Reach for the Stars at Astra Lumina

I don’t know about you but I’m missing the holiday season. This was the first year so much of it “clicked” with Mabel and it truly was magical to see Christmas through her eyes. One of our favorite activities this year was looking for houses decorated with lights. Every time we pass anything with lights now, she screams “Christmas!”

Thank goodness we were able to make it to Astra Lumina. This immersive experience has been hitting several major cities and is currently in Los Angeles at the gorgeous South Coast Botanic Garden. Although it illuminates the wonders of the galaxy and not necessarily the holidays, it still was a hit.

Astra Lumina in LA

Astra Lumina takes its visitors on a galactic star-lit journey. It combines a life-size star gazing display, light effects, and interactive zones. Given it surrounds the forest aspects of South Coast, I love how multi-layered it felt.

The experience is made up of nine experience zones. We scanned a QR code to access a guide that explains what each walk-through represents. I enjoyed a colorful spectacle with what I thought was a life-size disco ball. Turns out it was replicating a star being reborn.

Our favorite was Stardust Rays. An incredible experience that covered us head to toe in laser lighting all around. It almost mimics a strobe effect so have caution if anyone is affected by intense brightness and lights.

See the Stars Through February

At the beginning of the event is the bar. They offer fun spiked hot chocolates, spirits, beers, and wine. For snacks, it’s ballgame-type choices like nachos (tortilla chips and cheese sauce), pretzel bites, and a churro dessert. Mabel enjoyed a classic hot chocolate. I decided on the Moon Glow Mule and enjoyed sipping some tequila as I got swept away in the stars.

Astra Lumina doesn’t utilize the entire garden. The trail comes in at about one mile. We arrived at six just as the sun was going down. It created a unique glow between the bright lights and the illuminated, overcast sky. It was fun to see the botanical gardens in a new setting after our great afternoon there in the spring.

The majority of the trail is on terrain and dirt. Mabel pleaded for her stroller so we decided to bring it along. It wasn’t impossible but some strollers may not do well here. There’s a brief security checkpoint and we encountered no line to enter. Though the displays light up the grounds, it still has many dark areas and no additional light to assist.

Parking on-site is available for 20 dollars with an off-site shuttle option for $10. It’s fun for families with kids and I think especially a group of friends or date night. Astra Lumina has been extended into February in LA. Learn more and book a visit HERE.

(All photography by Michael Farah.)

  1. Jennifer

    January 9, 2024 at 8:57 am

    You captured really great photos! My daughter & hubby enjoyed this light show as well.

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