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Holiday Lights Spectacular Returns to Turtle Back Zoo Nov. 29

Cynthia Cumming

Sunday, November 24, 2013 • 5:47pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The 2013 Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular returns to Turtle Back Zoo on Friday, Nov. 29. The seventh annual light show will feature 50 animal and holiday figures illuminated by more than 100,000 lights. Admission is free and open to the public. The zoo is located at 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange at the South Mountain Recreation Complex. Ample parking is free.

Turtle Back Zoo, located at 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange   Credit: Google Maps

“We invite the public to make this Essex County holiday tradition your family tradition. Turtle Back Zoo will be turned into a Winter Wonderland, with extraordinary seasonal lighting exhibits and costumed characters. Stroll the landscaped paths of our zoo and admire the illuminated images of everything from toy soldiers to penguins,” said Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. “Given the difficult economic times we are experiencing, we are offering free admission to make this exciting attraction available to everyone. We also are encouraging our visitors to bring non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys, and new and gently used winter coats to help those in need."

Last year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, more than 3.5 tons of non-perishable food, toys and winter coats were collected.

The spectacular will light the Turtle Back Zoo and South Mountain Recreation Complex with figures of bears, tigers and elephants, in addition to wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. As an added bonus, several zoo exhibits will be open, including the Sea Lion Sound, Essex Farm, Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve, Tropical Currents Aquarium and the Reptile Building.

The zoo's mascot, Myrtle the Turtle, will be at the zoo along with several other wintertime friends. Photos with Santa until Dec. 23 and the Essex County West Caldwell Tech Chorus, under the direction of Mark Beckett, will perform on Saturday, Dec. 14.

Hours 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Open dates for the Holiday Lights Spectacular are as follows:
  • November 29 and 30
  • December 1
  • December 6-January 1
    Closed December 24 and 25

The Carousel rides will be open and available at a cost of $2. Hot chocolate and other refreshments will also be available for purchase. 

This year's sponsors are: PSE&G, Covanta Energy, the Zoological Society of New Jersey and the Essex County Parks Foundation. For more information, please call Essex County Turtle Back Zoo at (973) 731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.



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