CLEVELAND — While COVID-19 canceled events, concerts and camps, one northeast Ohio tradition is back and bigger than ever! The Asian Lantern Festival opens Wednesday evening to kick off its third year.
Throughout the zoo, you’ll see more than 1,000 illuminated lanterns and more than 70 never-before-seen displays.
Kelly Manderfield, the chief marketing officer for Cleveland Metroparks, said each display is unique.
“They all have a name. They all have a story and you get to see your favorite animals after dark,” said Manderfield.
There will also be acrobatic performances and culturally-inspired cuisine.
While things look like they’re back to normal at the zoo, there’s still measures in place to ensure the staff, guests and animals are safe.
All staff will be wearing masks, guests are asked to wear them, too. There are markers on the ground reminding everyone to practice social distancing. There will be one-way directional flow through the event, hand washing stations, and frequent sanitation of high-touch surfaces.
Manderfield said the Asian Lantern Festival was a huge hit for the zoo these past couple of years, and they wanted to bring that joy back to people throughout northeast Ohio.
“One of the things we continue to hear is guests love coming after hours, in the dark, and seeing animals at different time of day,” said Manderfield. “We didn’t know what kind of response we were going to see and the community just loved it and embraced it. This is a unique celebration of culture and unlike any other special event in Northeast Ohio."
To allow for social distancing, there will be a limited number of tickets available each night of Asian Lantern Festival and advance reservations are strongly recommended.
The limited time, after-hours event will run Wednesday through Sunday evenings 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. July 8 through Aug. 23. A ticket to the festival will also get you into the Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit featuring more than two dozen animatronic dinosaurs.
Guests can save money by purchasing in advance. The cost for zoo members is $18 per ticket and $20 for non-members. Tickets are on sale now here.