Zoolumination will light up Nashville Zoo starting Friday

Posted at 8:03 AM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 09:30:51-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The largest lantern display in the country debuts Friday at the Nashville Zoo.

Zoolumination - Chinese Festival Of Lights spans 60 acres.

"We're really trying to let people immerse themselves in the Chinese culture while at the same time celebrating the holidays," zoo spokesman Jim Bartoo said.

Earlier this fall, 48 Chinese nationalists flew to Middle Tennessee to design and build the lanterns. They are all handmade.

"They weld together the wire, they have people that wrap them in silk, they spray-paint them, they glue it all down and then light them all up from within," Bartoo said.

There are animal lanterns, traditional Chinese lanterns and a North Pole with popular holiday characters. The tallest is roughly 50 feet high, others are longer than half the length of a football field.

"The detail is amazing," Bartoo said.

Chinese company Zigong Lantern Company is also doing similar shows in Miami and Charleston. Nashville's takes the cake.

"The president of the company, after seeing Nashville Zoo he told our president 'this it the most beautiful zoo I've ever seen. I want this lantern event to be the biggest and best in the country,'" Bartoo said.

Zoolumination runs Friday, November 15 through February 2. It is open every night except Thanksgiving, Christmas and Christmas Eve, then Thursday-Sunday after the New Year. The zoo encourages people to buy tickets ahead of time.