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WPTV gets inside look at 'Zoo Lights' at Palm Beach Zoo

'You get to see the zoo in a whole new light,' communications manager says
The Palm Beach Zoo prepares for the opening of Zoo Lights on Nov. 17, 2023.PNG
Posted at 6:32 AM, Nov 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-17 09:26:59-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — WPTV is now the official media partner of the Palm Beach Zoo.

Our news team is taking you behind the scenes at one of the most popular zoos in South Florida with our new "Wildlife Heroes" series. We want you to know about some of the conservation efforts to protect and save wildlife, which is the main mission at the zoo.

The fifth annual Zoo Lights is back at the Palm Beach Zoo. If you've ever wondered what it takes to put up the almost one million lights and all the displays, WPTV is getting an inside look.

"You get to see the zoo in a whole new light," said John Towey, the communications manager at the Palm Beach Zoo. "You don't typically get to be here at night."

Roughly one million lights illuminate your every step at the zoo.

"This is my favorite time of year," said Jason Witmer, the director of facilities and grounds at the Palm Beach Zoo.

A magical holiday event that saves animals in the wild.

"Every ticket that you purchase at the Palm Beach Zoo helps save wildlife. So ultimately, that’s what we’re here for," Witmer said.

Months of hard work went into setting up the dazzling display.

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"It’s long days here at the zoo," Witmer said. "Six months of planning comes down to probably three or four weeks of boots-on-the-ground work."

A canopy of lights, lights, and more twinkling lights taking over trees, giraffes and a new animated tree.

"We're easily in the million," Witmer said.

Also new at this year's Zoo Lights is a beautiful coral display on Baker Lake. It's a custom restoration piece highlighting the Palm Beach Zoo's coral program, one of its wildlife-saving missions.

"Most people don't actually get to see coral in its true, natural environment. So having it here in all of its beauty is a good way to remind people that it's out there," Towey said.

It’s all part of the set-up for a season of celebration for everyone.

"This is what creates memories for families. And kids tend to look back at this later in the year and have great fond memories of Zoo Lights strolls at the Palm Beach Zoo," Witmer said.

Zoo Lights starts Friday and runs until Jan. 7. Tickets start at $15 for kids and $20 for adults. It's important to note that prices vary by date and time. Zoo members can get a $5 discount. For ticket information, click here.