Explore the Buffalo Bayou Cistern in Houston for an Unforgettable Day Trip

The Buffalo Bayou Cistern in Houston Presents an Exciting Winter Light Show

The Buffalo Bayou Cistern in Houston has once again captivated visitors with its latest winter light show, creating an underground dreamscape of light and sound that surpasses its previous installations. This immersive experience takes place in the cavernous space of the cistern, where 221 concrete columns stand tall at 25 feet high.

As the lights dim, patrons find themselves enveloped in darkness until vibrant colors begin to wash over the columns, creating a mesmerizing display. The gaps between the pillars transform into tunnels of flashing lights, evoking a sense of weightlessness.

Standing on the observation deck encircling the massive tank, visitors are completely surrounded by this choreographed light show. At the culmination of the performance, when applause or loud noises fill the space, a tsunami of light cascades through the cistern.

Expanding the Artistic Vision: Cistern Illuminated

This year marks the second annual Cistern Illuminated, a winter light installation conceived by Houston artist and engineer Kelly O’Brien. Building upon his previous work in the cistern, O’Brien has enhanced both the audio and visual effects of this unique art piece.

The Buffalo Bayou Cistern is an underground reservoir constructed in 1926, spanning an impressive 87,500 square feet. From within, it resembles a buried flying saucer and was originally designed to hold 15 million gallons of water for the city’s drinking water system.

After falling into disuse due to a leak, plans were made to excavate the cistern and convert the area into a parking lot. However, in 2010, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership rediscovered this hidden gem while developing a park along the waterway. The Cistern was opened to the public in 2016 and has since hosted various site-specific light shows.

Experience Cistern Illuminated

Cistern Illuminated can be found at 105 Sabine St. in Houston. The winter light show will be on display until January 7, 2024. Guided tours are available Wednesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Tickets are priced at $12 and can be purchased at buffalobayou.org.

Website Author’s Quote: “Discover the Enchanting World of Cistern Illuminated”

Website Author’s Conclusion: “Immerse Yourself in the Magical Winter Light Show”

1,681st in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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