Wild Lights at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita wasn't a Christmas display, per se. But it was definitely an early Christmas gift for us.
I wish I could tell you that the display was still there and recommend that you take the family. But, we barely made it ourselves. Thankfully, we chose a weekday evening with perfect fall weather.
Wild Lights consisted of Asian Lantern sculptures from the Tianyu Arts and Culture, Inc., illuminating paths throughout the zoo. Jeff Ettling, the president and CEO of the zoo, said in a news story that it it took about a week to install the 47 elements. The 47 is kind of misleading. It took 13 semi truckloads to get the display to Wichita.
Besides being beautiful, it was interactive. Kids were having a great time stepping (or stomping) on lighted circles in front of the display to make it move.
This was Tianyu's first display in this part of the country. In looking at their website, the Tianyu displays are patterned after Chinese lantern festivals.
Lantern Festivals are traditionally part of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. Observed on the
fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar Chinese calendar, the
Lantern Festival marks the final day of traditional Chinese New Year
celebrations. Light festivals carry people’s expectations for a better life and prosperity of the coming year.
The Tianyu's displays have taken the beauty of the lantern festivals and bolstered it with modern technology, including electricity to illuminate lanterns and the use of LED bulbs.
The craftspeople who construct the huge lantern displays are still using the traditional lantern-making skills - just on a much larger scale. They come in many shapes and sizes, including animals, plants, sea creatures, Chinese culture, architecture and more.
My favorite was the butterfly tunnel, which featured 230 butterflies.
Another of my favorites also featured butterflies (big surprise)!
Randy's favorite display was the pair of swans.
It was even more beautiful because of the reflections on the water. The water reflection of this display also caught my eye as I looked back across the pond.
But it was also gorgeous close up.
Changing colors in some of the displays gave an evolving viewpoint.
If we'd had the girls with us, I figure they would have loved the animal displays.
Another of Randy's favorites was the peacock. It generated quite a crowd, waiting on the plumage to bloom.And, of course, you can't go wrong with flowers.