Photo by Don Williamson courtesy Lewis Ginter
Butterflies shine, lightning bugs glow and coneflowers sparkle at the Dominion GardenFest of Lights, where roughly 21 miles of light strands include a swallowtail caterpillar tunnel. Led by horticulturist Shannon Smith, the team behind the display includes 10 staff members working from Oct. 1 through Thanksgiving, with help from about 200 volunteers. This year's theme is "A Natural Love Affair," featuring a cabin inspired by Jan Brett's book Mossy (which the garden keeper will read on Monday nights by the fire in the library reading room), as well as a magical train landscape with woodland creatures that could have materialized from The Wind in the Willows. Now in its 18th year, the light show is open daily at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden from 5 to 10 p.m., through Jan. 6 (closed Dec. 24 and 25). Hint: To avoid the largest crowds, go on a weekday early in the month. $11 for adults, $7 for children. (800) 594-8499 or lewisginter.org .