Just Opened: CHIHULY at the New York Botanical Garden

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Any day spent at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is a good one. Between the sprawling landscapes and the beautiful plants and flowers, visitors are transported to a horticultural paradise. But things just got turned up to 11 there, with the premiere of CHIHULY, an exhibit of the famed glass sculptor’s work. We headed to the Bronx to check it out!

photo: NYBG

Chi-wuh? Chi-wow!
Dale Chihuly is a world-renowned artist who creates colorful, large-scale pieces using glass. His work is now on view at NYBG in his first major garden exhibition in New York in more than 10 years.

The exhibit, which features works on display both indoors and out, includes 20 installations created just for NYBG. Among them, a reimagining of Chihuly’s 1975 Artpark installation: three works showcased in the garden’s water features. For Chihuly fans, the show also includes drawings, sketches and a look at his early work and his evolution as an artist.












photo: NYBG

Sparking the Imagination
Chihuly’s work is big and bold and colorful, making it perfect for kids. Our tiny companion was immediately struck by Chandelier series hanging right above the main entrance; they are so colorful and fun —  he said the looked like “giant flowers.”

Further into the garden we saw the Red Reeds on Logs, which looks like an enormous camp fire. While the installations are large-scale and cannot be touched, there is plenty imaginative fun to be had. We enjoyed “warming our hands” and “roasting marshmallows,” by the pretend fire.

Chihuly exhibit at NYBG

Taking in the Persian Pond and Fiori installation

Taking it Inside
Next we set off to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where many of the pieces are housed. (We had fun turning this part of the show into a scavenger hunt, seeking out the individual works of art.) In front of the conservatory is the Sol del Citrón, which is a breathtaking, solar-like piece that consists of yellow and green glass squiggly lines. It’s like a child’s drawing come to life. When we stepped inside we were greeted by the Persian Pond and Fiori installation, which our toddler companion especially loved.

photo: NYBG

After walking through the entire conservatory, we hopped on the tram to take in the rest of the garden. We stopped at the Metz Library Art Gallery because the Blue Polyvitro Crystals, which looks liked big blue gems coming up out of the fountain, demands a closer look. Chihuly’s colors are so breathtaking and the large-scale pieces are truly captivating up close.

sapphire star at NYBG

A final pose with Sapphire Star

The Perfect Garden Art Walk (and Ride)
We walked back towards the entrance to leave, but not before stopping at the Sapphire Star for one last picture.

Chihuly is the perfect combination of stimulating art, nature and burning off some steam by running around. When the kids (or you) get tired, the tram is a great way to cover ground. (The exhibit is spread out throughout the garden and there are many hills, which makes pushing a stroller quite the feat.)

photo: NYBG

Lights at Night and Special Programming

CHIHULY Nights, which is a great date night idea, requires separate tickets.

Additionally, throughout the run of the show, the garden will be holding special weekend celebrations, films, poetry, and fun-filled art programs for kids that will offer colorful and imaginative tributes to nature.

The Details
Access to CHIHULY is included in the all-garden pass. Admission prices vary by by day; visit the website for details. Admission is free if you visit on a Wednesday or Saturday morning between 9 and 10 a.m.

CHIHULY at the New York Botanical Garden
Through October 29
2900 Southern Blvd.
Online: nybg.org

Have you checked out CHIHULY with the kids? Tell us what you thought in the comments! 

— Bethany Quinn