Photo Gallery Friday: John Ball Zoo Lantern Festival 2023
For the past two months, John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids has hosted a unique event that is the first of its kind to visit Michigan: the Grand Rapids Lantern Festival. This stunning display featured more than 50 handcrafted lanterns depicting flowers and animals lining a one-mile path through the zoo. We had a chance to check out the John Ball Zoo Lantern Festival at the end of May and today we will share some pictures from our visit.
Tickets for the John Ball Zoo Lantern Festival were sold for timed entry from 7-9:30 p.m. in half hour time slots, with the zoo staying open until 11 p.m. Most of the zoo animals were not out on display during this event, but there was still plenty to see. As the night progressed and it got darker, the lanterns had a chance to really shine bright as the stars of the show.
This exhibit was put together by Tianyu Arts & Culture and now John Ball Zoo joins a list of more than 100 sites where lantern festival installations have been put on. This one had some things specifically designed for John Ball Zoo, like the hippos by the gift shop to help celebrate the arrival of the zoo’s new pygmy hippo. The entire last week of this exhibit had sold all of the allotted tickets by June 5th, which is just a small indication of how popular it was.
Some of the animals displayed here in lantern form were bears, owls, tigers, giraffes, meerkats, lions, red pandas, frogs, jellyfish, butterflies, and toucans. Some of the exhibits were interactive, and others helped teach visitors about Asian culture. A variety of special events and themed food offerings also took place during the lantern festival. It was really cool to get to see the zoo at night with these lanterns and we hope that another Michigan zoo gets the chance to host something like this in the future! Enjoy these photos from our visit: