Summer Nights Concerts at the Botanic Garden

Great Music, Family Fun

Michael Hearne
••• © Aileen O'Catherine

The Summer Nights concerts at the Albuquerque Botanic Garden feature weekly entertainment on Thursday nights. The popular program includes music, dance, entertainment and food. There are activities for the kids as well.

The Botanic Garden is located at 2601 Central NW, just east of the Rio Grande.

What to Expect
The gates open at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7 p.m., continuing until 9 p.m. Once the gates open, its fun to explore the gardens, eat dinner, and see some of the side entertainers, which are especially great for the kids.

Concerts are rain or shine events.

Many bring a picnic dinner, but concession style food is also available. Be sure to take blankets or lawn chairs because seating is on the ground in the grassy open area in the center of the Gardens. Hats, sunscreen, plenty of water, and comfortable shoes and clothing are the norm. The earlier you get there, the closer you can seat yourself by the stage. For some that matters, and for others not. The acoustics are good, so you'll get to hear the musicians no matter where you sit. 

Wandering the gardens before or during the show is up to you. Come with a group so that someone can stay behind to watch the stuff while you explore the grounds with the kids. 

The Butterfly Pavilion is closed during the concerts, but the Heritage Farm is open from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., as well as the Aquarium, and the rest of the Botanic Gardens, to include the Children's Fantasy Garden.

Other areas to explore include the Japanese Gardens and the new area, the Cottonwood Gallery, which explores the botanics of the bosque. The BUGarium is housed in a building just past the Butterfly Pavilion, near the pond. Inside, you'll learn about insects and bugs and their importance to life on earth.

The interactive exhibits keep kids happy, in addition to their fascination with bugs. 

If volunteers are available, the Railroad Garden will have the trains running. This is an area the kids really enjoy. And on some nights, there are volunteers at the pond with model boats, which are worth watching. 

Getting inside away from the heat and/or bad weather is possible in the Mediterranean Conservatory, which contains plants that thrive in the Mediterranean climate. You'll find olive trees and oleandars in the simulated coastal environment.

Take a picnic dinner and bring blankets and chairs. Food is available for purchase as well as alcoholic beverages. No alcohol can be brought in to the concerts.

Entertainers at the Ceremonial Garden area keep the kids entertained. There are also roving entertainers such as hula hoop artists. There is plenty of space on the grass, which seats about 2,000.

Cost

$10 for adults
$5 for seniors 65+
$3 for children 3 - 12
Children 2 and under are free.
Biopark members get tickets at half price. A season pass saves 25% off the regular price, and is good for all ten concerts. Purchase tickets at the BioPark or online. Tickets can be purchased beginning at 6 p.m. on the night of the concert, or from any BioPark cashier from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily.

Schedule for 2016

  • June 9--JeeZ LaWeez: Folk-rock
  • June 16--The Noms: Harmonic rock
  • June 23--Incendio: Instrumental world music
  • June 30--Darden Smith: Rock, pop, Americana, folk
  • July 7--Nosotros: Latin with rock, salsa, jazz and cumbia
  • July 14--Runa: Irish music 
  • July 21--The Blue Hornets: Reggae/ska
  • July 28--Liz Longley: Adult contemporary
  • August 4--Blue Canyon Boys: Colorado bluegrass
  • August 11--The Kipsies (former Breaking Blue): Acoustic/Folk/Americana
  • August 18--The Shook Twins: Indie folk-pop

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the concerts run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine.