Milwaukee County Parks
Press Release

Acupuncture, Massage, Tai Chi Demonstrations Slated for Culture Weekend, Oct. 14–15 at Boerner Botanical Gardens

This weekend, Boerner Botanical Gardens will be filled with demonstrations of the Chinese arts of acupuncture, tai chi, and massage.

By - Oct 10th, 2017 09:57 am
Demonstration of Tai Chi Ball Qigong (from the YMAA website, )

Demonstration of Tai Chi Ball Qigong (from the YMAA website, )

MILWAUKEE (Oct. 10, 2017) — This weekend, Boerner Botanical Gardens will be filled not only with dramatic displays of color, light, and sound, but also with demonstrations of the Chinese arts of acupuncture, tai chi, and massage. Culture Weekend is supported by Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens.

China Lights: The Magic Returns is a celebration of Asian culture featuring 50 larger-than-life sculptural lantern displays illuminating 10 acres of Milwaukee’s renowned Boerner Botanical Gardens, in Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI. The festival, presented by Tri City National Bank, also celebrates Asian culture with professional entertainment, a bustling marketplace, and a wide variety of food and beverage options. The event runs through Oct. 22, Tuesday through Sunday, from 5:30–10 p.m., with a 5 p.m. opening for people who purchase the VIP ticket package. The festival is closed Mondays.

Acupuncture & Self-Care Acupressure Demonstrations

On both Saturday and Sunday, Dr. Xiping Zhou, a Medical Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncturist, will present two short informative talks with hands-on demonstrations and question-and-answer periods. His programs will illustrate the Chinese Healing Arts, where traditional techniques meet modern science. Self-Care Acupressure and Massage will be presented on the Panda Stage at 7:20 p.m., and The Healing Power of Acupuncture will be presented on the Dragon Stage at 7:50 p.m.

Zhou was trained in China at HeiLongJiang University, where he studied both mainstream Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. There, he served as chief physician and full professor. Since the mid ’90s, Zhou has practiced and taught in the Madison, Racine, and Milwaukee areas. In 1999 he joined the staff of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital as one of the first acupuncturists on staff at any Wisconsin hospital. He is founder and director of the East-West Healing Arts Institute and Dr. Zhou’s Acupuncture Wellness Clinic. He specializes in pain management, stroke rehabilitation, women’s health, and body-mind integration.

Tai Chi
Sunday, Angela Laughingheart, founder and director of Yang’s Martial Arts Association Tai Chi Ch’uan of Wisconsin, will give two demonstrations. At 6:50 p.m. on the Dragon Stage, Laughingheart will illustrate the Saber Form, where she will use a wooden sword to show the martial applications of tai chi. At 8:20 p.m. on the Panda Stage, she will demonstrate Tai Chi Ball Qigong. This practice uses wooden balls to condition the mind, energy, and body through movement and the breath.

Free Chair Massage
Saturday and Sunday from 6:30-8:30 p.m., three students at the East-West Healing Arts Institute will perform Tui Na, or Chinese medical massage, as chair massage in the Garden House. All work will be done under the supervision of one of the school’s licensed massage therapists. Visitors may sign up in advance for a free 5- to 10-minute massage.

Cultural Displays

In addition to the free chair massages at the Garden House, cultural displays and videos can be viewed. Examples of traditional Asian clothing are shown in display cases with additional small-sized clothing items available for guests to try on. Visitors may watch videos highlighting the making of the Porcelain Tower display, China’s natural beauty, history, and culture.

Professional Cultural Entertainment

Kicking off the entertainment, the Illumination Parade proceeds through the audience at the Dragon Stage at 6:15 p.m. and concludes in time for the first performance of the night.

Friday through Sunday, six shows are presented by the professional performers from China. Performances begin at about 6:30 p.m. and are staggered between the Dragon and Panda stages. The night’s schedule is posted at the Welcome Gate.

The professional acrobats, martial artists, and musicians from China offer a full range of entertainment. Some of the acrobatic feats, such as plate spinning or catching bowls on a unicycle require calm conditions. If winds are too strong, other professional acts will go on. One example is face changing, an ancient Chinese art form from the Sichuan opera. Performers wear thin masks that change with the passing of a fan. Another example is the demonstration of baji, a kind of tai chi that features explosive, short-range strikes. In addition, traditional Chinese folk music will be performed on the erhu, or two-stringed Chinese violin. The instrument, which is played vertically and has free-floating strings, is said to imitate the sound of thousands of horses.

Food & Beverage

China Lights food vendors offer a variety of Asian and Western food options from Kowloon Chicken to hot dogs. The vendors, in concessions areas near the performance stages, are Tanpopo/Greenfish, Lychee Garden, Zilli Hospitality Group, Gift of Wings Grill, Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds, and T. Best Kettle Corn Co. Beverage service in the concessions areas includes Tsingtao (a lager from China), original Ozeki Sake, domestic and premium tap beers, and wine. Non-alcoholic bottled beverages are also available.

Offering a cozy area with bistro tables, Ralph’s Wine & Sake bar serves beverages only—four styles of wine, Ozeki’s flavored and sparkling sake, craft sodas including Sprecher’s Lychee and Asian Pear, coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea.

