Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular lights up Roger Williams Park Zoo

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The good folks at the Roger Williams Park Zoo have outdone themselves this year with a Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular that, as proclaimed, is “Music To Our Ears.”

We have attended the show every year, and it just keeps getting bigger and better.

The zoo was forced to adapt the show to a drive-thru approach last year, which diminished its effect somewhat, but they sure made up for it this year.

Your stroll starts at the entrance to the zoo. You are greeted by a friendly group of volunteers who guide you down the zoo path, where food, drink and souvenir stands galore await you.

Some of the animals are out to greet you as you pass a plethora of skeletons and other scary objects before reaching the pumpkin pathway.

With a theme of “150 Years of Music,” the exhibit welcomes you with Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” The tunes continue with great ragtime music, a Christmas theme with snow falling on your head, up through rock ‘n’ roll, The Beatles and the music of the 2000s, which the teenagers will enjoy.

Carved and painted pumpkins hang from the highest trees, while others blend in with the surrounding natural environment.

The pathway is easy to maneuver, whether you are pushing a stroller or wheelchair, and there are a few benches along the way to stop for a rest from trying to see every one of the over 5,000 pumpkins.

Bridges over the ponds are lit with colorful displays, including the “Golden Gate” with Tony Bennett crooning in the background.

Give yourself a minimum of an hour, longer if you want to take photos and view some of the beautifully painted pumpkins up close.

Tickets for Prime Nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) are timed entry tickets only from 6 to 10:30 p.m., with last entry at 10 p.m. Adult tickets cost $21, while tickets for children ages 2 to 12 cost $18. Children age 1 and under are admitted free.

Monday through Thursday timed tickets cost $17 for adults and $14 for children. Take $2 and $1 off, respectively, if you are a zoo member.

Check on line for special events, like Family Fun Nights Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 and Superhero Nights Oct. 13 and Oct. 20. There are also Sensory Friendly Nights on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.

For more information and to purchase tickets – you must buy them in advance – visit rwpzoo.org/jols.

The exhibit is open rain or shine. Overhanging tress will protect you from light rain.

(Photos courtesy of the Roger Williams Park Zoo)

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