All of this is timed to cosmic musical compositions that add to the feeling that you’re in an old ‘80s sci-fi movie. At times, I expected to see E.T. in the shadows. Other times I felt like I would be taken away by The Last Starfighter. And when I peered through the circular portal at other worlds, I felt like Jodi Foster in Contact.
The walk-through is self-timed but generally takes about 45 – 60 minutes to experience each set-up. Markers explain what you will see, along with how long the experience lasts and more information about it. At the end is a themed bar and a gift shop to remember your walk amongst the skies!