History & Tourism

Summer Road Trip: 1,000 Lanterns Will Transport You Far Away

29 Jun , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse, Cleveland Metroparks

This year we’re continuing our weekly look at unique events and attractions that are within an easy driving distance of Richland County. We call these “Summer Road Trips.” Of course, we regularly feature the many extraordinary places to visit right here in Richland County and encourage our readers to get out and experience what is on offer in our own backyard.

A trip north on I71 this summer will take you to an experience that suggests a place several thousand miles to the east.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has announced the return of the record-breaking Asian Lantern Festival presented by Meijer. Beginning July 14, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be transformed with over 1,000 new illuminated lanterns, live acrobatic performances and culturally-inspired cuisine.

In the event’s fourth year, guests can look forward to an entirely new experience with more than 70 large-scale illuminated displays featuring over 1,000 individual lanterns. The limited time, after-hours event will run Thursday through Sunday evenings 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM through September 5.

“Asian Lantern Festival has become a summer staple in Cleveland, drawing over 150,000 guests each year to experience the wonder of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo after dark,” said Cleveland Metroparks Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Manderfield. “We’re thankful for the tremendous support of Meijer to help bring an all new festival, with new lanterns, performances and experiences in the event’s fourth year.”

This year’s festival marks the return of live performances every hour on the Fifth Third Bank Stage featuring acrobatics including foot juggling, contortion, martial arts and more. Throughout the festival, guests can shop an Asian craft market, and taste a robust variety of culturally-inspired cuisine, including local favorites Li Wah, King Wah and more.

In addition to the walk-through experience Thursdays through Sundays, a limited number of drive-through opportunities will be available on Wednesday nights for individuals and families who wish to experience this year’s event from the comfort of their personal vehicles.

Giant lanterns all new to this year’s event include the towering four-story Taj Mahal as well as walk-through experiences including Python Tunnel, Chinese Dragon and Wisteria Corridor. New interactive lanterns like the Butterfly Garden and Star Pad allow guests to light up displays themselves.

“Meijer is excited to support this community-focused event that continues to impress and awe local families each summer,” said Cathy Cooper, Senior Director of Community Partnerships and Giving at Meijer. “We look forward to seeing the Asian Lantern Festival experience elevated to all new heights at this year’s event.”

Save on tickets when you purchase in advance. The discounted cost for Zoo members is $18 or a 4-pack for $54. Advance non-member tickets are $20 or a 4-pack for $60. Same day tickets can be purchased at the Box Office for $22 or a 4-pack for $66. Drive-through tickets are $54 per vehicle for members and $60 per vehicle for non-members. Children under 2 are admitted free. Advance tickets are on sale now at futureforwildlife.org/lanterns.

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