For Release: November 10, 2011
Communications Office (202) 633-3055
ZooLights at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo: Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Sparkling brighter than ever in its fifth straight year at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, ZooLights-- powered by Pepco--remains the only free holiday light show in the Washington-Metro area. With added dates and expanded hours this year, ZooLights will run the weekends of Nov. 25–27, Dec. 2–4, and Dec. 9–11, and every night beginning Dec. 16–Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25, 31), from 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Every night of ZooLights, thousands of environmentally friendly LED lights will illuminate the Zoo’s beautiful trees, walkways and buildings; and life-sized animal silhouettes, dancing trees, and festive holiday décor make this a perfect night out. Unlike other area light shows, the Zoo’s live animals offer visitors the unique opportunity to thaw their paws inside the exhibit houses and view the animals at night. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank and Kids’ Farm will be open every night of ZooLights.
“We are pleased and proud to offer free admission to ZooLights again this year,” said Bob Lamb, executive director of the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ). “As this annual holiday tradition continues to gain popularity, we’ve been able to add even more sparkle to the event--more lights, more action, more activities and a wonderful way to visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo during the winter months.”
For the first time, visitors will have a chance to skate on an “iceless” rink, sponsored by GEICO, at the Zoo’s Picnic Pavilion. Families will enjoy ice skating on the world’s best and most eco-friendly synthetic ice skating surface, composed of specially engineered polymers that permit skate blades to glide as smoothly as on real ice. This “green” high-tech plastic ice is made from a non-toxic, recyclable acrylic material. Admission is $5 for a 30-minute session. Skate rental is available for an additional $2. Visitors can also bring their own skates.
Special ZooLights activities and features include:
This year FONZ is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington to donate gently worn winter outwear, including hats, scarves, gloves, mittens and coats. Donations for all ages will be accepted, but the need is especially great for children ages 2-12. Guests can donate outerwear during the Zoo’s regular business hours and during ZooLights. Donation boxes will be located at all three gift shops and the Mane Restaurant.
No tickets are required for entrance to ZooLights. A flat-rate parking fee of $9 for FONZ members and $16 for nonmembers will apply. All proceeds from ZooLights concessions and parking sales will benefit a variety of Zoo wildlife conservation programs and initiatives, from educational opportunities to new and improved animal exhibits, to conservation science research projects.
For more details about the event, visit the Zoo’s website. ZooLights is supported by a generous donation from Pepco. Other sponsors include: ABC 7 /WJLA-TV, Booz Allen Hamilton, The Coca-Cola Company, Comcast, FAMILY Magazine, GEICO, Giant Food, News Channel 8, SunTrust Bank, United Airlines, 97.1 WASH-FM, and the Washington Post/KidsPost.
To download photos of ZooLights visit the Zoo’s Flickr page.
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