Reviewed by: Play & Go Adelaide
Review by Claire Davill | 01 March 2023

Can plants communicate? Celestial Gardens blends art and science to create an experience that is quite unlike any other. The Bicentennial Conservatory in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens is transformed into a place of whimsy, with colourful lighting, smoky haze and ethereal sounds all around. The central aspect of the show consists of a range of plants attached to bio-feedback machines, each emitting their own song. Attendees are invited to interact with the plants through touch, sound and intention to see which plants “speak” to them.

While we couldn’t determine if any of the plants were really speaking to us personally, the installation gives you the opportunity to pause, listen and observe. There are not too many opportunities to interact with a plant that looks like it’s currently undergoing an ECG!

The real attraction is the atmosphere that is created in the conservatory and surrounds. Impressive glass, ceramic and wire art installations are hidden amongst the foliage, and you really need to slow down and observe to notice them all. Firefly-like lights flitter in the forest, and fairies and elves dance along the footpath. The whole experience makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another world.

Outside of the conservatory, you’ll find low-lit seating and the Botanical Bar, where you can exchange your shiny pebble token (provided) for a free drink. Options include wine, beer, soft drink or a perfectly crafted botanical mocktail. These drinks are also available to purchase. Sit at a table, watch the flying foxes overhead, and listen to some excellent live music while the fairies and elves dance back and forth. A highlight is the elf spinning light-up poi.

While the experience might be a bit too hippy-dippy for some, it’s a fun, enchanting experience that you can enjoy at your own pace. Celestial Gardens is suitable for children, although younger children may struggle to engage with the pace, and the late 8pm start makes this more suited to adults and older children who want to escape into another world.