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In a first of its kind for the Racine area, the Racine Zoo and the Zigong Lantern Group are partnering to host the 2019 Lantern Festival at the Racine Zoo.

The festival will run a total of 80 nights between October 1 and December 31. The festival will be held between 6 pm to 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays and 6 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The event will be closed on select nights. It will take place rain or shine. 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.

There will be 26 different scenes comprised of 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. Take a stroll around the Racine Zoo and immerse yourself in the incredible works of art,” Beth Heidorn, Executive Director of the Racine Zoo, said. “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 drinks 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 Lantern Festivals.

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 the overseas market.

Be sure to come out to Racine Zoo to experience this extravagant festival for yourself! The Zoo is located at 2131 N. Main Street, Racine, WI 53402. Individual tickets, group tickets, and season passes are available.

Tickets are available online at