Moonlight Forest: Magical Lantern Festival Lights Up Los Angeles

For the first time ever, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden will host a beautiful lantern festival called the Moonlight Forest. Celebrating nature, art, and culture, the gardens have been transformed into magical night landscapes illuminated by beautiful, hand-crafted lanterns.


Inspired by a lantern festival he attended in Norfolk, Richard Schulhof, CEO of the L.A. Arboretum, knew he wanted to bring it to the arboretum, “This event is about bringing a magnificent art-form from ancient China to the arboretum and to Southern California. The lanterns you see across this landscape, there are over 60 different viewed exhibits and hundreds of lanterns. What we are doing is showcasing this art form — made with new materials and new construction.”


With over 60 displays of larger-than-life lantern, the Moonlight Forest had whimsical pandas, soaring dragons, colorful peacocks, shimmering flowers, and many more beautiful designs. The lanterns have been skillfully designed and produced by artisans from the Sichuan production company, Tianyu Arts & Culture, who have produced many popular Chinese lantern festivals around the world. The Moonlight Forest is the largest produced by them in the United States.


Grace Zhou, a representative of Tianyu, said in a press release, “Our team has worked meticulously on the production of over 60 lanterns since early summer, and we can’t wait for the public to enjoy our handcrafted creations. Seeing our artwork come to life is one of the most rewarding moments of the entire process. We hope everyone who comes to Moonlight Forest is entertained by our lanterns, performances, and crafts!”


The Moonlight Forest has three major themes — Magical China, which celebrates the traditions of ancient China and the beauty of the country; Children’s World, which celebrates cute displays filled with childish wonder; and, Nature’s Treasures, celebrating animals and the nature around us.


In addition to the lanterns, the festival will also feature music, food trucks, drink options, and nightly performances from Tianyu’s Chinese acrobats, dance groups, and bian lian face changers.


If the festival proves to be successful, Schulhof wants to continue the celebration of lanterns annually. “We definitely want to explore this as an annual event and bring forth art forms from around the world here at the arboretum on a regular basis. In the future, there is so much more we can do from China. We certainly wish to explore that and other cultures from around the world.”

The Moonlight Forest runs from October 26th to January 6 — Wednesdays through Sunday nights, from 5:30 pm to 10 pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

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