The North Island Wildlife Recovery Association is doing its part to brighten up the dark nights in the next two months with its first Magical Nights of Light.
And everyone who visits will be part of the light show.
Each Friday and Saturday evening from Nov. 6 through Dec. 19, when the Errington rehabilitation centre closes for the season, it will open to the public from 5-8:30 p.m. to showcase a dazzling display of lights.
The show begins in the Museum of Nature, which is strung with a multitude of bulbs of various colours and sizes. Then it’s on to the grounds outdoors, where NIWRA co-founder Robin Campbell has created a startling laser light show in the Magical Field of Stones and the sprawling Wildlife Garden.
He unveiled the display for the first time in a preview Wednesday evening for his wife Sylvia, NIWRA administrator Cynthia Aldred and The NEWS. Employing discreet, multi-coloured lights and projectors, the laser show washes the ground, the trees and all structures in spots of light as music plays in the background.
“Oh, this is amazing,” said Aldred. “(Robin) hasn’t let us see it yet.”
People moving through the display are also covered in the lights, creating a surreal, negative effect in the darkness. Two larger projecters broadcast moving images high into the nearby trees, including leaping dolphins, flying birds, dancing people and kaleidoscopic patterns.
The presence of fog and/or rain creates a different effect, and actually enhances the show, Robin Campbell said.
Flashlights are not necessary for most visitors to find their way through the grounds.
After Remembrance Day, staff will begin adding holiday-themed elements to the display for each weekend leading up to Christmas. Beginning Nov. 20, Santa will visit the centre.
In addition to the light show, there will be storytelling in the ECO Centre, a colouring contest for kids, hot chocolate and live music. The centre’s gift shop will be open for those looking for unique gifts or NIWRA memberships, but the wildlife viewing areas will be closed to the public during the evening openings.
Admission to Magical Nights of Light is by donation. For more information, visit www.niwra.org or call 250-248-8534.