Nationally Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo this October

Nationally Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo this October

Artful Display of 5,000 Pumpkins to Run October 2nd – November 2nd 

Twitter post:  Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI every night Oct. 2nd - Nov. 2nd www.rwpzoo.org

Providence, R.I. — The acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular presented by Citizens Bank will return to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence with shows running nightly from October 2nd through November 2nd. This highly anticipated annual event features a breathtaking display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns, with over 125 of them artistically carved and displayed in scenes to play out the annual theme. 

Situated on the Zoo’s picturesque wetlands trail, the event has won praise from across the nation for its amazing artistry and appeal as a unique, family-friendly autumn destination. Over 100,000 people have come in each of the past four years to enjoy the night time show, and last year’s Spectacular set an all-time record of over 135,000 visitors.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to once again sponsor the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, which continues to grow as a family favorite regional destination during the fall,” said Barbara Cottam, EVP, RI Market Executive and Head of Corporate Affairs, RBS Citizens. “This unique pumpkin display is a great event for people of all ages to enjoy, and we look forward to another season as the presenting sponsor.”

The 2014 presentation, titled “Jack-O-Lanterns from A to Z,” will delight new and repeat visitors alike. Scenes filled with intricate pumpkin art will be arrayed in alphabetical order, with highlights from history and popular culture. For example, D is for dinosaur, F is for fantasy, H is for Horoscope, J is for jungle, T is for famous thinkers, and so on. Another section will honor inspirational figures such as Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela.

Show standards will return, such as the childhood favorites and Halloween scenes, and the show’s dazzling grand finale, the Laughing Tree. Hundreds of glowing jack-o-lanterns on the ground and high up in the trees surround carved giants (well over 1,000 pounds) amid spooky fog and music, punctuated by its iconic catchy beat and laughter.

Crews from Passion for Pumpkins, the show creators, will spend several weeks leading up to the event creating the magical display. Then, they will work nearly around the clock throughout the 32 night run to keep the show fresh for visitors.

2014 Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular details: 
The Show will run rain or shine from October 2nd through November 2nd from 6 pm to 11 pm, with the last admission at 10 pm. The event will be extended one hour on Saturdays to close at midnight with the last admission at 11 pm.

The Spectacular is an important fundraiser for Roger Williams Park Zoo. Proceeds from the event will help to support the Zoo’s environmental education and conservation efforts both locally and around the globe as well as Zoo improvements.

Tickets prices on Monday – Thursday are $12 adults, $10 seniors and $9 for children ages 3 – 12; and from Friday – Sunday tickets are $16 adults, $14 seniors and $13 children ages 3 – 12; children two and under are admitted for free.

The popular Harvest Buffet will be available Friday – Sunday nights at $25 for adults and $13 for children. Meal tickets will be purchased in addition to Spectacular admission tickets and will include express entry to the pumpkin trail.

Groups of 25 or more may call (401) 467-0150 for advance reservations and group rates. (No individual advance tickets will be sold.) For more information, visit the Zoo’s website, call (401) 785-3510, or write to groupsales@rwpzoo.org.

Roger Williams Park Zoo is conveniently located in Providence, RI at exit 16 off Interstate I-95 north and exit 17 off I-95 south, about 1 hour from Boston and 90 minutes from Hartford. 

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular founder and history:
The Spectacular was founded many years ago by John Reckner, an Oxford, Mass. resident who recently retired from his postal carrier career. Inspired by a Vermont farm he had seen lined with glowing jack-o-lanterns, Reckner organized the first Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Oxford in 1988. The jack-o-lanterns featured in this first event were carved by local residents and displayed for only one evening on a hillside behind a local school. About 300 spectators attended. Today, Mr. Reckner, his family, and their crew of jack-o-lantern artists now known as Passion for Pumpkins, continue to bring the Spectacular to life.

Selected by the U.S. Library of Congress as a national “local legacy,” and praised as “…one of the most brilliant displays of holiday artistry anywhere in the U.S. (offmetro.com/ny),” the Spectacular has also been featured by Martha Stewart Living, The Travel Channel, The Today Show, The Early Show, USA Today and CNN, and hailed by the Associated Press as “extraordinary.” It was featured on abc.com as one of the “top 11 Spookiest Destinations” in the country. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular was selected by the American Bus Association as one of the nation’s top 100 events in 2013. The Boston Globe called the presentation “awe-inspiring.”

Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction and is also a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo has received numerous awards for environmental education, and conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction. Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence.
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