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The Kiwanis Holiday Lights will illuminate the evening sky starting Saturday night at the Racine Zoo by the Walton Gate, but attendees might want to participate in Orangutan Awareness Day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Orangutan Awareness Day will teach attendees about the species. Children will also be able to make crafts and participate in activities.

“From 1992-2000, the population of the Sumatran orangutan declined by more than 50 percent and only an estimated 7,000 animals are left in the wild,” according to the press release. “It’s relative, the Bornean orangutan population fell nearly 43 percent in the past decade and estimates place their population at about 45,000 animals.”

Because the deforestation rates have continued, the actual populations are likely well below those estimates.

“Something has to be done to save orangutans before it is too late, and that is the reason for orangutan day here at the Racine Zoo. We truly hope you can be a part of it,” according to officials with the Zoo.

Afterwards, a lighting ceremony will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.

Throughout the month of December, people can see a 22-foot by 28-foot waterfall, which consists of seven sections. The illusion of movement is created by 3,000 feet of rope lights that have 33,000 individual LED bulbs. The display also includes a steamboat, animals, trees, toys and of course Santa and his sleigh.

Once the lights have been lit during the lighting ceremony Saturday, hot cocoa and cookies will be served in the Vanishing Kingdom building. Afterward, attendees can exit through the gift shop. This year the Kiwanis are selling ornaments, which will help offset the cost of the Kiwanis Holiday of Lights display.

“You can also take advantage of the Zoo’s custom-made holiday gift baskets, the perfect gift this year for the animal lover in your life. From blankets to toys, to bottles of wine or beer and Zoo memberships, the possibilities are endless,” according to a press release by the Racine Zoo.


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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.