WildLanterns produced its debut previous year at Woodland Park Zoo with spectacular illuminated lantern sculptures. It was so preferred that tickets marketed out about the holidays and the zoo extended the show’s run for an additional two weeks.
For just one point, everyone was determined for a little holiday cheer to delight in safely and securely outdoors. And the zoo was only open up at 25% ability. Continue to, that is 76,000 persons who came to see final year’s show.
WildLanterns is again at Woodland Park Zoo, starting up Nov. 12. What’s distinctive about this year’s present?
“It’s more substantial. It is far better. It’s model-new. It is bigger than everyday living, and it is heading to be totally distinctive from what you noticed last calendar year,” mentioned Michele Smith, the zoo’s main economical officer.
Smith and her staff hand-picked each and every specific lantern all of them are new for this year, and some of them ended up even built exclusively for Woodland Park Zoo. There’s a area devoted to creatures of the earlier (dinosaurs and woolly mammoths), a mysterious forest with tigers and jaguars, animals from the Pacific Northwest and colorful vegetation and pollinators. Many of the lanterns mirror the animals that in fact reside at the zoo: porcupines, flamingos, bats, butterflies and snow leopards, to identify a handful of.
This year’s party makes a stage of highlighting Chinese culture. WildLanterns is scheduled to operate as a result of Jan. 30, 2022, just prior to the start of the Lunar New Year on Feb. 1. And this celebration time period usually culminates with — you guessed it — a lantern competition. (The lanterns are created by Tianyu Arts & Culture, a Chinese lantern pageant producer.) Look for a 200-foot-extended dragon, a total military of terracotta warriors and lanterns honoring the Yr of the Tiger.
Also new this 12 months are are living cultural performances: Chinese people dances, kung fu, lion dances and far more. There will be two or three shows each individual evening, jogging about 20 minutes extended. There will also be keeper talks that includes animals this sort of as raccoons, skunks, owls and snakes. You are going to see an interactive zone with new selfie stations, gentle-up swings, and a smoke bubble and smoke cannon.
Almost a year later on, my little ones are nevertheless speaking about the spinning mirrored space from the first WildLanterns. I requested Smith if we’d see it again.
“That’s not coming back,” she stated. “I’ve received stuff that is even greater. Very last 12 months was just the suggestion of the iceberg.”
The matter is, this time final 12 months, we were being still in the early levels of the pandemic and there were being a great deal of unknowns. The zoo wanted to steer clear of individuals touching points, and Smith did not get all the lanterns she preferred since of delays all over the globe. It was a superior demonstrate, centered on the conditions. But this yr, she promises, will be a whole-blown demonstrate.
All the pieces of WildLanterns are here and prepared to go. They had been shipped about in June, sidestepping the entire port debacle. “We realized from previous 12 months,” Smith said. “I was 20 steps in advance of that like a outrageous human being.”
Like final yr, you will need to obtain a ticket online for timed entry, and you can remain as long as you want as soon as you’re within. We advise supplying yourself two to 3 hrs to take pleasure in all the lanterns — the present usually takes up the total 92-acre footprint of the zoo, with large lanterns dotted all over. The celebration goes on rain or glow, and tickets are nonrefundable. If you’re hungry or thirsty, food items and drink will be offered for acquire. We took just one for the group and style-analyzed the doughnuts and very hot chocolate we weren’t dissatisfied.
Compared with very last year, the zoo is open up at full capability this yr. And for each the King County mandate, all people 12 and up will have to have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR exam taken in 72 several hours. Masks are demanded for anyone 5 and up, indoors and outdoors.
Woodland Park Zoo shelved its homegrown WildLights show to action up its recreation when Enchant entered the Seattle scene. Enchant, of system, was the holiday getaway gentle extravaganza held in T-Mobile Park prior to the pandemic set the kibosh on huge functions.
WildLanterns tickets are not low-priced: just about $31 for teens and grownups, $26 for little ones. Individuals costs are a tiny much easier to swallow when you believe about your money heading to treatment for more than 900 animals and supporting conservation jobs.
“Everything is for the animals. WildLanterns is an critical fundraiser for Woodland Park Zoo,” Smith reported. “Every dollar that we provide in aids the zoo. The assist that we bought final calendar year was really extraordinary for us to continue on to continue to keep our doors open.”