CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the third summer in a row, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is hosting the Asian Lantern Festival.
The festival is where culture and animals collide, bringing vibrant colors and community together all in celebration of Asian traditions.
"We’re gonna have really fun here," said Max Romito, 11, who attended opening night July 8 with his family.
Even if you made it to the first two Asian Lantern Festivals, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo promises a brand new experience; this year, there are 70 never-before-seen lantern displays.
"We’ve already seen over 300,000 guests in the past two years and broke international records," said Kelly Manderfield, the chief marketing officer for Cleveland Metroparks.
The festival runs Wednesday through Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. until August 23.
"It’s kind of hard because my wife and I are both working. So, the fact that they have night hours is awesome," said Kevin Coughlin. He and his family have attended the festival all three years.
The 1,000 illuminated lanterns are a big hit.
"When the glow sticks all pop up and they look really pretty," said Natalie Romito, 9.
There’s also live acrobatic performances and authentic Asian cuisine from local favorites.
"King Wah is back. These are special, you know, celebration of Asian cuisine. We have Kiko’s Kitchen that's here daily and just special treats. I mean, what's a festival without food?" Manderfield said.
The zoo recently reopened after a three-month shut down. With coronavirus concerns in mind, face coverings are required and capacity has been reduced by 50 percent.
Included in your festival ticket is access to the new "Dinosaurs Around the World" attraction featuring nearly two dozen life-sized animatronic dinosaurs along Waterfowl Lake.
After being forced a part and staying inside for months, this culturally-rich environment is a great family-friendly night out to remember.
You’re encouraged to purchase a ticket to the Asian Lantern Festival in advance. There are discounts for zoo members. For ticket information, click here.