Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Press Release

For immediate release
Contact: Amy Hernden * 904.757.4463 ext. 211 * cell: 941.720.2538 * (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Lauren Baker * 904.757.4463 ext. 390 * cell: 904.553.5236 * (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ 2nd annual ZOOLights Shines Bright This Holiday Season

Dec. 13 – 31, Closed Christmas Day, Presented by Community First Credit Union and The Brumos Companies

December 09, 2013 - Jacksonville, Fl -

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will shine a little brighter this holiday season as thousands of LED lights are strung throughout the Zoo. The second annual ZOOLights holiday event takes place Dec. 13 – 31, closed Christmas Day. In true Florida fashion, Santa Claus will abandon his sleigh and arrive by airboat for the Dec. 13 opening. Media is invited to attend Santa’s special arrival Friday, Dec. 13 at 4:30 p.m. Please contact Amy Hernden for more information. Santa will be at the Zoo during the entire 18-day event to hear children’s Christmas wish lists.

Based on the success of the inaugural event, ZOOLights has doubled in size, featuring themed sculptures and artwork from community artists including The North Florida Sculptors, Yarn Bomb Jax, UNF and JU students. Fall in love with the magic of the holidays with activities such as “warm weather” ice skating, marshmallow roasting and nightly snowfall. Additional nightly entertainment will include a variety of dancing, singing, model trains and creative demonstrations. It’s all aboard the holiday-themed train for a special view of the Zoo dressed up in lights. Stop by the 4-D theater ride to experience a portion of the holiday film, “Polar Express.”

“It’s been such a pleasure working with so many local artists to bring exceptional, unique works of art to the zoo and gardens for this event,” said Bob Chabot, director of horticulture and facilities at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “This creative collaboration continues our efforts to incorporate the arts and the community into the work we do.”

While many of the animals will be nestled in bed with visions of sugar-plums dancing in their head, the giraffes, jaguars, and Lost Temple reptiles will be open for guest viewing. Stingray Bay will also be open for the event.

ZOOLights, presented by Community First Credit Union and The Brumos Companies, is Jacksonville’s premier holiday event for family fun and entertainment. The Zoo will run normal hours during the day and reopen each night for the special event. Guests can enjoy ZOOLights festivities Monday – Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Weekend hours will be extended to 10 p.m. Admission is $8 for members, $10 for non-members, and children ages two and younger are free.  Parking is free.  To purchase tickets in advance at a discounted rate and, for more information, please visit http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.

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About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and has the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo is a non-profit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  It is open year-round, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas day and is located on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95.  For more information on the Zoo, visit http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.