As promised last week, here are some sparkly lights to brighten up what is a gray and gloomy January day (well, it is gloomy and rainy and cold here in Little Rock anyway). This display is put on every year at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, and never really gets old.
I think we went the first year it opened, when it was just a few flowers in the darkness and a small cart selling powdered hot chocolate. Now, it is over half a million lights over several acres, with a full espresso stand. As Benjamin said, you know when you are in Seattle when there is an espresso stand at the light display.
The pictures don't really do the lights justice, although I was pretty pleased with how well the night light setting on my camera worked this time. The flash only went off a couple of times when the lights were bright enough to make it think it should be lighter than it was. Otherwise, it was mostly just a matter of keeping my hands steady while I shot the picture.
Sprinkled among the flowers were critters and creatures of all kinds, like this spider and the frog in the top picture. Did you spot that one? For the kids, the garden had a sort of scavenger hunt map that listed all of the 30+ animals, and even without the map, I had a great time trying to spot them.
One of the coolest things about the display is that it is not Christmas specific - there was only one Christmas tree in the whole display. That means that it is not at all exclusionary. Bellevue is very multi-ethnic these days, and when we went on Christmas night, there were people from many different cultures and countries visiting, some of who do not celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. What a great way to lighten the darkest part of the year!