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A Stroll Thru Central Florida Zoo’s Dazzling Asian Lantern Festival

A Stroll Thru Central Florida Zoo’s Dazzling Asian Lantern Festival

We heard back in September that the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens would be transforming into the Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild, an evening wonderland of lights, color and sound. Since we’ve always been a fan of the Central Florida Zoo (located in Sanford), we put the Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild on our MUST DO list.

Last Wednesday night, we were able to attend the limited engagement cultural event and we were completely dazzled!!!! It was a full sensory experience! In addition to the lanterns, there was live music, authentic Chinese artisans, and food trucks onsite throughout the festival.

Even before entering the main entrance, we walked through a vibrant path of larger-than-life moons and flowers. We joked that we didn’t need to go inside the gates … but the truth is, we’re so glad we did!!!

Once we entered the zoo, we saw 30+ larger-than-life sculptural LED lantern displays. All breathtakingly beautiful.

Every piece was handcrafted on-site by artisans from Tianyu (tē-än-yōō) Arts & Culture, Inc.

A crew of 30 individuals arrived at the Zoo in October to construct the frames, install the LED lights, cover the framework with Chinese silk, and hand-paint every detail of these awe-inspiring elements.

The crew did an amazing job! We saw flowers and plants …

… lots of awesome animals …

… and an array of traditional Asian elements …

… including a nearly 200-foot-long dragon. (This photo doesn’t do it justice. You really must see this whole exhibit up close and personal to get the whole sensory experience).

It was a truly mesmerizing and magical adventure. In fact, the two swans literally took our breath away with their beauty! We didn’t want to leave.

The Zoo has literally been transformed into a dazzling display of color, light, and sound. Our photos are only giving you a glimpse into this wonderland.

If you have the opportunity to go, don’t forget to bring your camera or iPhone/Android. Shhhhh … don’t tell anyone, but all of these photos were taken with our iPhone 8 Plus. We’re finding the days of dragging our heavy professional cameras are really becoming the way of the past. 

The Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild runs Wednesday through Sunday evenings from 6pm to 10pm through January 12, 2020 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas). NOTE: This is a separately ticketed event and is not included with regular Zoo admission.

General admission tickets are $18.50 per person. A special four-pack of tickets is available for $50.00. Tickets must be purchased for a specific date and will only be valid for admission on the date listed on the ticket.

More information is available at www.centralfloridazoo.org/lanterns.

Breaking News!!! 

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is now offering exclusive discounts for the Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild on select days throughout December.

“This is the first time we’ve brought this event to the Zoo and it’s the only of its kind in Central Florida,” said Dino Ferri, the Zoo’s CEO. “We’re excited for everyone in our community to experience it in-person. We want as many people as possible to be able to come out and enjoy it.

On scheduled discount evenings, those eligible will receive admission to the Asian Lantern Festival for the discounted rate of $15.50 per person for their entire party. Tickets must be purchased in-person at the event’s ticket table and are available as long as the event has not sold out for the evening. Discounts cannot be applied to tickets already purchased online.

Exclusive Discount Nights:

Thursday, December 12: Florida Government Employees Night

All Florida state, county, and city employees. Must present copy of state/city/county ID or proof of employment.

Sunday, December 15: Military, Law Enforcement, and First Responder Night

Military includes active duty, current guard/reserve members, non-active duty, retirees, and veterans. Must show valid ID and present valid military ID or DD214. Law Enforcement and First Responders (All Branches) must show proper ID verifying service.

Wednesday, December 18: Senior Night

Seniors include any guest over the age of 60. Valid ID required.

Thursday, December 19: Teacher Night

All public or private school teachers. Must present copy of school/teacher ID or printout verification.

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is home to over 350 animals in Sanford, Florida. As a not-for-profit organization, it is a leader in conservation, providing experiences that excite and inspire actions on behalf of wildlife. www.centralfloridazoo.org


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