LA zoo lights up the night

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ZOO LIGHT—Entrance to the Light Extravaganza of the first ever LA Zoo Lights. CN/AYANA ARROYO

Russell J. Zazueta

While most of the park’s animals are tucked into bed, residents of Los Angeles can enjoy the L.A. Zoo’s first-ever electric extravaganza “L.A. Zoo Lights,” from now until Jan. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Griffith Park.

From electrical likenesses of mischievous monkeys to 3-D abstract projections sprawled on elephant statues, the Los Angeles Zoo transforms into nighttime of dazzling delight.

There are a slew of colors shimmering in collection throughout the park in different eye-popping designs, giving the appeal of a winter wonderland set out on a safari.

Swinging, they guide guests from the entry plaza with an illuminated powerline to a giant electrical outlet the monkeys are trying to get to.

It’s a playful scene of classic monkey mischief set around the Christmas spirit.

Not all animals are sleeping during the event and, in homage to the Christmas spirit, as an “L.A. Zoo Lights” exclusive, reindeer were brought to the zoo for all to look at. They can be seen lounging around under lit chandeliers in a stall dubbed the “Reindeer Romp.”

In an information booth nearby a set of reindeer antlers hang for people to feel and  right below is a small section of reindeer fur to pet.

“L.A. Zoo Lights” is produced in collaboration with theatrical set designer Gregg Lacy and lighting expert John McGuire of Bionic League – a live event lighting design company known for magnificent light shows for festivals, stadiums and artists like Daft Punk, Kanye West and many others.

Many of the set designs are based around the enchanting botanical gardens. Trees are wrapped up from top to bottom in green and blue lights, while others are adorned with hanging snowflakes, icicle lights and giant blue orbs.

Along with props like “Reggie the alligator” and origami rhino “L.A Zoo Light includes a luminous exhibit made up of 3,750 water bottles, arranged in chandelier-like stacks on what looked like cement lily pads, spread across a noise-filled pond of croaking bull frogs, adding to the list of popular sites to take photos with friends and family at the park.

Los Angeles District Council member Tom Labonge was a driving force behind “L.A. Zoo Lights” and wanted to provide Angelenos with a holiday activity to replace the beloved Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s “Light Festival,” which ended its run in Griffith Park in 2009.

The park keeps the carousel in operation for all to enjoy a merry-go-round at $3 a ride, and across from it sits a throne seemingly carved of ice where Santa Claus sits atop to take photos with everyone.

Tickets to  “LA Zoo Lights” is $13 for  adults, but the zoo offers an early bird special online for $8.

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