Philadelphia Zoo Teams Up with 15 Community Organizations for Our Neck of the Woods at LumiNature

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events

Philadelphia Zoo’s winter light show spectacular LumiNature is not only bringing more than a million sparkling lights to the holiday season, but showcasing the creativity and spirit of its closest neighborhood groups in West Philadelphia to create a one-of-a-kind display inspired by the animal kingdom. In “Our Neck of the Woods,” guests can explore beautifully decorated trees and snowflake installations created by residents, families, groups and schools. More than a dozen groups participated in this year’s display including People’s Emergency Center, The West Philly Reading Captains, and Fab Youth Philly. As guests marvel at the display, they can vote for their favorite using a QR code on each tree or snowflake. The winning group wins a free trip to the Zoo in the spring for a group of up to 30 people. LumiNature and Our Neck of the Woods is open through January 7th, with special extended hours and days during winter break week between Christmas and New Year’s. Visit the website for tickets, times, extended schedule and more at philadelphiazoo.org/luminature

“We are always looking for ways to showcase the Zoo’s relationship with our nearest neighbors,” said Philadelphia Zoo School and Community Partnerships Director Bethany Housman. “Philadelphia Zoo is so fortunate to be located in such a unique, active part of West Philadelphia and we consider ourselves to be an integral part of the neighborhoods immediately outside our walls.  ‘Our Neck of the Woods’ provides an opportunity for our neighbors to be a part of LumiNature by bringing a piece of their neighborhood inside the Zoo.”

Philadelphia Zoo today officially kicked off the first friendly competition in LumiNature’s “Our Neck of the Woods” light exhibit, a display inspired by the animal kingdom and 100% created by residents, families, groups and schools in the West Philadelphia Community. Groups were asked to choose an animal that has special meaning to them and decorate a large tree or snowflake that celebrates that animal and includes decorations that represent their group.

Participating community groups and organizations for Our Neck of the Woods for 2022 includes the following: 

Belmont Charter High School
Zoo Spirit Animal: Tiger  
Display represents the school mascot, the proud and fearless Tiger!

The Mantua Civic Association
Zoo Spirit Animal: The Zebra
Students and community members have contributed to the decorating of the tree. We all created the black and white balls, zebras and snowflakes.

Charles L. Durham Library Branch
Zoo Spirit Animal: The Owl
They have created the tree of books! We are highlighting award-winning and popular children’s books plus a selection of adult classic literature.

School of the Future Anime Club
Zoo spirit animal: Red Panda
The Anime Club is highlighting a red panda, a character from My Hero Academia, one of the clubs favorite shows!

West Powelton Saunders Park
Zoo spirit animal: squirrels, raccoons, possums, birds and cats!
West Powelton Saunders Park’s display celebrates indigenous wild life that live in our neighborhood. We created this display to celebrate all the lovely creatures that live amongst us. Raccoons, squirrels. Possum, birds and feral cats. Our animal neighbors are displayed on interactive ornaments on a beautiful tree.

West Philadelphia Reading Captains
Zoo spirit animal: Llama
West Philadelphia Reading Captains celebrates Literacy with the book Llama Llama Red Pajama. These ornaments were created by the community & Reading Captains and includes stuffed llamas, alphabet letters and books all over the tree!

People’s Emergency Center
Zoo spirit animal: Giraffe
The pine cones on the tree were collected in our neighborhood and decorated by our neighbors at PEC! Our display literally showcases “Our Neck of the Woods”!

Mantua Worldwide Inc.
Zoo spirit animal: Peacock
This tree is adorned with lights, plants, flowers, scents, sounds of nature music, and decorations that would give youth a glimpse of our Garden Adventures program that we’ve established at the James Wright Rec Center where youth indulge in gardening. We want children and families to view this tree and take an opportunity to create a place of peace and love in their mind by inspiring them to write a note pertaining to peace and love which we would hang from the Tree of Dreams on faux butterflies.

Mantua Civic Association Enrichment Committee
Zoo spirit animal: Flamingo
Our snowflake shows an elongated neck like tree base that culminates into an abstract crescent representing an origins experience for ‘Our Neck of the Woods’ melding with flamingos for an extraordinary holiday experience.

Fab Youth Philly’s Play Captains
Zoo spirit animal: Penguin
Play Captains – teens who are trained like camp counselors – have decorated the space with decorations of fun like beach balls, jump ropes, hopscotch, chalk and our Bex Decks so there are many games for children and families to engage in! When arriving at a Play Street, Play Captains often call out “Come play with us!” which has inspired these decorations.

Rose’s Clubhouse
Zoo spirit animal: bird
Rose’s Clubhouse’s youth celebrate our pride with a tree of freedom. We want our youth to have the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Our tree is decorated with birds because they represent freedom because they can fly with no boundaries. Our tree includes birdhouses decorated to represent Rose’s Clubhouse’s logo. Roses are included to represent Rose, our President of Rose’s Clubhouse.

East Parkside
Zoo spirit animal: Primates
Our community is going through a transition trying to blend the old with the new developments. Our display is a combination of old and new. Our color scheme is Red, Black, Gold and Silver. We hope to inspire seniors and children interaction. Each One Teach One, Putting Neighbor Back in the Hood.

West Belmont Civic Association
Zoo spirit animal: Dove
Considering the uprise of gun violence in Philadelphia, West Belmont Civic has chosen to create a Tree of Peace. This tree symbolizes our desire to end gun violence and create a world of peace.

Dimplez 4 Dayz Resource Center
Zoo spirit animal: Zebra
A zebra animal symbol represents community, freedom, balance, and individualism. At Dimplez 4 Dayz, Inc., we represent various backgrounds, cultures, ages, and expressions. Our Zebra Zone tree display will allow each youth participant to get into their zones and express themselves artistically. The primary light color is red to reference the youth in Philadelphia that has been affected by gun violence. The black and white will represent each youth participating in our programs and are aware that being unique will set them apart from society.

West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood
Zoo spirit animal: Monarch butterfly
Our display show cases the vibrant colors and energy of our community in West Philadelphia that can fly and thrive against all odds like the monarch butterfly!

The only way to marvel at these designs and vote for your favorite is by visiting LumiNature, open select nights now through January 7.

LumiNature tickets are on sale now. Guests should pre-purchase timed-tickets making reservations at www.PhiladelphiaZoo.org. Prices vary by visit date. Tickets for adults ages 12+ are $25 to $28, children ages 2-11 are $20 to $23, and children under 2 years old are free. Philadelphia Zoo Members enjoy discounts on LumiNature tickets.

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