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Taltree Arboretum comes to life at night with art program

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If you go

Upcoming events at Taltree include the Trail of Scarecrows

When: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily Oct. 1-31

Where: Taltree Arboretum and Gardens, 450 W 100 N, Valparaiso

Contact: 462-0025 or www.taltree.org

Worth noting: See website for rules and registration information.

Updated: October 3, 2013 6:11AM



Black lights created splashes of radiant colors throughout the Railway Garden Depot and Sidetrack at Taltree Arboretum and Gardens recently.

The grounds came to life at nightfall for the first annual Art after Dark program — three evenings of live music, night hikes, glow-in-the-dark art exhibits and more.

To welcome visitors, glowing helium balloons lined the parking lot. Color-changing vases and other glow-in-the-dark décor dotted the landscape.

A dense, electric jungle of green stems, some more than 30 feet tall, was topped with flowers of white lights. Glowing globes of twisted glass rose amidst white-colored plants, which seemed to reflect the light of the moon.

Crowds visited various vendors and craft booths that evening. At one table, individuals used neon-colored markers to write on oil cloth strips. They wove their wishes for the environment into a Dream Weaver Loom, which was illuminated by ultraviolet lights.

At another booth, children were invited to use glow-in-the-dark paint to create designs on foam shapes, which they took home to commemorate the event.

A multitude of colors seemed to blend as Ebonie Quint of Crown Point twirled her hand-made glow-in-the-dark hula hoop during her extraordinary dance performance near the bandstand.

Anne Kucharski of Crown Point visited Taltree Arboretum and Gardens for the first time that evening.

“I wanted to bring my grandchildren to visit the exhibits, the lights and to learn about nature,” Kucharski said. “I was very pleasantly surprised at how well everything was put together, how nice it’s set up, the different types of walks and the atmosphere.”

Groups were given golf cart rides to a moth exhibit. Light bulbs hung near a large white sheet. Moths attracted to the light spread their wings as they hung on the sheet, allowing visitors to observe their unique markings and behaviors.

On another tour, guides took groups on night hikes to look and listen for owls, frogs, and other creatures. A laminated Glow Guide to Night Critters aided guests in identifying the nocturnal animals that call the arboretum home.

Cicada trills and cricket chirps serenaded guests as they viewed the sights of planetary wonders. Stargazing opportunities were provided by the Calumet Astronomical Society. Individuals viewed the moon through one telescope, Saturn and her rings in another.

Vanessa West, 11, of Crown Point, attended the event with her brother, Christian, 4.

“I like taking the golf cart ride; I thought that was cool,” said West. “And I like seeing all the lights and going to all the booths and seeing all the different glow-in-the-dark markers and stuff.”

Next month, students are invited to create a scarecrow based on a character from a book or story. The scarecrows will be on display throughout the month of October.



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