Lantern Displays

Of course, the lantern displays are the star of the show. Even before reaching the Welcome Gate, visitors have been impressed by the Porcelain Tower. Here, the intricate work of Chinese artisans brought together 60,000 porcelain bowls, bottles, cups, plates, and spoons to create the nearly 40-foot-tall structure.

When inside the exhibition, visitors often find that each display is more magical than the last. Glowing flowers, swans, fish, and pandas emerge from garden spaces. Most dramatic are the 200-foot dragon and an accompanying phoenix with a long undulating tail.

To power one of the displays, youths can lend a hand—or, more precisely, their feet. In the Perennial Garden, a bicycle is connected to an elephant lantern, known by staff as “pedal the pachyderm.” Visitors can hop on the bike and pedal to illuminate the elephant.

One of the many displays providing visitors a photo op is the Love Gallery, an archway formed by a series of heart shapes. The display may turn out to be this fall’s most popular location to “pop the question.”

Photos from the 2016 Chinese Lantern Festival

The Chinese Marketplace
In the colorful marketplace, Chinese artisans create traditional handicrafts. Some of the crafts being demonstrated include name painting, rice engraving, inner-bottle painting, and aluminum weaving. Name painting combines calligraphy with vivid imagery to create a work of art. Rice engraving requires a microscope and a steady hand to carve a Chinese poem, a person’s name, or special wishes on a grain of rice. When complete, the tiny artwork is preserved in oil in a synthetic crystal capsule. Inner-bottle painting, also known as painting snuff bottles, uses a bent brush to paint figures inside a bottle, leaving the artwork protected. In aluminum weaving, thin metal wires are formed into ornaments representing flowers, dragons, and even motorcycles. The marketplace is more than a place to shop; it’s a cultural experience.

China Lights admission tickets are valid any night of the regular 2017 schedule. Admission is $15 for adults (age 18–59) and $10 for seniors (age 60 and up) and children (age 5-17). Children under age 5 are admitted free. For $30, a patron may purchase a one-visit VIP ticket, which includes early admission at 5 p.m., the mobile guide, a collectible Chinese hand fan which serves as the admission ticket to a private tour at 5:15 p.m., and optional participation in the Illumination Parade. Offered exclusively at the Botanical Gardens is a season pass, which allows one adult repeat visits for $45. Free parking is included with all admission tickets.

A mobile guide, which requires a cell phone for use, provides background information on the displays. The guide is available for $5 on-site.

Tickets may be purchased in advance on-line at, Boerner Botanical Gardens, and the following Milwaukee County Parks point-of-sale locations: Milwaukee County Parks Headquarters Public Services Office (9480 Watertown Plank Road), Mitchell Park Domes (524 S. Layton Blvd.), Brown Deer Park Golf Course (7625 N. Range Line Road), Currie Golf Course (3535 N. Mayfair Road), Dretzka Golf Course (12020 W. Bradley Road), Grant Golf Course (100 E. Hawthorne Ave.), Greenfield Golf Course (12035 W. Greenfield Ave.), Hansen Golf Course (9800 W. Underwood Creek Parkway), Lincoln Park Golf Course (1000 W. Hampton Ave.), Oakwood Golf Course (3600 W. Oakwood Road), Warnimont Golf Course (5400 S. Lake Drive), and Whitnall Golf Course (6751 S. 92nd St.).

Expedited night-time ticket purchases are available on-site at the outdoor ticket office.

While the displays are magical at night, they are beautiful during the day. Displays may be viewed unlit during the day for the cost of regular Botanical Gardens admission. Patrons may re-enter the Botanical Gardens for China Lights that same day by presenting their daily admission wristband and paying an additional $10.

Free Parking & Shuttle Service
Free parking is included with all tickets, and free shuttle service is provided from outer lots to the entrance. Before entering Whitnall Park, visitors will see notifications of parking lot availability. As the nine lighted lots near capacity, signage will indicate temporary lot closures. As parking spaces become available, the lots will reopen and signage will be updated. Signage on the eastern side of the park is located at three 92nd Street intersections, at Rawson, College, and Forest Home avenues. Signage on the western side of the park is located at three Whitnall Park Drive intersections, at College Avenue, 108th Street (Hwy 100), and Lilac Lane. Accessible close-up paved parking nearest the China Lights entrance is available on a first-come, first-served basis to people with disabilities who have state-issued disabled parking or disabled Veteran parking license plates, or the state-issued disabled parking identification card. Drop-off areas are available for Uber and taxis. Motorcoach parking must be reserved by calling 414-525-5603.

China Lights is brought to Milwaukee through the partnership of the Milwaukee County Parks and The Park People of Milwaukee County, with support from Travel Wisconsin. The event is presented by Tri City National Bank and is sponsored by We Energies.

For more information, visit

Mentioned in This Press Release


Recent Press Releases by Milwaukee County Parks

Milwaukee County Parks

Milwaukee County Parks Announces Initial Funding for Milwaukee Parks Foundation

More than $350,000 in initial gifts will support programming, infrastructure projects and long-term multi-park improvement campaigns that focus on racial equity across Milwaukee County

Park’s ‘Maptacular’ art project returns for second season

This year’s unique maps, which were revealed at a gallery night at the Mitchell Park Domes on Thursday night.

Milwaukee County Parks

Milwaukee County Parks to Open Outdoor Pools for the Summer Season

Pools will be open June 15 through mid-August

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us