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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Valpo After Hours: Taltree's Glow

Valparaiso's Taltree Arboretum hosted their first Glow: Art After Dark event this week. The weather was fantastic, and I was looking for a way to get the most out of my day. This event was a great time for kids to enjoy the thrill of being out late at night and learn a little something in the process. The upbeat music and interactive tours made the event fun for the whole family.

The admission fee ($10 for adults) is a donation to preserve the native landscape in Northern Indiana. It goes to supporting educational programs as well. Well worth it for a nice night out.

It had four main attractions: Stargazing, Guided Hikes, Moth Exhibit, and Art Exhibits. 

Lighted balloons guided our way to the event space. The iconic large tree out front was strung with white lights. Lanterns surrounded the area clearly marking the Moth Exhibit and the meeting point for the guided hikes. The Railway Garden Depot was beautifully illuminated in colorful lights as we made our way to the art and entertainment area. 

Booths for shaved ice, pierogi and sausage, and burgers with other snacks, had short lines and good food for snacking. An area had wine and a truck with beer taps. 

The art consisted of ribbons with glow-in-the-dark phrases written up by visitors, a fairy village, a moon garden, Thinking of Flight (a metal sculpture), The Heritage Glow Railway, and a light garden. Tables and benches were set up so you could sit and enjoy the music. The music was an interesting blend of futuristic 80s/90s electronica. At one point a dancer with a glowing hula hoop was moving with the music. It was all very fitting for the event. 

Three 45-minute hikes were scheduled for the evening. We passed on the hiking though. The groups were pretty large. It seemed that the guide was fun and informative and able to engage the crowd. We also missed the moths in our rush to stargaze.

The stargazing was really fun! Three people had set up telescopes looking at the night sky. They let visitors look through and answered questions. I saw Saturn and its rings! It made me want to run out and get a telescope. The lines were short enough, so we looked at Saturn through the second telescope as well. 

The bug situation wasn't bad, but I'm not sure how it would be on the hike. 

I'll be back next year to check it out and support the conservation of the Indiana ecology. Even for a quick visit. You should too. Just bring bug spray, a light jacket and maybe even a blanket to enjoy the music.

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