Ion Art’s Surreal Garden — A Neon Wonderland Lights Up Zilker Park
A Psychedelic Art Exhibit That’s Just So Austin
By Deven Wilson
Photos courtesy of Ion Art
If there’s a source of the alluring glow that draws people to Austin, it’s the city’s continued dedication to neon artwork.
An art form that rose and fell in prominence as it became associated with the sinful nature of Vegas, Austinites kept a glimmer of it glowing. This revival was led by iconic locals like Sharon and Greg Keshishian, who started Ion Art in 1986.
The mesmerizing lights now lure people into exploring places like the Zilker Botanical Garden at Zilker Park to experience them up close.
The Surreal Garden by Ion Art launched in 2022. It returns for a second year, with 30 new additions to the original hundreds of neon works of art.
The Garden of Neon Lights
Guests enter the grounds descending the meandering paths of the gardens, and flickering neon artworks welcome them.
The course is far from straightforward. The glow from the art rewards explorers who trust their gut that more lies around the corner.
Be careful. The glimmer can lead down a path where a charming chandelier lures unsuspecting victims of a neon monster. Thankfully, its digestive tract is a psychedelic experience worth the risk of consumption.
A menagerie of magical glowing art works is centrally gathered in the open field of the Herb Garden. Sit on neon tubes, or slip into an Alice in Wonderland homage while neon meteors swing above.
Whimsical cages contain dancers and the periphery is lined with bars.
There’s More and More to See Here
The kinetic octopus greets guests with its human-powered tentacles.
Go left of the octopus and find your way to a garden of classic tiki bar-plucked signs.
Turn right and take a dreamlike tour of a neon zoo. Pink hippos bathe in the garden’s creeks as a glowing orangutan holds court over the grounds.
No matter your expectations, head to the Botanical Garden and prepare to be blown away by the talented take on this classic art form. You will walk away with a newfound love of the neon that lights up the city.
The Surreal Garden runs April 7 through April 8 and again on April 13 through April 15. VIP closing night happens on April 16.
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