Franklin Park Zoo lights up the night

Creatures mythical and real come to life at Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience through Oct. 11

Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick
A scene from Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo, which runs through Oct. 11, 2021.

Adrian Schick and Katherine Schick

From peacocks to pandas, camels to crabs, the Franklin Park Zoo has it all in its new exhibit, Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience. The special addition, which runs through Oct. 11 (6-10:30 p.m.), combines both flora and fauna from all over the world, with hints of Asian culture. 

But not a single animal is really there.

A scene from Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo, which runs through Oct. 11, 2021. (Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

In fact, none of the past animal enclosures are in use along the route of the exhibit. No, this exhibit is something far more spectacular: A light show, with props and animatronics resembling creatures never before seen by human eyes: Dinosaurs, mammals long extinct, mythical creatures, and more. Boston Lights offers a glowing experience through one-of-a-kind electrical engineering.

The new addition begins with a throwback like no other: Dinosaurs! Right off the bat, the exhibit begins with an LED-filled, 87-foot-long tunnel made to look like the mouth of a tyrannosaurus rex! From there, you encounter raptors with jaws that move, a stegosaurus, and not one, but two selfie booths!

A scene from Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo, which runs through Oct. 11, 2021. (Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

Further down the path are wondrous sights never before gazed upon: Mythical creatures. Hybrids of animals line the path, both mythical and real, including a scaled, dragon-headed horse, a winged ram, and a two-tailed, bearded tiger. Here, the Asian cultural flair and influence clearly comes through. 

After supernatural wonders, the smaller attractions make way for the showstoppers of the exhibit. Among these are a glowing field of pandas and lotus trees, multiple halls of hanging Chinese lanterns, and a tree of giant, animatronic songbirds. Oh, and a dazzling, multicolored, 164-foot-long phoenix.

Boston Lights then comes to a no-less-stunning final stretch of miscellaneous creatures. These include fiery bison and bears, frogs larger than an adult human, giant spiders, winding snakes, a three-part animatronic crane, a tunnel of giant lotus petals, and a massive, color-changing peacock.

A scene from Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo, which runs through Oct. 11, 2021. (Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

Last but definitely not least, the exhibit goes under the sea. Beginning with a stunning, aqua-green whale, the addition shows turtles, deep-blue jellyfish, a giant crab with moving legs and pincers, and more creatures of the deep, all with “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid” playing in the background. 

As visitors pass through an icy tunnel of penguins and creatures of the frigid, frozen poles, the exhibit comes to a close.

The elaborate exhibit is enjoyable for the whole family, as anyone can marvel at the intricate designs. The walk involves 65 million years of life over every continent, and spans 72 acres through the zoo, allowing for a full and entertaining evening. With places to take photos and interactive activities centered around some of the animals, visitors will feel like they are part of this dazzling world. 

(More information and ticket reservations can be found by clicking HERE, or by going to www.zoonewengland.org.)

A scene from Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience at Franklin Park Zoo, which runs through Oct. 11, 2021. (Raider Times photo / Adrian Schick)

–Oct. 7, 2021–