Lights Used in Carlsbad Caverns Display

April 24, 2014

For a special Easter treat, I had a Mom-and-Son trip with my 8 year old.

I drove him to West Texas to stay with my folks and we all drove to Carlsbad Caverns for a geological field trip. (Because who doesn’t love a geological field trip?)

Owen was clearly prepared with a color coordinated jacket and helmet complete with a red head-light. (Purchased as a  souvenir on our last trip to the caves.) Let me just say, we were all relieved his light was red after experiencing the pure blinding white light of some headlamps belonging to some short people who couldn’t help but look you in the face as they walked by.  Actually, I think I’m still seeing spots…..  <smile>

The family had a fantastic time. After about 15 minutes though, we achieved young-boy saturation level of stalagmites and stalactites and Owen and I saw the rest of the cave at the fastest walk Owen could manage without breaking into an exhilarating and illicit run in a place where high speeds are precarious at best – and against the rules.

After successfully recalling the highly entertaining “red light, green light, yellow light” game of a few years ago, some in-born instinct to follow traffic rules slowed our tour down to a lively walk.

It was a stunning walk.  Truly majestic and amazing.

If you’d like more information about the Caverns to plan your own filed trip, check out the Carlsbad Cavern’s government website.

We finished off with a purchase of New Mexico Cherry cider in the subterranean snack bar while we waiting for the rest of the family to join us.



The cider was fantastic. It was from Carrizozo Orchards – a small business run by a married couple who relocated years ago from Nebraska to the Sunshine State. Mr. Niebaum is 81 years old and they are apparently still very much involved in the day-to-day operation of the business. With a sudden paradigm shift –  after this little bit of research – the $2.75 price tag didn’t seem so high after all. I even brought a second bottle home to share with Dave. For more information about the Neibaums and their business, check out this article.

This brings us to the reason why I’m writing about this trip in this blog in a light’s blog!

At the entrance to an incredible souvenir shop, there is a wonderful display about light pollution and it’s affects on wildlife. (Yes, I was conditioned at an early age to stop and read museum displays. It’s something you never outgrow.)

lights out display at Carlsbad Caverns

This diorama informs tourists about how artificial sources of light at night are messing with birds and bats. Who knew?



The cool (and lights related) part of the display was the background!  The curators of the project hung pure white wide angle LED light strings with green wiring behind 2 layers of sheer black organza. The effect is a wonderful simulation of a night sky.

The small lens shape helped make the lights into star-approximating pinpoints. For me, it was truly eye-catching.

With changes to the color of fabric used, this application would be great for other kinds of projects like these:

  • Store displays
  • Wedding Reception
  • Prom background
  • Backyard party
  • Reading nook

You have additional flexibility in the choice of different colors of LED light. You can see all the colors of wide angle light strings available at my website over on this page.

Have you used lights behind sheer fabric? Were you happy with the results? Share photos if you took them!

Have a Carlsbad Caverns story to share?

For more information on the effects of lights and bats, birds and the ecosystem, check out these articles:

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