Animals Light Up The Zoo

November 26, 1993|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

How about a safe and pleasant stroll in Baltimore, to look at holiday lights?

The place, believe it or not, is in Druid Hill Park -- at the Baltimore Zoo, where workers and volunteers have set up thousands of lights in the shapes of animals.

Today at 6 p.m., singer Marie Osmond will flip the switch to open "ZooLights, a Holiday Wonderland at the Baltimore Zoo," where most of the animals on display are electronic.

"We're hoping she'll also sing a Christmas carol," zoo spokeswoman Jean Bochnowski said of the entertainer, who is appearing at Baltimore's Lyric Opera House Saturday in a national stage tour of "The Sound of Music."

ZooLights, running nightly through Jan. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is a fund-raiser for the zoo's conservation, animal acquisition and exhibit improvement funds -- and a bet by zoo officials that the public will travel to the park after dark.

Except for birds in heated displays along the old Main Valley promenade, the live animals will be in their dens. But the zoo will be alive with light sculptures of exotic animals, Victorian skaters and elves along promenades from the main gate to the Village Green.

Admission to ZooLights is $4 for adults, and $2.50 for children (ages 2 to 15) and seniors (62 and older), with discounts for zoo members.

Children under age 2 are admitted free, and parking in illuminated lots near the zoo gate also is free.

There is an additional dollar charge for a ride on the venerable ZooChoo train to Toyland, where light sculptures along the tracks depict traditional toys, including a rocking horse, tin soldiers and a jack-in-the-box.

A pavilion at the Village Green has been turned into Santa's workshop, with the Jolly Old Elf (or at least a reasonable facsimile) on hand to hear children's Christmas requests.

Some of them may be filled by parents shopping at the Wild Things gift shop.

"When we were talking about this, the big question was whether anyone would come to the park at night," said Ms. Bochnowski, as hundreds of people attended a ZooLights preview Tuesday night. "Hopefully, this is a good indication."

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