When I first heard about a Chinese lantern festival coming to the Calgary Zoo, I imagined a string of paper lights hanging around the buildings lit up in decorative colors. Simple and pretty right? But the Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival is so much more! Touted as “an experience like no other” the lanterns are actually beautiful and intricately created pieces of art highlighting many of the zoo’s animals and showcasing other cultural icons that represent the China, Japan and India themes of the 7 week festival.
The lantern sculptures were created by a group of Chinese artisans who spent months and months painstakingly creating each of the 366 lanterns that run all around the Zoo. One lantern zebra requires a crew of six people all day to set up! Some of the lanterns move as well, adding even more life to these vibrant pieces.
While these pieces are meant to light up the night, they are also amazing to see in the day. I highly recommend going as early as possible so you can see the lanterns both in the daylight and into the evening.
Illuminsasia runs Thursday through Sunday evenings. Packages are available for each country experience, combinations with Zoolights and family discounts for Sunday evenings.