River of Lights, now in its 22nd year, continues to expand and add to its already elaborate displays.
“We always like to leave the brand new sculptures as a surprise for guests as they arrive at River of Lights,” said Danielle Flores Mills, Marketing & Communications Manager, New Mexico BioPark Society. “I can say that we have a new dino on the block. He’s big and bad, so that’s very exciting, and we also have a great photo op. We’ve been saying ‘your magical ride awaits you,’ so that’s going to be in the Children’s Fantasy Garden and it’s a great photo opportunity for families to come in and take a photo with one of our sculptures.”
This year, River of Lights will be extended to the entry of the Japanese garden at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. The event continues to grow and the River of Lights crew is constantly tweaking displays and lighting.
“The UFO from last year got a facelift,” Flores Mills said. “It was introduced last year, and they went ahead and redesigned the entire thing from scratch. It’s still abducting a cow, but it looks even cooler this year. And then we always relight sculptures. We changed from incandescent rope lighting to LED as far as energy-saving opportunities go and also it just makes the sculptures look brighter, so that’s always a good change.”
A few million lights illuminate River of Lights.
“We have the ocean scene that’s in the plaza, that’s the pirate ship, the whale, we have an octopus out there, a stingray,” Flores Mills said. “We have different scenes like the ocean scene, we have the dinosaur scene, we have the Africa scene where you can see all the animals. We have a winter scene. We have the farm scene. We have the sculptures throughout the rest of the garden. It’s kind of cool when we’re thinking about what’s going to be welded for the next year. We’re constantly looking at the scenes that we already have to see if we can add to them. That’s why some areas are growing out of the space they have originally been in and that’s why we rotate everything.”