What are the dates for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular event?
Thursday, October 2 through Sunday, November 2, 6pm - 11pm, with the last admission at 10pm. On Saturdays, admission will be extended an hour, with the last admission at 11pm, and the trail closing at 12am.
Please note, admission opens at 6pm, but the trail will not be open to the public until dusk to ensure the best viewing for our guests.
How much are the admission tickets for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?
Monday -Thursday nights: adults $12, seniors (62+) $10, children age 3-12 $9
Friday through Sunday nights: adults $16, seniors (62+) $14, children age 3-12 $13
Children age 2 and under are admitted free.
Can I use my credit card to buy Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular tickets?
Yes, we will accept VISA, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover cards.
Can I buy my tickets for the Spectacular in advance?
Individual tickets may be purchased at the Zoo admissions gate from 10am - 3:30pm for use the same evening.
Ticket booths reopen at 6pm, so people may also purchase tickets at the door when they arrive.
Can I purchase a combination ticket for the Zoo and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?
No, combination tickets are not available. However, if you come to the Zoo during the day, you can also purchase tickets for the Spectacular for use on that same date. By coming to the Zoo early, you’ve got a better chance at being at the front of the line for the Spectacular in the evening!
I have a Zoo discount (or promotion) coupon. Can I use it to buy my Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular tickets?
No. Since this is a special fundraiser for the Zoo, which is a nonprofit organization, no discounts will apply except the one for RWP Zoo members.
Are there any other discounts available for The Spectacular?
There is a AAA discount (on Tuesday nights only). AAA members who present their valid member card and a photo ID will receive $2 off adults and $1 off children.
There is also a discount for Roger Williams Park Zoo members: $2 off adults and $1 off senior and child tickets, 7 days a week, upon presentation of a valid RWP Zoo membership card and a photo ID.
Is there a fee for parking?
The Zoo has free nightly parking, which is available on a first come, first served basis. Additional parking is available on the street in the Park. Again this year, we will offer OPTIONAL premium parking for $10 per car. This will be available nightly in the lot next to the show entrance and exit gates. Again, this will be available on a first come, first served basis.
What nights have the shortest wait time to enter the pumpkin trail?
It depends on attendance, which is often lower on Sunday through Wednesday nights than it is on Thursday through Saturday. Regardless of the day of the week, the line to get onto the trail is generally shorter either very early in the evening (be in line to purchase tickets by 5:30pm) or later in the night (in line for tickets after 8:30pm). Surprisingly, attendance tends to be much lighter on Halloween, and on the nights following.
Can I bring my leashed dog or any other pets to the Spectacular?
No. For the safety of our animals and guests, we do not allow pets of any kind on Zoo grounds. We do make exceptions for certified service dogs.
Can I take photos and/or videos of the Spectacular?
Flash photography, tripods or monopods may not be used as a courtesy and safety measure. Otherwise, yes you may take pictures as long as you do not impede viewing or the flow of traffic on the trail.
Are there stroller/wheelchair rentals at this show?
No. Stroller and wheelchair rentals are not available at night. However, if a patron is in need of a wheelchair, admissions staff will provide one at no charge. Wheelchairs are available on a first come/first served basis and the trail is fully wheelchair accessible.
Are strollers allowed on the exhibit trail?
Yes, strollers are allowed on the exhibit trail.
Is there an ATM?
Yes, there is an ATM inside the River Camp Sweet Shop in the Jambo Junction African Village.
Can I smoke inside the Spectacular exhibit?
There is no smoking anywhere in the Zoo at any time.
Where are the restrooms?
Public restrooms are located just inside the main entrance on the left, and in the Serengeti Market Cafe building (see the Zoo map for reference). Port-a-johns are available in the Zoo parking lot and inside the Zoo at the entrance to the pumpkin trail, and at the exit gate.
Will there be food, beverages and shops available, and will I be able to use my credit card?
Yes, all will be available for purchase inside the Zoo and usually will be available on the outside admissions plaza as well. All food and gift stands will accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover cards as well as cash. In addition, on the weekends you can purchase a meal along with your admission ticket and enjoy express entry to the trail. (Note: all the above credit cards will be accepted at the Admission booths as well.) More information here>
What are the directions to get to the event?
Detailed directions are available here>
How many pumpkins are there?
There are about 5,000 pumpkins on display at any one time, all lit with LED lights.
Who carves the pumpkins?
The Spectacular was founded in 1988 by John Reckner, formerly an Oxford, Massachusetts mail carrier. Mr. Reckner, his family and friends continue to produce the show which first came to RWP Zoo in 2001 and returned to the Zoo in 2009 after a 4-year hiatus. This team of professional pumpkin carvers, called Passion for Pumpkins, spends 6 – 8 weeks creating the magical display set on the Zoo’s wetlands trail amid special lighting and themed music.
How do they keep the pumpkins in good shape for this long of a show?
They keep carving and enhancing the displays throughout the life of the show – the carvers expect to go through about 20,000 pumpkins during the course of the 32 day-run. At the end, the pumpkins are collected and composted.
