Jack-O-Lantern spectacular opens October 1st

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The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular will return to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence with shows running nightly from October 1 through November 1. This highly anticipated annual fall tradition features a breathtaking display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns, with over 125 of them artistically carved and displayed in scenes to play out the annual theme.

Situated on the zoo’s picturesque wetlands trail, the event has won praise from across the nation for its amazing artistry and appeal as a unique, family-friendly autumn destination. Over 100,000 people have come in each of the past five years to enjoy the nighttime show, and last year’s Spectacular saw the second highest attendance, with over 125,000 visitors.

The 2015 presentation, titled “The People’s Choice,” will feature subjects the public especially loved throughout the past 27 years of shows. Scenes filled with intricate pumpkin art will recall the “Phantom of the Opera,” the Golden Age of Hollywood, and other cultural and historic highlights. Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos Islands will be represented, complete with “active” volcanoes, and the 50th anniversary of “The Sound of Music” will be celebrated.

New this year will be the addition of light and image projections to enhance the scenery along the trail. Show standards will return, such as childhood favorites and Halloween scenes, as will the show’s dazzling grand finale, the Laughing Tree. There, hundreds of glowing jack-o-lanterns on the ground and high up in the trees surround carved giants (well over 1,000 pounds) arrayed in the forefront that are enhanced with spooky fog and the iconic musical theme punctuated by a catchy beat and laughter.

Crews from Passion for Pumpkins, the show creators, will spend several weeks leading up to the event creating the magical display. Then, they will work nearly around the clock throughout the 32-night run to keep the show fresh for visitors.

The Show will run rain or shine from October 1 through November 1 with admission from 6 to 10 p.m., with the trail closing at 11p.m. The event will be extended one hour on Saturdays. Tickets prices on Monday through Thursday are $14 adults, $12 seniors (62+) and $11 for children ages 3 -12; and from Friday through Sunday tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors and $13 children ages 3-12; children two and under are admitted for free.

New this year, guests will be able to purchase tickets for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular online at rwpzoo.org/jols-tickets. Those who use this new feature will be directed by signs in the parking lot to enter the Zoo through Gate 2, which is to the right of the main admissions plaza. This separate entrance will allow online ticket holders to skip the ticket purchase line, and head directly to the pumpkin trail line. For more information, call 401 785-3510, or www.rwpzoo.org.

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