Longwood Gardens is one of those Philly burbs staples that most of us have ventured to at some point in our lives, whether it was on a grade school class trip or a sorority sisterhood retreat (hey, DG!). I like to bop down there every once in a while just to walk through and take in the acres and acres of gorgeous plants and flowers (because seriously, it doesn’t get much prettier). When I heard about Nightscape, Longwood Gardens’ new “light and sound experience,” I knew I wanted to get back this summer.
Nightscape is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, now through the end of October. The Gardens normally close at 6pm, but with a Nightscape ticket, the hours are extended until 11pm. Tickets are $27 per person, and you can grab them online ahead of time, just in case they sell out on weekends.
Without much knowledge of what to expect, my date and I (plus another couple – this post also doubles as a “double” date idea . . . lucky you!) grabbed tickets for a Thursday evening. Thursday nights offer live music at the pop up beer garden, but there are also a few other events on Friday nights to check out.
The beer garden is seriously so awesome. I think I was too excited to remember to snap photos of the pretty lights strung up, cute little food cart, and musicians, so you’ll have to take my word for it (or, check out this Longwood email with photo). The whole atmosphere just makes it seem like the place you’ve gone to as a child has been updated, just for you. All of the beer is made by Victory, including a Saison made especially for Nightscape. I, unfortunately, was still living the #antibioticslife, so if you go and try this beer, I’ll have to take your word for it.
Once we finished grabbing food and drinks, we walked around in the Conservatory a bit before it got completely dark. Nightscape doesn’t officially start until it’s pitch dark out, so the official hour gets earlier as the months go on. There was not any guide or instructions that we saw when we first kicked off, so we sort of wandered around until we saw this floating, glowing ball. From there, we followed the crowds (and signs that had magically appeared) through some of the indoor exhibit.
What we were treated to was basically several rooms of gorgeous plants, covered in bright lights. The lights moved and grooved to the super cool soundtrack (that I could not find in the gift shop, and I was subsequently very upset), and you could stay or move along as quickly as you wanted. It was really like nothing I’ve ever seen before, totally unique and impressive to think about all the planning that went into each aspect.
After we finished the inside, my companions stocked up on more beer, and we headed on to the outdoor exhibits. S0me really wowed me, like the one below. Longwood also had picnic chairs set up by certain places, and it was really cool just to sit on a beautiful night enjoying the art and music. (See also: good place for date night hand holding.)
The whole experience was so much fun. We were there exploring for three full hours, and the drive back to the city was no longer than 40 minutes. It’s really so unique, and the perfect summer date night idea. My thoughts are adequately summed up in this tweet:
— Her Philly (@HerPhilly) July 31, 2015
(I said “cool,” so. many. times. that night. I need a better word than “cool.” Help me out, guys.)
Disclosure: After we bought our tickets, Longwood contacted me and graciously offered me free tickets. We were able to pass along our purchased tickets to our double date companions, but I just wanted to let you guys know this is definitely worth the $$$. All opinions are mine.