Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

By: Sara Warden 

2 min read December 2019 — During the Christmas season, electricity usage skyrockets as homes, businesses and local authorities light up the streets with Christmas displays and twinkling lights sure to make even the coldest hearts feel festive. This year, Philadelphia Zoo is getting in on the action with its inaugural LumiNature festival. 

After two years of planning and a $3.5 million investment, LumiNature will take place from Nov. 20 to Jan. 5, featuring 12 immersive displays containing over 600,000 lights inside the zoo’s boundaries. “LumiNature will transform the Zoo from its daytime magic into a winter wonderland, immersing guests in a joyous multimedia light and music spectacular,” said Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer in a press release. “We will shine a light on the world’s elusive big cats and flamboyant peacocks, …all through the artistry of lights, media, sound and nature itself.”

Tickets start from a very affordable $19 for the night tour of the zoo while the animals slumber, where guests can see, among other displays, “lit flamingos … on their own 25-foot tree, a 35-foot polar bear made out of 23,000 pounds of recycled car doors … and all four seasons,” according to Shearer. The event, presented by JP Morgan Chase, promises 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake. “LumiNature is set to be the most unique and memorable holiday-season light extravaganza in the entire Philadelphia and tri-state region,” added Shearer.

The intention is for LumiNature to be an unmissable family experience each year at Christmas. The event is also expected to attract visitors from out-of-town, just to see the fantastical light and sound show. Hilton hotels partnered with the event to offer Hilton Honours Members a special gift when attending LumiNature.

Hot chocolate and mulled wine will be on offer to guests as they stroll through the zoo, admiring the 12 difference displays. Here’s what the event organizers say guests should expect:

  • Wonder of Slumber: A beautiful and dreamy setting of lit orbs and giant illuminated flowers.
  • The Dreamery: A wishing well of sorts with a wave of the hand, bubbles, lights, and steam.
  • Snake Awake: Slither through brilliant purples, blues and greens as a giant snake slithers along beside you…
  • Frog Fantastical: Color washes throughout the trees and water-like images appear on the path before you.
  • Color me Chameleon: A kaleidoscope of color fills this festive plaza inviting guests to shop for their favorite light up items at the Zoo’s very first glow bar.
  • Big Cat Stalk: As you meander through this path of tall illuminated ‘grass’, the stalking eyes of these frisky felines will appear and disappear making you wonder if you are what they are dreaming of.
  • Evergreen Dreams: Situated in this lovely outdoor hang out are some surprising trees that come to life as they sing and welcome you to LumiNature.
  • Seasonbration: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall all have a point of view that comes to life via lights, music, and special effects.
  • Northern Lights: A 35-foot polar bear named Polaris made entirely from white recycled car doors transforms into a gigantic screen that shares the magnificence and diversity of our planet. 
  • Flamingo Fancy: Guests will be surprised as they walk along brilliantly lit 8-foot pink “flamingos” when they encounter the most whimsical tree within LumiNature: a 25-foot beauty made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments!
  • Peacock Spectacular: Standing before giant, lit peacock feathers, people can get the most unique holiday picture of the season. 
  • Penguin Peace on Earth: Hundreds of illuminated penguins will fill the zoo’s lawn to bid guests farewell and wish them a very special holiday season in true zoo fashion.


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