Erie County Botanical Gardens sprouts new after-hours event during pandemic

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)-Like many local businesses, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is finding new and creative ways to bounce back after the loss of income during the height of the pandemic.

“We’ve taken it on the chin. We’ve lost a lot of revenue, admission revenue is down,” said Dave Swarts, president and CEO of the botanical gardens.

Courtesy of The Botanical Gardens

Swarts says that their latest event, Gardens After Dark, is one he hopes will bring people back after they were forced to cancel some of their popular exhibits.

Visitors come in the evening and experience a one of a kind light show, but unlike Lumagination, the garden’s extensive array of plants and flowers will be the star.

“We will extenuate the plants through uplighting and various other capabilities to ensure that it’s a unique experience,” Swarts said.

With Erie County recently going into an orange zone, Swarts says extra precautions are being put in place including masks, several hand sanitizer stations around the building, and timed ticketing.

“We want to make sure that we limit the number of folks that come in so that we comply with the state’s requirements so we will monitor that closely.

Courtesy of The Botanical Gardens

Swarts says helping people find ways to experience the beauty and tranquility of the gardens is particularly important during these stressful times.

“There’s so much literature out there that talks about the healing nature of plants. I get the opportunity to meet visitors who come here and the comments they make are “It’s so nice to come here” and ” I feel better when I’m here.” There are significant mental health benefits when folks visit a botanical garden.”

The first exhibit of the Gardens After Dark series, Magical Poinsettias, will be held on select nights in December. Reservations are required for all visitors, including members, due to capacity limitations. For ticket information, click here.

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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