By Lisa Ryan
Posted August 3rd 2018
More than 40 displays and hundreds of lanterns will light up the zoo from Thursday to Sunday now through August 19th. A 200-foot-long, 20-foot-tall Chinese dragon snakes its way across Waterfowl Lake in the middle of the zoo. An arched gateway at the entrance leads to an outdoor Asian-inspired street market selling foods and crafts from Asian countries. Cleveland Metroparks Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Manderfield says they wanted to make the immersive exhibit as authentic as possible. “We partnered with Tianyu Arts and Culture, they’re actually based out of Chicago, and they have a lot of folks that come in from China to help put together these lanterns and the performers and part of the craft market,” Manderfield said. “We knew that it was incredibly important that it was authentic and a great experience for our guests.” The zoo also worked with Johnny Wu, a local entrepreneur and business owner, who helps organize the Cleveland Asian Festival each year. The Asian Highlands exhibit opened at the zoo this summer and features snow leopards, red panda, and other species. The new exhibit is part of a plan to make the zoo more about conservation and education in an engaging way. The immersive Asian Lantern Festival is part of the goal to make the zoo more interactive. Each night will feature live performances based on traditional Chinese practices like plate spinning and dramatic dances. “We know a lot of our guests come here to create lasting memories with their family and friends, so we hope they come down, check out the zoo, create those memories, and really while they’re here, be immersed in the Asian culture, learn something about it, come and check out the new Asian Highlands exhibit, and really have a great evening here at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.” The festival has limited availability, so zoo officials recommend buying advanced tickets online for a discount.
More information is available here.