Moonlight in the Garden

An illuminated pathway at the JC Raulston Arboretum at night.

Enjoy a magical, one-of-a-kind outdoor lighting display when NC State University’s renowned JC Raulston Arboretum opens its gates after dark for the first time in a decade.

The gates will open from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 11-12, with thousands of luminaries lighting the way to artistic illuminations and special effects designed by Southern Lights of Raleigh. Artists and lighting companies across the nation have contributed to this autumn fundraiser. Highlights include:

  •  An installation by Kelly Francis of Texas, “Fireflies,” which will greet guests at the garden’s new pedestrian entrance.
  • Stone creations by local artist, Bob Simchock, will light the way to the Lath House, giving guests a taste of the art in the garden. These one-of-a-kind stone features will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to support the arboretum.
  • An interactive, 40-light, color display in the Scree Garden and Xeric Garden courtesy of FX Luminaire of Atlanta.

Guests of all ages will enjoy fire pits, marshmallows, live music and food trucks, as well as the arboretum’s spectacular plants, paths and views.

As Mark Weathington, the arboretum’s director says, “A garden at night is magical when form and texture, light and shadow create a whole new experience. John Gardner of Southern Lights of Raleigh, Inc. has done an amazing job capturing the spirit of the Raulston and our world-renowned collection.”

A limited number of general admission tickets — $10 for adult members, $15 for adult non-members and $5 for children ages 12 and under — are on sale now at They also will be available at the arboretum front desk in the Ruby C. McSwain Education Center on the arboretum grounds at 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh during business hours and at the gate during event hours until 8:30 p.m.

The JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University is a teaching garden known for its diverse plant collection of over 6,000 different kinds of plants on 10.5 acres. It is free and open to the public every day of the year. Located near the heart of the Research Triangle, it is a non-profit organization operating under the auspices of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. The arboretum depends on donations and proceeds from facility rentals and programs to fund its mission of connecting people with plants, education and research.

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