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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Relive your childhood with Franklin Park Zoo’s Lantern Experience

Hunter Berry
A family walks into Franklin Park Zoo in anticipation of Boston Lights. Photo by Hunter Berry / Mass Media Staff

Imagine being a kid, viewing the world from four feet off the ground and constantly covered in snot. The opinions of many kids are often dismissed, simply because adults think that they don’t have enough life experience to form one. Now does that mean their opinions don’t matter? Of course not. After growing into adults, these former kids often long for the innocence they had as children.

Franklin Park Zoo’s Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience brings back the wonder and amazement from childhood that many adults crave. The colorful displays and entertaining music provide the background for a perfect night walk with friends, a date or even alone time to clear the head.

The experience takes its audience up and down the paths of the zoo, following a glowing national grid projected onto the ground. National Grid is the sponsor for this event, to shed light on how the use of clean energy affects not just people, but the environment as well.

They make this message kid-friendly by using signs with pictures of animals and quotes like, “we’re hanging out to help you save energy,” with a photo of a sloth, and “clean energy isn’t just about hippopotaME, it’s about hippopotamUS,” with a picture of a hippopotamus. Throughout the walk, they also have various signs providing information about how humans are affecting the environment.

The show starts off with a huge display of planets and other space-related things, like constellations, comets and an interactive astronaut booth. The sight is honestly breathtaking. In this section, signs tell children how Earth is a “Goldilocks planet,” and describe why we should treasure it.

After walking through various decorated trees, the audience comes across a beautiful butterfly exhibit with bright blue butterflies and yellow flowers. The sign describes why the butterfly population in the Amazon rainforest is going extinct and how the reader can do their part in helping out.

Later on, following a display of frogs and other wetland creatures, they discuss climate change’s effects on wetlands. After that, following a colorful parrot display, they share information about the illegal trafficking of parrots and how harmful it is to their habitats.

Over the course of the exhibition, the audience learns about reducing plastic waste, helping whales, and field conservation efforts made by the zoo to help with biodiversity. These topics need to be brought to light, and Franklin Park Zoo is doing a fantastic job of making the message available for all ages.

To put on this light show, Franklin Park Zoo partnered with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc., the leader in Chinese lantern festivals. Tianyu has put on 62 light shows, with an accumulated 4.5 million visitors over the last seven years. They create handmade lanterns that “showcase the lifestyle and history of the people of China, and they include sugar painting, name painting, inner bottle painting and calligraphy paintings. Some displays are unique to the lantern festival and can’t be found anywhere else” (1).

While the show is geared towards children, it is enjoyable for all ages. The intricate and colorful displays are truly unique and cannot be found anywhere else in Boston. The show is open until Oct. 23. Tickets are on sale on their website for just under $30. Go check them out before they’re gone!

  1. https://tianyuculture.us/chinese-arts-crafts/

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Hunter Berry, Photographer