LumiNature brings holiday lights and joy to the Philadelphia Zoo

Polaris the 35-foot polar bear greets everyone as they enter the Northern Lights at LumiNature.
Photo: Georgi Anastasov Photography

Get ready for a magical journey at the Philadelphia Zoo this holiday season.

The zoo has a brand new experience to add to your list of festive celebrations. Bundle up, grab a hot chocolate or cocktail and get ready to see the zoo come to life at night with a series of stunning light displays complete with music and special effects. Inspired by wildlife and plants, there are 12 different experience zones to explore on a winter evening.

LumiNature brings holiday lights and joy to the Philadelphia Zoo

LumiNature has been in the works for more than two years as a major investment for the zoo and will become a new holiday tradition for visitors and their families.

“LumiNature will transform the Zoo from its daytime magic into a winter wonderland, immersing guests in a joyous multimedia light and music spectacular,” Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer said in a press release. “We will shine a light on the world’s elusive big cats and flamboyant peacocks, lit flamingos will have their moment on their own 25 foot tree, a 35 foot polar bear made out of 23,000 pounds of recycled car doors will share the magnificence of our planet, and all four seasons will host their very own party…all through the artistry of lights, media, sound and nature itself.”

Luminature

Taking a walk in LumiNature

This experience is ready to dazzle visitors of all ages with more than 600,000 lights and a few friendly giant creatures. The experience’s dreamy entrance is a series of tall flowers and fields of light in Wonder of Slumber. The path continues to take you to the zoo’s interpretation of the phenomenal Northern Lights. Shimmering icebergs surround the impressive Polaris, the polar bear constructed out of recycled car doors. Stay to watch the transformation as the lights shine bright colors on the icy landscape.

In order to get the most out of the experience, it’s important to fuel up in the outdoor food and beverage garden in Evergreen Dreams. Drink options include hot cocoa, mocktails and adult beverages. But this garden has a twist: watch the trees come to life to serenade you while you get ready to continue your journey.

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The experience includes interactive elements that make the lights come to life. In Snake Awake, walk through a section lit with bright blues, purples and greens alongside a giant illuminated snake. A mouse will even pop up on the path and run away from the snake. In Frog Fantastical, use your eyes and ears to detect the frogs while water seems to appear on the path ahead of you. Cat lovers will get even more excited for Cat Stalk, the area where giant cats pop up among illuminated “grass” stalks.

You won’t miss what looks like a giant pink Christmas tree. The 25-foot structure is actually made out of flamingo lawn ornaments to match the rest of the birds in Flamingo Fancy. To wrap up the experience, 200 illuminated penguins wish you farewell with songs and an Instagram-worthy lighting display to celebrate the holidays in style.

LumiNature runs through Jan. 5, 2020 at the Philadelphia Zoo. Tickets are $24 for adults and $19 for children. Visit philadelphiazoo.org to purchase tickets and find more information.

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