Enchanting Night Exploring the North Forest Lights in Arkansas

To celebrate a new year, we planned a magical night viewing the North Forest Lights exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Northwest Arkansas.

The North Forest Lights is an outdoor exhibit with creative light installations paired with music that are meant to inspire and connect wanderers to Mother Nature. This season of the North Forest Lights – the second season at Crystal Bridges – was extended, running from September 2020 to April 2021. The exhibit featured five light installations along a 1.5 mile loop in the woods. I’ll walk you through the installations below!

Crystal Grove

Crystal Grove, North Forest Lights exhibit

Walking through the Crystal Grove felt like walking on Pandora in Avatar. Lit spikes that were stuck in the ground danced in waves of light. It felt like you were walking through a forest filled with snickering, shimmering fairies.

Forest Frequencies

Forest Frequencies was electrifying. Vertical bars of light buzzed brilliantly to a sometimes calming and sometimes chaotic symphony. It was truly a place to vibe with the forest.

Whispering Tree

You can really feel the connection to Nature when you sing to the Whispering Tree. The Whispering Tree beckons and thrives in your song as orbs of lights leading up to her branches shine in a rainbow of color – the color of your voice.

This one was fun for me as my husband and I sang notes in the Whispering Tree’s microphone and encouraged our toddler to sing, too. She took it in but in her own way.

The Hearth

The Hearth was our absolute favorite. It felt like you were watching the forest’s heart beat as lights in the structure thrummed to melodic hums, which grew in intensity as the show eventually gave way to a vibrant dance of color.

Memory of Water

I wish I could tell you all about the Memory of Water, but our toddler was cold and tired at this point. At least there is one I don’t have to spoil for you! We did walk across the foggy and mysterious bridge that arched over the simulated stream, but we didn’t get to take in the exhibit in full. I have no doubt it would be a great way to end the night.

The Village

In between installations, we warmed up with hot cocoa and a bonfire at The Village, which was next door to large snow globes that you could rent and dine in with your close friends.

For those who have never been to Crystal Bridges, it has much to offer. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, walking trails and beauty to behold around every corner.

This was a special trip for me! It was the first trip we took as a family of three (other than to visit relatives). I always said we could keep travel in our lives after children if we made it a priority, and I think travel and culture are great teachers. I love that the North Forest Lights was part of our first adventure together. What was your first trip as a family?