On February 28, a 2,000-year-old tradition will bestow its light on Tampa Bay for Zoominations, A Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights. Advance tickets are now available online for this one-of-a-kind illuminating experience at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo February 28-May 31.
Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights Opens Feb. 28
TAMPA, Fla. (February 16, 2015) — On February 28, a 2,000-year-old tradition will bestow its light on Tampa Bay for Zoominations, A Chinese Lantern Festival of Lights. Advance tickets are now available online for this one-of-a-kind illuminating experience at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo February 28-May 31.
Zoominations is a nighttime event that carries a separate ticket from Zoo daytime admission. Zoominations tickets cost $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors (60+), $19.95 for children ages 3-11, and are free for children ages 2 and under. Combination tickets for daytime admission and Zoominations will be available for purchase at a later date.
Construction of the festival is well underway by a team of 40 highly-skilled craftsmen and women from the village of Zigong, the birthplace of the Chinese Lantern Festival. The materials and equipment needed to build the artistic masterpieces filled eight semi-trailers.
One of the first structures to take shape is a replica of the Manfeilong Pagoda, also known as the White Pagoda or Bamboo Shoot Pagoda, a nearly 1,000-year-old landmark in the Yunnan Province of China. The original structure reaches a height of 16 meters (60 feet) at its tallest point, and the Zoominations replica will measure a similar height. Craftsmen are assembling the Pagoda from 10,000 pieces of traditional blue and white porcelain – each meticulously applied by hand.
The ancient art of lantern making requires years of study in the trade combined with modern technologies. Individual structures will be assembled into 30 spectacular scenes over 26 acres of the Zoo, representing traditional Chinese themes from nature to folklore and groups of larger-than-life Zoo animals like elephants and rhinos.
In China, the Lantern Festival is held on the last day of the Chinese New Year celebration (falling on March 5 in 2015). It is one of the country’s most important traditional festivals, tracing back to the Han Dynasty more than 2,000 years ago.
Anticipated to be one of the largest lantern festivals held in the U.S., Zoominations will also feature performances by Chinese acrobats and an artisan market with unique handmade crafts. Visit www.TampaLanternFest.org for more information or to purchase tickets. Find updates on Zoominations on Facebook and images on Flickr.