ABQ's annual spectacle of illumination kicks off Nov. 26. Here's what you need to know about the River of Lights. - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ’s annual spectacle of illumination kicks off Nov. 26. Here’s what you need to know about the River of Lights.

river
(Cathryn Cunningham/Journal)

For more than two decades, each November, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden is set aglow with thousands of lights.

River of Lights has become a New Mexico tradition for the holiday season. This year’s run will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 26.

The event draws thousands of visitors over the four-week run. The event is the New Mexico BioPark Society’s largest fundraiser and proceeds help support the ABQ BioPark.

(Cathryn Cunningham/Journal)

According to Danielle Flores Mills, New Mexico BioPark Society marketing and communications manager, there will be timed tickets available online at riveroflights.org, again this year.

All tickets must be purchased online and in advance.

This means that reservations are purchased in hour increments and guests must arrive during their reservation time.

Visitors will be able to see about 600 handmade structures filled with lights.

Ranging from dinosaurs to a Pegasus and a unicorn, and everything in between, there’s surely something for everyone.

(Cathryn Cunningham/Journal)

“Some of our new sculptures include a life-size 3D giraffe, a beautiful chandelier hanging just outside the High Desert Rose Garden, an updated version of our UFO, and a 100-foot lighted tunnel with light synchronization,” she says. “Our River of Lights crew is constantly making tweaks and updates to existing sculptures, too. Sometimes, sculptures look brand new when all the team has done is relight them with vivid LED rope light. The show looks newer and brighter every year.”

This year, there will be an add-on event called “Santa’s Magical Experience,” which is already sold out.

Flores Mills says the free Park & Ride service is offered every night of River of Lights from the ABQ BioPark Zoo.

“We’re really trying to encourage taking alternate routes to the zoo to avoid congestion on Rio Grande and Central,” she says. “We hosted over 130,000 guests during last year’s River of Lights.”

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