The County of Essex is gearing up for its annual Holiday Lights Spectacular, a massive display featuring illuminated characters, winter scenes and holiday favorites at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange and the surrounding South Mountain Reservation.
“We invite the public to make this Essex County holiday tradition your family tradition! Turtle Back Zoo will be turned into a Winter Wonderland, with extraordinary seasonal lighting exhibits and costumed characters. Stroll the landscaped paths of our Zoo and admire the illuminated images of everything from toy soldiers to penguins,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo said.
The zoo is located within South Mountain Reservation, 500 Northfield Ave. in West Orange.
Admission is free, DiVincenzo added, and attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, new, unwrapped toys and new and gently used winter coats as donations to families in need.
Over one million lights will illuminate 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, the county said. There's also a “Meet and Greet with Santa” Nov. 29 and 30, and Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 and 23.
Free admission to the Holiday Lights Spectacular will be offered on the following schedule:
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Nov. 22, 23 & 24 and Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1, then daily from Friday, Dec. 6 to Tuesday, Dec. 31, from 5 to 9 p.m. The spectacular will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.
For additional information, please call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.
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