The Ultimate How-To Guide for Experiencing GLOW

The Ultimate How-To Guide for Experiencing GLOW

GLOW has been open for awhile now, and we’re learning new things every day about the exhibit. There are so many interesting things about it, not only about what it took to install it and keep it going nightly, but the different ways to experience it. We wanted to be sure to pass on any tips and tricks to experiencing this unique art installation so all of you can make the most out of it as well. Below you’ll find some fun facts to know before attending, things to look out for overall and specific tips for viewing the 9 vignettes that make up the exhibit. Make sure you not only read it before you go, but maybe pull it up as you’re walking through the exhibit so you don’t miss a thing!


Courtyard’s Wave of Light – “Baja Surf” by Bruce Lindquist
Palm Circle’s Surfing Safari- “Baja Surf” by Bruce Lindquist
Promenade – Unnamed by Jerzy
Rose Garden’s Dancing Lights – “Mermaid” by Train
Banyan’s Rainforest – “Vivaldi Storm” by 2 Cellos
River Portion 1 – “River” by Ben Platt
River Portion 2 – “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison
River Portion 3 – “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish
River Portion 4 – “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Music Travel Love
River Portion 5 – Unnamed by Jerzy
Desert Garden’s Coral Reef – “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bob Lyons
Living Wall’s Fireflies –  Unnamed by Jerzy


● Hundreds of thousands of LED diodes are being used
● Almost 5 miles of wire are used to bring the exhibit to life
● The lights have RGB color-changing technology
● The exhibit took more than a month to install
● There is merchandise for sale at the entrance to the Upper Meadow including GLOW sweatshirts, T-shirts, and light-up toys for kids
● You can walk the loop more than once


● Different plant materials absorb and reflect light differently
● The mixing of colors as the light opens up higher in tree canopies
● The lights will change depending on your angle


There are many colors throughout the Promenade, but take the time to notice how each color reflects the plant material differently. You’ll notice that the color red is the best light for larger trees because it needs big spaces in order for it to be more saturated. The bigger the tree, the more vibrant the red looks.  Check out the Silk Floss Trees along the Promenade and, in the distance, the outline of the sweet olive trees on Upper Meadow. In fact, make sure you take a pit stop in the Upper Meadow to check out those trees a little closer, along with the iceberg rose bushes along the border.


● Bring your dancing shoes! No seriously, breaking out in a dance is totally OK here and highly recommended.
As you leave the Rose Garden and walk down Tram Road, be sure to look up to the left to see the Upper Meadow Gazebo which is stunningly lit!


● Ask family members what color the sea creature is.  Some see pink, some see purple… and some even see white!
Look at the up-lit trees across from the sea creature.  These lights make you look at the shape and form of the whole tree, not just the leaves one might view during the day.
Fun fact: The team wanted to light the plant life around the creature, but the white and light gray plantings suck in color completely so that they do not reflect the light.  Once we learned that, no white or light gray plants were lit in the exhibit for that reason.

● While it may be tempting to just take a landscape look at the Banyan Grove, be sure to look up! The canopies of the Morton Fig trees are astounding! 
● When at the U-turn, turn back and check out the lights from the direction you just came from.  You’ll notice the first grouping is slower and represents a misty rain.  Where you’re standing now, the lights are faster in the storm and the crescendo of Vivaldi’s Two Cellos.
● When you’re travelling the river and feel like the current is sweeping you away, focus on the colored light bursts on the ground which act as an anchor.
● Take your time on The River and let the music lead and wind you through.
● The River offers one of the more romantic areas of the exhibit, in fact, we’ve even seen some couples stop to slow dance.
● Toward the end of The River, right after the Amphitheater Lawn, you’ll want to slow down to take a long gander at the Deodar Cedar tree that borders the Amphitheater. It’s simply lit, but it’s absolutely beautiful to look at.
● Shapes and forms of Agave and Aloe mimic what is at the bottom of the ocean. What do you see? Hints: coral, sea urchins, sea anemones.
● How many pools of water can you count? Answer: three, so keep looking! 
● The varied textures and colors of the vertical plants gave us the opportunity to finally use pastel lights..
● How many fireflies can you count?
● While waiting to see the Living Wall, look across at the Chinese Fringe Trees.  In the daytime people pay attention to the leaves and the fruit, but at night the trunks are featured.
● When exiting the Living Wall, look toward the Wave of Light at the courtyard entrance.  Think moonlight dappled on the ocean… what do you see?
● If your phone’s camera has a night vision setting, use it!
● Don’t try to walk and take pictures. With the lights, you’ll need to be very still while photographing them.
● Clean your camera lens beforehand as smudges refract light.
● Turn off the flash.
● If you want to take selfies, the light-up toys help illuminate little faces, or bring a flashlight to light up people’s faces while still allowing the camera to pick up the ambient lighting.
Have you been to GLOW? Let us know what tips and tricks you have for experiencing it by emailing
Haven’t been yet? Purchase your tickets here! 

The Garden has remained open to serve the community by being a place to encourage wellness and health through nature and open space. Please help keep us open by considering a gift to the Garden. You can do so here.


Share This, Choose Your Platform!