Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Toledo Zoo - Lights Before Christmas

* This is the 24th season for the Lights Before Christmas, which features over one million lights and more than 200 lights animal images
* The electrical spectacle known as the Dancing Lights and the 85-foot Norway Spruce are decorated with all wide angle LED lights.
* The Lights Before Christmas began in 1986 with 50,000 lights and an attendance of 71,000 visitors; the record attendance for a Lights Before Christmas season was 2006, with 178,177 visitors.
* We began using LED lights in 2002 and now approximately 35% of our lights are LEDs.
* The Zoo begins hanging lights during the first week of September each year.
* Two techniques are used to hang lights -- draping and wrapping.
* A core crew of 12-15 employees from the Zoo's Grounds Department install the lights.
* Nearly 50,000 feet of extension cords are used -- that's almost 10 miles!
* If all the lights were strung end-to-end, they would reach nearly 70 miles!
* It takes approximately 2 months to take down all the lights, then sort and store them for the following year.
* Over 2,700 pounds of fudge will be made during "Lights Before Christmas, along with over 6,800 gallons of hot chocolate, more than 6,000 cinnamon pretzels, and over 3,800 gingerbread men.
* Visit Santa's Ginormous Toyland located in the historic Indoor Theatre (through December 23).
* Also, don't miss strolling carolers on selected evenings, ice-carving demonstrations on Thursday nights, rides on the train and carousel, a model train display, and hot chocolate and other holiday treats!
* Big Tree Stats:
- The Big Tree is a Norway spruce located near the Broadway entrance by the Conservatory
- It's between 65-70 years old and over 85 feet tall.
- The lowest branches from tip-to-tip are 50' in diameter.
- The trunk circumference is 8 feet 7 inches.
- It is estimated to weigh about 7 tons.
- There are over 30,000 lights on the Big Tree alone, that's almost 3 miles of lights!
- It takes approximately one week to decorate the tree.

Check out the Lights Before Christmas website here.

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