The Illumination for Conservation Lantern Festival opens at Binghamton’s Ross Park Zoo and is described as nothing short of ‘breathtaking’.
Zoo executive director Phillip Ginter told Town Square Binghamton’s weekly local public affairs program, South level up close the display of more than 40 nature-themed luminaries throughout the Southside Zoo will be the biggest fundraising event this year and will also benefit several conservation groups.
Ginter says the lanterns aren’t those little globe-shaped paper things most of us are used to, but giant animals, plants, birds, and insects. Imagine this: illuminated butterflies flapping their wings!
The zoo director says the sculptures are almost as impressive during the day when they line all the shady forest paths. Visitors to the zoo during the day also have the option of purchasing discounted admission to view the lanterns in all their glory at night.
Although there are no spotlights on the residents of the zoo and the focus is on the lantern festival, the animals, of course, do not go anywhere and you can spot a wolf, a sand cat or a red panda as you traverse the incredible illuminated nightscape.
Illumination for Conservation supports such as the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, Red Panda Network and the American Wolf Foundation.
Meanwhile, Ginter says there are other exciting developments at America’s fifth oldest zoo as it becomes a true community resource and partner. The zoo is looking for various groups, nonprofits, and businesses that want to use facilities such as pavilions or even the 300-seat amphitheater. The American Civic Association is one of the latest groups to take advantage of the site’s facilities and will host the annual ACA Garlic Festival at the zoo this year.
Of course, the primary focus of Ross Park Zoo is animal conservation and education. Ginter says they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of some extremely endangered red wolves in hopes of starting a species survival breeding program with the ultimate goal of being able to release some of the rare animals back into their native habitat.
South level up close is heard weekly on Town Square Binghamton radio stations and can be found on the WNBF podcast.
For more information on Illumination for Conservation, Ross Park Zoo, admission and membership, go to www.rossparkzoo.org.
WATCH: Stunning photos of animals from around the world
From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife from around the world capture the stunning grace of the animal kingdom. The upcoming gallery expands sequentially from air to land to water and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes alone .