By day it is the Tropical Botanical Garden of Belém, by night it is an illuminated world of fantasy. All is quiet and calm in the streets of Belém. But as night falls, the big wild animals in the neighbourhood’s botanical garden start to come out. You may hear the lions roaring, the leopard hunting, the dinosaurs squealing or the calls of the cranes. All of these creatures are, however, automated, and illuminated. Family owned and operated business presents, Magical Garden.

Follow fellow travelers Lia, Leo, and their dog Lux, for an hour-long stroll for a journey around the world in this luminous wonderland. The trip starts at the Welcome Rainbow, followed by Golden Egypt. As you walk past the wolves, antelopes, and dromedaries of North Africa, the creatures will move their heads, following your step all the way until the Tree of Life. This big old trees serves as a canvas for the colourful and bold lights that hypnotise you in a very chilling way. You would be unable to take your eyes off of it, if it wasn’t for the squacks of nearby peacocks, attracting you towards the leopard’s cave, passing the giant bright orchids.

The Magical Garden is truly a fairy wonderland for kids - as well as your own inner child - mesmerised by all the lights and sounds of creatures from far away, or imaginary, places. The enlightened leopard, with its gleaming fake fur, strutting atop his cave, points you to your next destination: Mysterious China. Just like the Portuguese did, during their colonial days, pass through the Portic of Macau to enter this new enchanting land of white lights reflected from the pond water, little bridges and cranes calling for each other.

After this tranquil heaven-like walk through Mysterious China, a blinding gate of light leads us to Mystical Japan and further ahead, until you reach the garden’s palace. This place truly seems magical and goes beyond just enlightening the botanical garden. At the palace, a three minute long video is projected on the building, completely hypnotising you with an animation of colourful leaves, animals and music. You’ll feel as though you are living in a Disney movie. Also animated are the azulejos down hill from the palace. Here the creators bring the garden’s traditional Portuguese tiles to life with light, creating an animation of the illustrated tigers hunting.

The creators saved the best luminous experiences for last. The Vibrant India area is a famous one. This interactive part of the Magical Garden detects your movements and projects them on a screen which generates color all around you like a digital Holi Fest. Lastly, your final destination alongside Lia, Leo and Lux will be Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs accompany you on your last stroll through the Tropical Botanical Garden, some squealing, some roaring from time to time, others simply being used as a shelter for the ducks that reside here.

Nearing the end, you don’t realise an hour has passed and your inner child wishes the journey would have lasted longer. However, when leaving the imaginary for reality, you’ll feel like you’re glowing as bright as the luminous animals after visiting such a delightful and bewitching dreamland. The Magical Garden is open from Wednesday to Sunday, as well as on holidays, from 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm.