ZooLights Festival Also To Begin At Lincoln Park Zoo

CHICAGO (CBS) – In an annual tradition that goes back generations, the halls of the Lincoln Park Conservatory will be decked with poinsettias and model train tracks starting Friday.

The conservatory, at 2391 N. Stockton Dr. near the north end of the Lincoln Park Zoo, will feature the annual Winter Flower and Train Show in its Show House.

Maroon, white and pink poinsettias will be on display, as model trains circulate around the space. An old-fashioned steam engine, freight train and trolley will wind through the Show House, which has been transformed into a village of miniature Chicago bungalows, as well as the Water Tower Place and the Chicago Theatre.

The miniature village is built from all-natural materials, including willow, spruce and birch woods.

On the city’s West Side, the Garfield Park Conservatory is also hosting a Holiday Flower Show. The Show House there will feature fir trees bedecked in holiday lights, and surrounded by splashes of red poinsettias. Also featured are colorful ornamental peppers, plumbago and Jerusalem cherries.

Both conservatories are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Garfield Park Conservatory is open until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Meanwhile, just steps away from the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the ZooLights Festival returns for its 16th year beginning Friday evening. The zoo is decorated in more than 1.5 million twinkling lights, and part of this year’s display is in 3D.

On Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the zoo’s Wild Things Gift Shop, zookeepers will introduce families to a Kenyan sand boa, ball python, turtle, corn snake, and blue-tongued skink. On Friday of next week from 5:30 to 7 p.m., you can meet some penguins after dark.

You can also meet Santa Claus at ZooLights, and in a tradition that goes back to 1977, you can carol to the animals.

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