Zoo announces Bright Nights for the holidays

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The Utica Zoo is introducing Bright Nights at the zoo, presented by Baird, and will launch on Friday, Nov. 27, from 5-8 p.m. and run each Thursday through Sunday until Jan. 3, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Admission is $8, $5 for children ages 2-12 and military and seniors over age 62 are $6.75.

The zoo’s extended hours will offer nearly a dozen large light displays such as penguin pond, jolly snow family and farming elves invoking the joy of the season through traditional and fun holiday scenes.

Animation, bright lights, caroling, fireside pauses, hot drinks, food trucks and more will be enjoyed by all and is included with regular zoo admission.

The evening wouldn’t be complete without the jolly man in the red suit. Santa Claus will be at the zoo nightly along with a giant mailbox for letters to Santa. Santa will collect the letters each night at 6:30 p.m. in his sack and on Dec. 20, he’ll take them away with the help of the Utica Fire Department.

At 6:45 p.m. the reading of, “T’was the Night Before Christmas” will be offered. There will be limited numbers available each night and although included in admission, reservations will be required.

The Tree Top Gift Shop at the Utica Zoo will offer new merchandise for unique gift giving, the zoo’s winter snowshoe program will be promoted and if snow, offered, and zoo animal adoption and gift-tag trees will be scattered throughout the zoo.

Members get 50% off their first purchase of tickets for those listed on their membership using their member ID number. Purchases can include multiple dates. Pre-purchase of tickets is suggested and available on the zoo website.

The zoo will maintain its COVID-19 precautions to insure the safety of the animals, visitors and staff and to comply with the state’s executive order; capacity will be limited to 500 visitors on zoo grounds, masks will be required at all times and guests will visit the zoo in routes that ensure social distancing.

To learn more visit www.uticazoo.org/brightnights or call 315-738-0472, and to stay up-to-date on all that’s happening at the Utica Zoo, follow all of the Utica Zoo’s social media.

Bright Nights is sponsored by Baird, Bank of Utica, One Realty, First Source Federal Credit Union, McDonald’s, BME, Empower Federal Credit Union, Caruso and McLean Investments, NBT Bank, Mohawk Valley Wellness, AMP Medical Associates.

Sponsorship packages and various volunteer opportunity signups are available by contacting info@uticazoo.org.

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