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Lights Before Christmas returns to Toledo Zoo with COVID-19 precautions

Visitors also need to make reservations in advance because the zoo is limiting capacity to about 50%.
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 8:23 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium returns for its 35th year featuring more than one million lights, more than 200 illuminated animal images, and — new for 2020 —carriage rides through Walbridge Park.

Family favorites include the 85-foot Norway spruce draped in more than 35,000 lights, the ice slide and bright animal images everywhere.

“We have not held back on the lighting,” said Jen Brassil, events manager at the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium. “There’s still fabulous lights displayed throughout the zoo grounds that people are going to really enjoy.”

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tradition continues with changes.

“We won’t have Santa visits, but we will have Santa dives in the Aquarium twice daily,” Brassil said. “It’ll still be a great experience, just a little bit different this year.”

Visitors also need to make reservations in advance because the zoo is limiting capacity to about 50%.

“Some of those weekend busy days, weekends in December, we’d get like 13,000 people here,” Brassil said. “Now it’s about half that.”

Spreading people out over 72 acres, the zoo established a one-way traffic pattern and requires face masks.

“It’s our 35th year and we’re pleased that we’re still able to carry on this tradition, being such a challenging year,” Brassil said. “We were shut down for a while in the spring and reopened in June. And I think we’re really successfully been able to do that and offer a safe place for our visitors and to be able to enjoy the animals.”

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium returns for its 35th year featuring more than one million lights, more than 200 illuminated animal images, and — new for 2020 — carriage rides through Walbridge Park.

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