It’s that time of the year again—time for Franklin Park Zoo’s highly anticipated lights event, A Lantern Experience. Due to popular demand, Franklin Park Zoo is illuminating its sidewalks and paths once again with new and bright lanterns and lights from July 23 to Oct. 11.  

For just around $21 a ticket, experience over 60 amazing exhibits and displays that catch the eye and awe of all visitors alike. From kids to adults to the elderly, everyone can enjoy and admire the beauty of the lights of A Lantern Experience. If you think you will be going with a group, take advantage of the four-pack of tickets for $72.95. Families, friend groups, clubs or organizations are encouraged to explore and enjoy this event together. 

However, you can enjoy this event with a plus one just the same! As I saw as I walked through the displays, A Lantern Experience makes for a unique date. 

Whoever you take with you, walking through the glowing tunnels of lotuses, cranes and cherry blossoms is entrancing and something everyone should experience. 

I loved walking through the corridors of sunflowers, my favorite flower, and being able to snap pictures as I went. The event overall is great for photos! The event attracts many from across the state and floods social media with its photos. 

There are displays for pure beauty and displays for awe, like their 87 feet long Trex tunnel.

Traditional Asian lanterns stretch along the paths, glowing in bright reds and yellows. Luminous animals and ocean life occupy most of the rest of the displays like cute little penguins, jellyfish, buffalo and many more. 

I know we have a lot of hard-working parents on campus and A Lantern Experience would be a fantastic night out for you and your family. I was walking through the sloth display as a toddler tried to pronounce and guess the animal with their parent. It was adorable and also made me take into account how this event is perfect for younger ages who are curious and want to learn more about wildlife.

Franklin Park Zoo does a great job at displaying biodiversity and highlighting this matter in their lights event. Although the event is for leisure, it does make most individuals focus on or learn something more about biodiversity and different ecosystems.

We see this in their 26 feet tall panda and 66 feet long shark tunnel, as well as their snow leopards and Blanding turtles displays. The zoo highlights these animals and their key role in their ecosystems. It is major that we conserve this biodiversity. 

Ecosystems are beginning to fail or falter due to changes in their habitat, prey, predators, etc. Humans are the number one cause of deforestation and habitat destruction/disruption. For example, around 18 percent of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has been destroyed over the past 30 years (1). In retrospect, that may seem like a smaller number. When you scale this data, you realize just how many animals, indigenous communities, etc. have been impacted by unethical and selfish practices. The Amazon is not only a huge oxygen provider and carbon sink for us, but it is also home to “approximately 40,000 species of plants and more than 400 mammals, with almost 1,300 different varieties of birds and an insect population in the millions” (1).

This damage has contributed to accelerating rates of global warming and climate change overall. 

A Lantern Experience highlights ecosystems like the Amazon rainforests and its inhabitants in hopes of shedding light on this topic.

Feel free to chat with a worker if you see one and learn more about the topic of biodiversity and its importance to our planet. 

Overall, the Lantern Experience is memorable from start to finish. If student activities are not selling discounted tickets, check online! No matter what, this event is worth paying for. 

  1. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/issues/brazil-and-the-amazon-forest

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