Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center lights up for holiday festivities

Mason Carroll

Children ran through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as their path was lit with thousands of luminarias and Christmas lights during the annual Luminations celebration.

The path around the center is filled with 3,000 luminarias, communications director Lee Clippard said. The Center began planning for the event six months ago and started decorating last month.

“We like to say that Luminations is a winter holiday tradition for families, and it’s where you can come out and experience a natural environment during the winter,” Clippard said. “It feels nice to host something like this and have people make holiday memories at the Wildflower Center.”

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a part of UT, and burnt orange lights and a large gingerbread UT Tower replica were a part of the celebration for everyone to see.

“Everything that we are doing is to support the mission of the University and to serve the state,” Clippard said. “I think we are a face for the University.”

This year, the center expanded the number of activities available on the path, including the addition of a s’mores bar, free hot chocolate, a bakery and other holiday activities, Clippard said. Alicia Cano, mechanical engineering freshman, said she could tell the center puts a lot of effort into the event.

“It was really pretty, and it was fun to see all the families,” Cano said. “I definitely loved taking pictures with the luminarias and all the Christmas trees that were decorated in lights.”

The event opened Thursday night, and Clippard said he worried families would not come out because of the snow. However, he said the ones that did come had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“There was a girl who came running through the entrance who was so happy she was literally jumping for joy,” Clippard said. “It’s very satisfying to know that she will probably remember that forever and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center.”

Luminations also gave UT students a place to get away from the stress that comes with finals. Neuroscience freshman Mia Rajan said she came to the center to take a step back from studying and to have fun with friends.

“Since I was basically studying all day today, it was a perfect activity to come out to and get us into the Christmas spirit,” Rajan said.