What is the wait time to get on the pumpkin trail?
The wait to enter the pumpkin trail can extend to two hours on very busy evenings. Children and adults who have difficulty dealing with crowds and wait lines may find the event challenging if the evening is busy. For these individuals, Halloween and the nights following would be the best nights to attend.
Is this show child-friendly?
This is a seasonal art show and as such it aims to delight and amaze, not to scare anyone of any age. Children who are sensitive to a lot of visual and sound stimulus might not be comfortable. In addition, it is highly likely that you will spend some time in line getting to the start of the Trail, and we cannot predict how much. Only you can know if this is suitable for your particular child.
Is the Spectacular weather dependent?
The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is open rain or shine, except in extreme downpours or unsafe weather conditions. Please check our website, Facebook or Twitter for last minute closing information.
Visitors are also advised to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly for the evening.
How long does it take to go through the Spectacular?
Once you arrive at the entrance to the Spectacular, near the bison exhibit, it takes about 45 minutes to walk through the show. Wait time to enter the show can vary, depending on attendance on any given night. On very busy nights the wait may be as much as two hours.
How many people attend the show?
Over 135,000 people attended the 2013 show, breaking the previous record of over 110,000 people set in 2012.
The Spectacular has received rave reviews and national media attention for the one-of-a-kind, family friendly seasonal fun it offers. People come from all over New England, across the U.S. and beyond to enjoy the Spectacular.
What happens to the proceeds from the show?
The Spectacular is an important fundraiser for Roger Williams Park Zoo. Proceeds from the event will support the Zoo’s environmental education and conservation efforts both locally and around the globe, plus Zoo improvements.
How do I buy Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular tickets in advance?
Tickets can be purchased at the main admissions from 10am – 3:30pm on the day you plan to come to the Spectacular.
How many people do I need to qualify for a group rate?
Groups of 25 or more people will qualify for the discounted group rate. If you want these tickets mailed to you, you must order them at least ten days in advance.
How do I purchase tickets for my group, and how much do they cost?
Tickets for groups of 25 or more can be purchased at Zoo admissions 10am – 3:30pm. However, if you want your group tickets mailed to you, they must be purchased no less than ten days in advance through the Group Sales office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group prices are $10 adults; $9 seniors (age 62+); $8 children (ages 3 -12); age 2 and under are free.
I have an RWP Zoo membership. Do I get a discount for the show?
Yes, Roger Williams Park Zoo members receive $2 off adults and $1 off senior and child tickets, 7 days a week, upon presentation of RWP Zoo membership card and a photo ID.
I have a reciprocal membership from another zoo. Do I get the Members discount?
No. The discount is only for Roger Williams Park Zoo members. Reciprocal memberships apply only for general Zoo admission.
I'm an RWP Zoo member but I forgot my card, can you look me up in the database?
Unfortunately, no. We do not have access to the membership database during the evenings. Members must have their cards and another form of ID with them in order to receive the Member discount.
I'm an RWP Zoo member. Can my guests, who are not covered by my membership, also receive the Member discount?
The discount is limited to exactly what's covered by your Roger Williams Park Zoo membership.
Can I buy an RWP Zoo membership at night at the show?
Sorry, no. Our computer program is limited to this event only and cannot process membership sales. Member discounts are available only to existing RWP Zoo members.
Is there express entry to the trail for RWP Zoo members?
No. Due to the high volume of visitors, we are not able to offer this.
I would like to purchase food, what are my options?
There are food vendors on grounds every night of the week. In addition, the popular Harvest Buffet will be offered Friday – Sunday night. (Meal prices are in addition to the admission price for the event.) More information can be found here>
What does the Harvest Buffet prices include?
The meal price (which is in addition to your event admission ticket) includes your food, beverage and express entry to the pumpkin trail.
How much does the Harvest Buffet cost?
In addition to admission into the Spectacular, prices for the Harvest Buffet are $25 adults; $13 children ages 3 – 12. No charge for children age 2 and under.
What is served at the buffet (offered Fridays – Sundays until 10/31/14)?
The menu includes* chef’s choice soup, tender roasted BBQ pulled pork, oven roasted turkey with country gravy, cranberry sauce, charbroiled hamburgers, grilled hot dogs, herb stuffing, sour cream mashed potatoes, maple glazed butternut squash, buttery corn bread, warm apple crisp, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, bottled water, and assorted soft drinks.
*menu selections subject to change
When can I purchase my meal?
Between 5 and 7pm at Zoo admissions.
Can I buy meal tickets in advance?
If you come to the Zoo during regular Zoo hours on Friday through Sunday (10am – 3:30pm), you will be able to purchase Buffet tickets for use on that same evening. Get the details here>
Can I buy my meal tickets with a credit card?
Yes, we will accept VISA, Mastercard, AmEx and Discover cards.
Why do you no longer offer meal options every night of the week?
The Spectacular experiences a lower attendance rate during the week. For that reason, we no longer offer meal options from Monday through Thursday. There are, however, food carts available each night of the week for the purchase of small items.