Posts tagged events

Tis the Season…

November is here and it is almost time for my favorite zoo event.  Each year as this event draws nearer, I mark my calendar and call my friends in Columbus in preparation for a road trip.  I have found that attending this event is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season.


I am talking about  Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo.  In eleven days (November 20th) the Columbus Zoo will transform into a park full of light and color.  The spectacle is just what you would expect from the zoo ranked #1 in America by USA Travel Guide.

The zoo goes all out for the holidays and adorns every inch of their park with lights.  In an effort to conserve on energy, many of the lights have been converted to LEDs.

On weekends there is special holiday entertainment such as carolers and musicians for the public to enjoy.  Last year the Columbus Zoo even had a small ice skating rink for visitors to enjoy.  Hot chocolate booths located around the park complete the perfect seasonal atmosphere.

If you are a fan of the houses with dancing lights, the Columbus Zoo has taken it to another level.  They have created an intricate show using the lights on the trees, flowerbeds and pavilions surrounding the central lake.   All of the lights have been programmed to move in time to music that plays throughout the evening.  The time and energy that goes into the preparation of this spectacular show is obvious and well worth it.

Below is a video of the Carol of the Bells section of the light show.  You have to watch it all the way through, the end is amazing.

Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo

The lights aren’t the only attraction at the Columbus Zoo.  The animal exhibits are still open and decorated for the holidays.  Many times viewing is better during the cooler months since animals tend to be more active.  A nice thing about the Columbus Zoo is that many of the exhibits are indoors.  No matter how cold it is outside, there is always a place to warm up.

During the Wildlights season, the Columbus Zoo is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. on the weekends.  Wildlights begins November 20th and ends January 2nd.

Columbus Zoo isn’t the only one who throws a holiday light show.  The Toledo Zoo also holds a holiday extravaganza called The Lights Before Christmas.  This event kicks off November 20th as well and runs through December 31st.


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Zoo Haunts

I have always associated October with fun at the Zoo.  When I was little my family lived in Columbus.  This meant that as Halloween drew nearer each October, I would wait in anticipation for Boo at the Zoo.  The annual event held at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was always exciting.  Where else could you dress up, get candy and see animals all at the same time?

Boo at the Cleveland Zoo

Boo at the Cleveland Zoo

Today nearly every zoo does something to celebrate Halloween in a kid-friendly way.  Not only is this event fun for children, the adults have a good time too.  It is also a great way to showcase the zoo.  Families that have never visited the zoo before can get a first-hand look at all it has to offer.

Boo at the Akron Zoo

Boo at the Akron Zoo

A few years ago I was an intern at the Akron Zoo.  While I was there I was able to help out with the organization and execution of their Boo at the Zoo event.

In order to put together a successful event, it requires a lot of teamwork, organization and creativity.  Candy had to be purchased and organized, decorations had to be set up and the Communications Department had to get the word out to the community.

Boo at the Zoo usually takes place the last two or three weekends of October. At the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Akron Zoo, the zoos close to the general public a little early in order to get ready for the evening event.  Due to the popularity of the event, tickets are sold in advance and many times sell out.  At the Toledo Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, and Columbus Zoo, Boo at the Zoo runs all day and is part of regular admission.

Most zoos have fun decorating for Halloween.  At the Akron Zoo, different parts of the park have different themes.  Some of these include a pirate grotto, the old west and under the sea.  There are twelve themed stations in all around the park.

Dinosaurs! is part of Clevelands Boo at the Zoo

Dinosaurs! is part of Cleveland's Boo at the Zoo

Other zoos have special features as well.  At the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo they have extended their popular Dinosaurs! exhibit through Boo at the Zoo.  However, visitors do have the option to skip the exhibit if it is too scary for younger trick-or-treaters.

Watch the video below to see how Cincinnati Zoo keepers entertain visitors and animals by giving the animals pumpkins filled with treats.  It is enrichment with a holiday flair.  

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