New Mexico BioPark Society’s 27th Annual

Presented by 
TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling

November 30 – December 30, 2024

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden

2601 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

We want to thank our 2023 River of Lights Sponsors

And a special thank you to our presenting sponsor and your Albuquerque plumber, TLC Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.

What is River of Lights?

Who We Are and What We Do.

Guests at River of Lights can walk through the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden and experience over 700 intricately designed and constructed sculptures, light displays, and millions of twinkle lights.

River of Lights was started in 1997 by the New Mexico BioPark Society (NMBPS), the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the ABQ BioPark Zoo, Aquarium, Botanic Garden, and Tingley Beach. In its inaugural year, River of Lights attracted 32,000 visitors with 30 rented light displays. Now, the event has grown to be New Mexico’s largest holiday light show, with an attendance of over 120,000 and raising over $1 million in 2022.

River of Lights is the New Mexico BioPark Society’s top annual fundraising event and Albuquerque’s number-one holiday destination.

Creating River of Lights.

Preparing for River of Lights is a year-round job, and the event shines brighter every year. The New Mexico BioPark Society employs three full-time craftsmen. Before each holiday season, new sculptures and displays are created, more twinkle light strands are added, and old favorites are re-lit to give them new life.

Every sculpture in our River of Lights collection is hand-welded and strategically lit by our dedicated artists. They start with a small toy or concept, conceptualize it and transform it into a flat or 3D masterpiece. The team will then create a color scheme and carefully attach rope lights around each curve and corner of the sculpture. Not all of our sculptures are static displays. Some appear to be running, jumping, flying, and chomping – you can almost say our sculptures are living pieces of art!

Did You Know?

  • We have over 800 light displays and animated sculptures ranging from a 1-foot flower to a 30-foot Brachiosaurus.
  • To make a 1-foot sculpture takes an average of six hours, whereas the Brachiosaurus took nearly 600 hours.
  • Setup starts in mid-September, and it takes a crew of 10 to place sculptures and twinkle light the Botanic Garden.
  • All of our sculptures are stored in two giant warehouses and four storage containers.
  • Many of our sculptures are created in pieces for easy installation and storage.
  • You can see our first-ever hand-made sculpture – the flat panel saguaro cactus.
  • You can search for our first-ever 3D sculpture – the yucca cactus.
  • Our first T-Rex was modeled after a wind-up toy.
  • We use over 100,000 zip ties annually to attach rope lights to our sculptures.
  • There are over 200 miles of twinkle lights scattered through the Botanic Garden.
  • Over 12 miles of extension cords are running electricity to all our sculptures and twinkle lights.

Contact Us

Thank you for your questions and feedback in advance.

Box office hours are available Monday – Saturday. You can fill out the form, and an associate will return your message within 24 hours (excluding Sundays). Please include your name, contact number, and your order confirmation number.

Special Note: Please be cautious of individuals selling fake tickets to this year’s event. Our event requires timed tickets; we strongly discourage you from purchasing third-party tickets as we cannot confirm the legitimacy of your purchase.

For media inquiries or photo usage requests, email

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