Potter Park light show marks 25th year
By Shauna Stocken
Editor in Chief
Among familiar animal encounters, Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo is illuminated in thousands of lights for the 25th annual “Wonderland of Lights” event.
In addition to regular business hours, “Wonderland of Lights” runs each Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. until Dec. 30.
“The entire zoo is decorated with Christmas lights,” said Rebecca Morningstar, high school instructor for Potter Park Zoo.
“It’s really great to be out with the animals in that kind of unique experience, and then we have cookies to decorate; we have live animal encounters and crafts.”
Lansing couple Zach and Adele Simmons took part in the festivities with their daughters, ages 1 and 3, on Nov. 30. The family began the visit with a trip to see Santa.
“This is definitely an iconic spot for Lansing,” Adele said. “I’ve been coming here since I was a child, so it’s something we want our girls to remember as they get older.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with children and host a craft table on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the entire event.
Lansing residents and first-time “Wonderland of Light” visitors Hillary and Matthew Platte brought their daughter to the zoo, Nov. 30.
“She really likes the zoo,” Hillary said. “This is probably the sixth time she’s gone to the zoo since we’ve had her and she’s only 11 months old. She really likes animals and lights, so I was like, ‘This is a combination of both.’”
According to Ruby Bellosillo, admission and parking manager for Potter Park Zoo, the practice of the “Wonderland of Lights” also includes a day of charity each year.
“The Toys for Tots and Marines need help for the kids for Christmas,” Bellosillo said. “Everyone that will come to the zoo with a toy receives one free admission.”
The Toys for Tots collection is Dec. 7. Free admission requires the donation of one new and unwrapped present per guest.
Admission to the zoo costs $7 per adult and $5 for each child over the age of 3. Parking is free.
Morningstar shared how the profits from the “Wonderland of Lights” benefit the zoo and guests year-round.
“All of the money coming in through the society eventually gets back to supporting the zoo conservation efforts,” Morningstar said. “It also helps a lot of our endangered species.”
Potter Park Zoo is located at 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Lansing.
For more information on the “Wonderland of Lights,” visit www.potterparkzoo.org/events/.