Free and Fun! Essex County’s Holiday Lights Spectacular Shines Bright

rp_holiday-lights.jpgGet ready for the eighth annual Holiday Lights Spectacular! Experience more than 100,000 lights illuminate holiday-themed figurines throughout the Turtle Back Zoo and surrounding Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Look for illuminated figures of bears, tigers and elephants, along with holiday lights designed to look like wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. Several animal exhibits will be open, including the Sea Lion Sound, Essex Farm, Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve, Tropical Currents Aquarium and the Reptile Building.

Myrtle the Turtle, the mascot of Turtle Back Zoo, and several of his winter friends will be on hand to greet visitors at the Zoo. Photographs with Santa Claus will be available each night until December 23rd.

“We are offering free admission to make this exciting attraction available to everyone,” County Executive Joe DiVincenzo said in the release. “We also are encouraging our visitors to bring non-perishable food items, non-perishable pet food, new unwrapped toys, and new and gently used winter coats to help our families in need.”

Holiday activities available at the event have been expanded this year to include themed weekends. Displays, popular films, holiday music, crafts and animal presentations will be offered. In addition, ice carving demonstrations will be presented on Saturdays. Movies will be shown at 5 p.m. and will run continuously in the Sea Lion Sound Exhibit. The schedule for the weekend activities is as follows:

Friday, December 5, Saturday, December 6, and Sunday, December 7: “Frosty Friends: Celebrating our Cold Weather Residents” featuring the movie “Happy Feet.”

Friday, December 12, Saturday, December 13, and Sunday, December 14: “Merry ‘Grinch’mas” featuring “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.”

Friday, December 19, Saturday, December 20, and Sunday, December 21: “Welcome Winter: A ‘Frozen’ Celebration” featuring the movie “Frozen.” Princesses Elsa and Anna will be in attendance

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