Lanterns at Illuminasia.

A whole bunch of new animals have arrived at the Calgary Zoo!

Well, they’re not exactly alive, and they’re made of nylon and mylar and stuffed with lights.  But they’re pretty cool!





These are just a few of the 366 hand-crafted light sculptures featured at the Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival, a showcase of culture and talent from Japan, China, and India.  My hubby and I went down on a balmy Thursday evening a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours wandering around gawking at the lights.  Apparently, each lantern takes a minimum of 10 hours to make.  The detail is quite astonishing. Some of the sculptures, such as the moose I photographed, can slowly move their heads as well.

If you live in Calgary and area, there’s still time to check the lanterns out – the installation lasts until November 1 (Thursdays through Sundays only).  It’s well worth the visit – they’re absolutely amazing, and fun to photograph!


  1. These are gorgeous. Last year in Denver the Botanical Garden had an exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass pieces–all these organic shapes planted in among the plants. I only saw it in the daylight, but my friend out there said they opened it at night and it was stunning. I love the idea of little lantern ducks floating around on a dark pond. And the tigers must look a bit spooky coming out of their dark habitat.

    • I love Chihuly glass – we have a few of his pieces in some public places in the city, most notably the winter garden at Jameson Place downtown. I would love to see a garden filled with it, though – it would be incredible both in the daytime and at night!

      Those little duck lanterns were an absolute highlight for me. The big cats were wonderful as well – it was really neat how they were all very precisely placed on the grounds and they did appear to come out of the darkness at you as you walked around the corner.

    • I didn’t put up photos of some of the others, but there was one display of insects (crickets, ladybugs) that was just so intricately detailed – it was amazing. Inside the conservatory, there were dragonflies and butterfly lanterns hanging from the roof, and a huge cherry tree lantern with pink blossoms. The full-sized giraffes were a highlight as well, but everyone there was (naturally) captivated by them and I couldn’t get any photos without people standing nearby.

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