Chinese lantern festival
A Chinese Lantern Festival is coming to the Racine Zoo in the fall. Credit: Racine Zoo

RACINE, Wis. — In a first of its kind for the Racine area, the Racine Zoo and the Zigong Lantern Group are partnering to host the 2019 Chinese Lantern Festival at the Racine Zoo later this fall.

The festival will run a total of 80 nights between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. The Chinese Lantern Festival will be held between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. weeknights and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Specific festival dates are to come.

Chinese lantern festival
A display of mushroom lanterns.
Credit: Racine Zoo

Colorful and intricately-designed lanterns will look like pieces of artwork during the day, and will come to life at night as they are illuminated for all to see. Visitors to the zoo will be able to see the larger-than-life lanterns under construction during the latter part of August and in September.

There will be 26 different scenes comprising over 300 individual lanterns that will first greet visitors at the main zoo entrance. The displays will continue through to the south end of the zoo grounds.

“What a wonderful opportunity for the Racine Zoo to be partnering with the leading lantern makers in the world,” said Beth Heidorn, executive director of the Racine Zoo. “Take a stroll around the Racine Zoo and immerse yourself in the incredible works of art. From tigers, lions, pandas, exotic flora and a colossal dragon, Racine Zoo will be transformed into a world of illumination. To top it off, an array of food and drink vendors will make the Lantern Festival a truly unforgettable event.”

Heidorn said the Racine Zoo was approached by the Lantern Group out of China to be the site of one of their next Chinese Lantern Festival.

This fall’s festival at the zoo immediately follows successful events that were held at the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo, Gilroy Gardens near San Francisco and the Dallas Expo at Dallas Texas fairgrounds. The Racine Zoo will be the first Midwest zoo for the Zigong Lantern Group’s famous festival.

The Zigong Lantern Group is the largest industry group of its kind engaged in lantern culture innovation, ranking the top one in overseas market.