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The Turtleback Zoo Holiday Light Extravaganza Illuminates Our Midtown Direct Community

by: Sue Adler
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One of the most beautiful sights every holiday season is the Turtleback Zoo Holiday Light Spectacular when more than 100,000 lights and 50 winter wonderland figures are illuminated.  You’ll enter the zoo and gaze upon a breathtaking scene.

Now in its 5th year, the show seems to get bigger and brighter.  This year there is no admission fee so that more Midtown Direct community families can enjoy the extraordinary magic of the lights.  The kids will have fun posing for pictures with costumed characters and illuminated figures of animals, holiday scenes and snowflakes – everything from turtles to toy soldiers and even Santa and his reindeer.  Many of the animals become more active in the cold presenting a good chance to observe the night habits of the various species.  In addition, the Essex Farm, Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve, Tropical Currents Aquarium and the Reptile House will remain open.

In lieu of admission, the zoo will collect non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys and new or gently used winter coats.  Last year, the zoo was able to donate almost six tons of food to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and present close to 1,500 toys for Toys for Tots and the Make a Wish Foundation.   This is the true spirit of the holidays and what our communities are all about.

The holiday light show is sponsored this year by Covanta Energy, PSE&G, MsLoone’s Boathouse, The Zoological Society of New Jersey and the Essex County Parks Foundation.  The Spectacular will run from 5 pm to 9pm on December 7 – 9 and daily from December 14 through January 1.  The zoo will be closed December 24 and 25.  Photographs with Santa Claus will be taken at the zoo every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until December 23.  The Turtleback Zoo is part of The Association of Zoos & Aquariums and one of our community’s treasures.

Remember to bundle up, bring your camera and head to Essex County’s Turtleback Zoo.  Hot cocoa and other refreshments can be purchased in the zoo’s cafeteria.  Light up the holidays this season while strolling the paths of the zoo and enjoy a memorable family celebration.  Visit their website for more information.

Wishing all a happy and peaceful holiday season.

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