Paper Pandas- A Review of the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens

Part of the wonders of having friends scattered around the world is I get to see different things that we may not get to experience. I still am looking for that magic potion to be everywhere at once. So when our great friend Jill from St. Louis posted pictures of the Japanese Lantern Festival from the Missouri Botanical Gardens, I was mesmerized by the beauty and intricacy of each paper display. So I was very grateful when Jill decided to write a guest post for us detailing the information and highlighting some of her beautiful photography. Please join us in welcoming Jill to the InACents family!

First of all let me say I feel honored to be part of the InACents family and share my experience at the Lantern Festival! The festival is currently a limited time exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, showing nightly through August 19, 2012.

Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Gardens

Missouri Botanical Gardens Tree

Missouri Botanical Gardens Waterfall

The gardens are one of the true gems of St. Louis, and I like to go to at least one exhibit there a year because it is always beautiful. The festival was a little pricey at $23 per ticket for adults; however, let me be the first to say it was WORTH IT! Even my mother, who has a hard time spending money on anything artsy, enjoyed herself and could not stop talking about how pretty it was the entire car ride home.

23-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Dragon Pillars Gate (Huabiao)

The Dragon Pillars Gate (Huabiao)

The lantern festival was a huge hit and has been at the Missouri Botanical Gardens all summer. The Lantern Festival has been selling out nightly, so we were delighted to get tickets at the door; however, I recommend buying tickets online to avoid being turned away.

04a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Panda’s Paradise

04b-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Panda’s Paradise

04c-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Panda’s Paradise

Panda’s Paradise

There were 26 lanterns throughout the park, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite (but the pandas might take the gold). They also had shows and a Chinese bazaar with beverage stations throughout the park selling soda, beer, wine and water (All their cups and food containers are compostable!!).

22-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Goddess Blessing Buddha

Goddess Blessing Buddha

21-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Moonlit Pathway

Moonlit Pathway

20-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

My family and I got there as soon as they opened at about 6:00 P.M. to go through the garden prior to the lighting of the lanterns. We went through the Japanese garden in the back of the park that has fish and ducks you can feed along with waterfalls and rock gardens. The garden also has a lot of really great kids areas including a playground, hedge mazes, and a fountain to play in.

19-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Exhibit

16-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers

12-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Exhibit

Wishing Well

At 8:00 P.M. the lanterns were lit, and I really do not have words to describe how beautiful the display was to see! One of the displays was a wishing well lantern that had little gongs hanging labeled “health, all wishes, love, riches” etc., so it was fun to hear the gongs ringing when people threw their coins in.

15a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Dragon Embracing the Pillars

Dragon Embracing the Pillars

13-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Flying Apsaras

The Flying Apsaras

14-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Wishing Tree

Wishing Tree

They also had a bunch of trees called wishing trees. For $2 you could get a gold coin with a ribbon and throw it into the wishing tree. There were hundreds of wishes in the trees!

06a-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Porcelain Dragon

06b-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Porcelain Dragon

06c-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Porcelain Dragon

Porcelain Dragon

The porcelain dragons were made of traditional Japanese dishes like plates, soup spoons, saucers and cups! The dragons also moved their heads and had smoke coming out of their mouths that had a sweet smell that filled the air.

11-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Nine-Dragon Mural

Nine-Dragon Mural

09-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Heavenly Temple

Heavenly Temple

17-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Sail Boat

Sail Boat

The ship was made of plastic water bottles and will be recycled after the exhibit is taken down!

08-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Double Seventh Festival

Double Seventh Festival

07-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Blissful Wedding

Blissful Wedding

05-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Lotus Ponds

Lotus Ponds

The Lantern Festival is open until 10:00 P.M. nightly, with last admission being accepted at 9:00 P.M.

03-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

02-Missouri Botanical Gardens Japanese Lanterns The Terracotta Warrior

The Terracotta Warrior

The exhibits were set up in a big circle to keep the crowd all moving in one direction and also to make it easy to see all of the lanterns. Overall the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens was a beautiful exhibit, and I would highly recommend it!

Thank you again Mr. and Mrs. InACents for allowing me to be a guest writer on the lantern festival!

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