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Photos: Oakland Zoo’s Glowfari officially opens for the 2021 holiday season

Photos: Oakland Zoo’s Glowfari officially opens for the 2021 holiday season
Photo: Courtesy of Oakland Zoo
By Matt Charnock - Published on November 15, 2021.

The bioluminescent dreamscape that is Oakland Zoo’s Glowfari returned last week for the second year in a row, attracting thousands to the animal park to see the lit-up lanterns inspired by global fauna.

Following up on its successful 2020 run, the East Bay zoological institution, which recently lost its two sister tigers after they were euthanized due to declining health, kicked off its Glowfari exhibit over the weekend to glowing fanfare from both young and old. Kids could be heard chanting the “Glowfari” in videos from local news stations, while Twitter and Instagram were aflutter with uploads showcasing the Avatar-like landscape that had descended onto the zoo. 

"It's mind-blowing,” said one young event-goer to ABC7 about the event. “We never get to be this close to animals because they run away or can hurt us.”

The two-hour “safari” features over 100 animal lanterns splayed over five ecological themes — which includes an African savannah and Eurasian winter wonderland — and, for this year, will also feature a 65-foot-long, LED-lit passage called Queen Ant Tunnel that features glowing insects of all sorts. (You can apparently take the zoo's iconic gondola to the said tunnel, as well.)

Even if you don’t choose to take a walk through the exoskeleton-lined walkways, event attendees can look forward to robotic elephants, red and giant pandas, crocodiles, and many more larger-than-life animals. And while pictures don’t do Glofari justice, they do, however, offer a window into what’s to be expected while walking the mile-long display.

Here are some of our favorites pulled from Instagram:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Alison M (@alisonishere)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Marin Mommies (@marin_mommies)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Oakland Zoo (@oaklandzoo)

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Danielle Wilson (@justanaveragequilter)

 

Glowfari is a ticket-only event that will run from now until January 30 of 2022; Glowfari will open from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the zoo's operating hours and masks will be required for all indoor spaces along the Glowfari path, though outdoor spaces won't require them for fully vaccinated individuals; visit oaklandzoo.org/programs-and-events/glowfari for more information and ticket sales.