Ross Park Zoo’s Illumination for Conservation massive lighted lantern display is nearing the end of its two-month long run at the zoo on Binghamton's south side.

Keep scrolling for photos from the spectacular display (and a little silliness.)

Zoo director Philip Ginter says, as the days for the festival near an end, with the last day October 16, the hours are earlier with gates opening at 7.

The cooler temperatures and the earlier gate time makes a visit to this beautiful attraction a perfect family trip.

One little boy visiting recently couldn't help but exclaim; "The zoo is SO BEAUTIFUL!"

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There will be a limited tram service for guests with mobility issues that will navigate the steep terrain of the zoo off Morgan Road on Binghamton’s South Side.

The one-time only display of giant fabric-clad armature sculptures is the major fundraiser for Ross Park this year. The event also benefits several wildlife conservation partners that are working to protect wolves, red pandas and African penguins.

Ross Park Zoo Conservation Illumination Lantern Festival
Credit: Ross Park Zoo

Ginter says the lantern sculptures are beautiful during the day but defy description once they come to life with light at night.  Some of the sculptures, like butterflies and a huge peacock actually move as well.

The traveling exhibition features over 40 main lantern sculptures with other illuminations lining the trails.

For people who are familiar with the zoo topography, there have been some concerns heard about the one-mile walk but the path goes up the more gentle slope of the loop to the top of the hill then turns for an easy walk down "the steep part."  There are plenty of rest stops with benches along the way and even a place to sit down for a snack at the concession stand near the top of the hill.

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As for other news at the fifth oldest zoo in the country; Ross Park will now be open year-round, although it will only be on weekends.  The zoo will be closed for a few days following the conclusion of the Lantern Festival on October 16 for the removal of the arts installations but will be in fast turn-around mode for the Second Annual Halloweekend at the zoo and neighboring Discovery Center children’s museum on October 29 and 30.

Information on tickets and hours for Illumination for Conservation, Halloweekend and Ross Park Zoo can be found at

You can hear more about all the events, a big anniversary at the zoo and penguin babies on Phillip Ginter's September 17 appearance on the weekly local public affairs program, Southern Tier Close Up available on the WNBF podcast.

Ross Park Zoo Illumination for Conservation Lantern Festival

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