Arts & Entertainment

Holiday Lights Spectacular Opens at Turtle Back Zoo

WEST ORANGE, NJ — After reaching its 12th-consecutive attendance milestone in 2016 with 795,558 visitors, the Turtle Back Zoo invites the public to the 11th annual Holiday Lights Spectacular, featuring 50 figures illuminated by one million lights both at the zoo and the surrounding Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Officially opened on Friday, the Holiday Lights Spectacular offers free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. each night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1, 2 and 3; and daily from Friday, Dec. 8 to Monday, Jan. 1. The Holiday Lights Spectacular will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25.

“We invite the public to make this Essex County holiday tradition your family tradition,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “Turtle Back Zoo will be turned into a Winter Wonderland, with extraordinary seasonal lighting exhibits and costumed characters. Stroll the landscaped paths of our zoo and admire the illuminated images of everything from toy soldiers to penguins.”

Sign Up for E-News

The zoo is also encouraging visitors to bring non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys, and new and gently used winter coats to help local families in need. Items will be donated to several organizations that provide assistance to the needy. Last year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, about 18 tons of non-perishable food, 3,600 toys and 4,600 winter coats were collected for the less fortunate.

More than one million lights will illuminate figures of bears, tigers and elephants, along with holiday lights designed to look like wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. Several animal exhibits will be open, including the Sea Lion Sound, Essex Farm, Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve, Tropical Currents Aquarium and the Reptile Building.

Myrtle the Turtle, the mascot of Turtle Back Zoo, and several of his winter friends will be on hand to greet visitors at the zoo.

In addition, special activities have been scheduled as follows:

Ice Carving: An ice carver will create a masterpiece on the amphitheater stage on Fridays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22. Come watch his progress.

Meet and Greet Santa: The most popular man of the season will visit Turtle Back Zoo on Saturdays, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 and 9; Sundays, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3 and 10; and every night from Saturday, Dec. 16 through Saturday, Dec. 23.

Storytime with Ms. Clause: Ms. Clause will read popular holiday stories on Fridays, Dec.15 and 22 at 6 and 7 p.m.; Saturdays, Dec. 16, 17 and 23 at 3:30, 6 and 7 p.m.; and Monday, Dec. 18 through Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. There is an additional charge for this program.

Themed weekends: Costumed characters will join Myrtle at the zoo to greet, mingle and take pictures with our guests. Visitors are encouraged to wear costumes to match the weekend’s theme.

·   Dec. 1, 2 & 3 – Classic Holiday Weekend

·   Dec. 8, 9 & 10 – Superhero Weekend

·   Dec. 15, 16 & 17 – Royal Princess Weekend

The Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular is sponsored by PSE&G, Covanta Energy, the Zoological Society of New Jersey and the Essex County Parks Foundation. Hot chocolate and other refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information, call Essex County Turtle Back Zoo at 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.

Turtle Back Zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Through Nov. 30, regular admission is $12 for children and senior citizens, $15 for adults and free for children under 2 years. Beginning Dec. 1, admission is $10 for children and senior citizens, $12 for adults and free for children under two years. For additional information, please call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Support the Downtown on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25

Another shopping season is upon us here in Plainfield and shops downtown are open for business. Plainfield has a unique mix of mom-and-pop stores that offer trendy name brand clothes and shoes that compete with mall traffic and Cyber Monday deals, perfect for anyone looking for a bargain. The importance of spending locally has never been more critical as retailers and restaurants struggle to ...

A Stroll Through Echo Lake Park

This past Sunday, I joined the Freewalkers for its Stroll & Roll walking event.  Freewalkers Yohana Maria and Risa Olinsky organized the festivities, now in its second year. 

The walk, designed to be family-friendly, and for people of all ages and abilities, began in Echo Lake Park, another gem in the Union County Park system.  The four-mile round trip trek also cut ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_59848a690358e5017898_star_wars_at_library

Tue, December 12, 4:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Create Your Own Star Wars Holiday Ornaments

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Tue, December 12, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Carousel_image_cefcf825ac0c58d3c2a7_ed_-_grand_opening_fig_tree_market_11-30-2017

Tue, December 12, 6:00 PM

Fig Tree Market, Plainfield

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Fig Tree Market

Business & Finance

Steroid testing of NJ scholastic athletes during 2016-2017 yields one positive result

December 11, 2017

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – The results are in for NJSIAA’s 2016-17 random steroid testing program for New Jersey’s scholastic athletes. Of the 502 male and female student-athletes tested, one was found to be positive for any of 80 banned substances, including anabolic steroids. 

 

The athletes tested under the annual NJSIAA program – all of whom were ...

Absurd and Outrageous

December 9, 2017

Dear Mayor Mapp and Members of the Plainfield City Council,

When I first heard about the resolution awarding yourselves raises I thought the magnanimity was over the top but, generally, that salary increases of some amount were warranted.  Not so anymore!

I received a copy of the agenda yesterday and nearly blew a gasket as I was reading the resolution awarding $396,000 to Yates as a ...

Panel Discussion in Sparta: School Consolidation Complex and Costly

December 8, 2017

SPARTA, NJ – A large crowd filled the Sparta High School media center on Wednesday to hear a panel discussion about school consolidation.  More than 150 people attended the event sponsored by New Jersey School Boards’ Association, according to Ray Pinney, Director of Member Engagement.

The through discussion of topic hit both sides of the issue.  “Some say it is a ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Westfield's Jackie Lieberman

This week's feature will focus on TAPintoWestfield franchisee, Jackie Lieberman. Find out what makes TAPintoWestfield.net different than the competition, what she did before coming onto TAPinto.net and how an inexperienced sales person became one of TAPinto's most successful franchisee's. 

 

When did you join TAPinto.net?:

I started as a freelance reporter in 2011 ...

'An Act of God' takes a leap of faith at George Street

‘An Act of God’ takes leap of faith at George Street Playhouse

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – If anyone can portray God, it must be Kathleen Turner. Local theatre goers are fortunate indeed, to have the throaty, stage smart Turner in our midst.

Turner, of course, is not only an acclaimed actress, but a female God with plenty to say about the ups and downs of religion ...

Garth Brooks Concert

The Garth Brooks Concert- Prudential Center, December 3, 2017

When the last child cries for a crust of bread

When the last man dies for just words that he said,

When there's shelter over the poorest head,

We shall be free.

My husband, Tom, and I stood on the platform at the Menlo Park train station, wearing our black cowboy hats and jeans, waiting for the train to the ...