Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

"A full sensory experience": SLO Botanical Garden has a new winter holiday exhibit

Gabriela Fernandez
The SLO Botanical Garden used festive lights, wire sculptures and digital art to create Nature Nights.

San Luis Obispo’s Botanical Garden is gearing up for the winter holidays with a new art exhibit called Nature Nights.

The nighttime art experience illuminates the plants, trees, and hillside of SLO’s Botanical Garden with holiday lights, wire sculptures and digital art projections.

Tracy Strann is the Director of Communications and Events for the SLO Botanical Garden and is also the producer of this exhibit. In 2019, she organized Sensorio, an immersive outdoor lighting experience in Paso Robles.

She said this year, she wanted to bring the same idea to San Luis Obispo.

“It is a full sensory experience and one that's in nature. We are committed here at the garden to a connection with nature, and that's what makes it really different,” Strann said.

nature nights slo botanical
Gabriela Fernandez
A lighted pathway at SLO Botanical Garden's "Nature Nights."

The exhibit was a collaboration between three artists: Kody Cava, Michael Reddell and Brynn Forbes.

Cava is known for his light work at the Cambria Christmas Market, Reddell produced pop-up art shows throughout SLO County, and Forbes is a photographer known for experimenting with movement in his photos.

This is the first time the botanical garden has hosted an exhibit like this. Strann said besides being beautiful, it’s also an important way to raise awareness and funds for the garden.

“We have never done something like this and this is a major fundraising endeavor — finding the right artists to participate, selecting what we're going to show and why and how; installation, staffing, volunteers, and doing it over an eight-acre parcel,” Strann said.

Nature Nights is Thursday through Sunday, from 5 to 8 P.M. The last day to visit is January 8.

Information on tickets, donations and volunteer opportunities is online at

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.
Related Content