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Go 419: Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas kicks off Friday

The Toledo Zoo will kick off its 37th Lights Before Christmas celebration with the ceremonial lighting of the 85-foot Norway Spruce at 6:10 p.m. on Friday.

TOLEDO, Ohio — While it feels more like winter this week, it won't feel like the holidays until you can visit the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo.

The Toledo Zoo will welcome visitors to its 37th Lights Before Christmas celebration filling the entire park with holiday lights, treats and family-friendly fun.

As always, the festivities will kick off with a ceremonial lighting of the 85-foot Norway Spruce, decorated in more than 35,000 lights, on Friday night.

"That big tree is so popular, so many people get engaged in front of it," Jen Brassil, the Toledo Zoo events manager, said. "We kind of cut out a whole area for people to be able to pose in front of it because so many people stop and take pictures."

While many have been in the holiday spirit for a few weeks, the horticultural crew at the Toledo Zoo has been busy for five months hanging the more than one million lights around the premises.

"It's really become a Toledo tradition ... and we love it," Chris Martin, the vice president of park operations at the Toledo Zoo, said. "We love the atmosphere and it gives the members a great reason to come out. and non-members to come out for a visit as well, this time of year."

Credit: Jon Monk
Along with over one million lights on display, the Lights Before Christmas offers plenty of family-friendly activities as well.

A new second dancing lights display on the north end of the zoo.

The Holly Jolly Express train ride will be back, along with reindeer at the barnyard and plenty of higher-end concessions.

To help with some crowd control, members and non-members will need to reserve their day and time to enter the park on the Toledo Zoo's website.

"Once you get here, you can stay as long as you like ... and please come back several times throughout the season," Brassil said.

The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo kicks off Friday night at 6:10 p.m. with the tree lighting ceremony and runs through Dec. 31, open Mondays through Thursdays from 3-8 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays from 3-9 p.m., Martin said.

It will also be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

RELATED: Your guide to the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas 2022

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