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Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience

Franklin Park Zoo

July 23 - October 11, 6:00 - 10:30 p.m.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Boston Lights! Be sure to join our email list for updates on Boston Lights 2022!


Back by popular demand, Boston Lights illuminates Franklin Park Zoo with all new lanterns, lights and memories to last a lifetime!

Experience the wonder of over 60 magnificent displays comprised of hundreds of beautifully crafted lanterns spanning Franklin Park Zoo's 72 acres. Walk through glowing corridors of lotus and sunflowers, cranes and cherry blossoms, and a towering 87-foot-long Tyrannosaurus Rex tunnel!

Luminous animal and ocean scenes, traditional Asian lantern displays, a stunning 164-foot-long phoenix, and more will light up the night sky, dazzling guests of all ages!

Boston Lights Samuel Adams and Truly Pop-ups (21+)

Raise a toast to a delicious 21+ addition to Franklin Park Zoo’s Boston Lights. This year’s lantern experience will feature two pop-ups offering a variety of tasty brews from Samuel Adams and Truly Hard Seltzer. Sip and socialize under the lights, or grab a brew and explore the Zoo. Try your hand at a game of cornhole or giant Jenga, and hang with friends by the Sam Adams Happier Camper. Experience the luminous lanterns as you enjoy a refreshing drink on a warm summer night. Featured drafts include Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Summer Ale, Wicked Easy, and Wicked Hazy; and Truly Hard Seltzer Wild Berry & Strawberry Lemonade.

Please note, ID’s will be checked upon entry into both pop-ups, and guests purchasing and drinking beers are required to wear wristbands. One beer per person at a time. Children are welcome in the beer gardens alongside their parent or guardian. 

  • Beer Garden Hours: 6 - 10:00 p.m.
  • Last Call: 9:45 p.m.
  • Beer Sales End: 10:00 p.m.

Health & Safety Updates

We care about you and want to ensure a fun and safe experience for everyone who visits. For the safety of our guests, staff and animals,  please review our current Health & Safety Updates before your visit.


Where is Boston Lights held?

Zoo New England's Boston Lights is held at Franklin Park Zoo, located at One Franklin Park Road, Boston, MA 02121. Directions to Franklin Park Zoo

I can't find my pre-purchased tickets in my email.

Use the "order lookup" function in the menu of our ticketing site for access to your tickets. You will need to provide the email address and phone number used during purchase.

When is the last entry for Boston Lights?

The last entry for Boston Lights ticket buyers is 9:30 p.m. to allow everyone time to enjoy the experience and to exit by 10:30 p.m.

Are reservations required for entry to the Zoo?

Yes, reservations are required for both members and non-members. Reservations are made for a specific date and time to ensure the Zoo is operating safely within the capacity limit and adhering to the proper social distancing requirements.

  • General admission and member reservations are limited each day. Once capacity is reached, we will be unable to allow entry to any more guests. Please note: Members must purchase tickets for this event. Boston Lights admission is not included with membership.
  • To make the check-in process as fast and safe as possible, please print your tickets before arriving at the Zoo.
  • Guests with general admission will need their reserved tickets (printed or on phone) to check in.
  • Guests must arrive at their reserved time slot to ensure capacity is not exceeded. 
  • If you arrive early for your designated time slot, please wait in your vehicle until 5 minutes before your time slot.
  • Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes after your designated time slot, as capacity within time slots is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. If you have a concern please call 617-989-2076.

Can I stay in the Zoo for Boston Lights if I have a daytime ticket for the same day?

No. All daytime guests must exit the Zoo at closing time, 5:00 p.m., so that we can make our final preparations for opening Boston Lights. Guests with Boston Lights tickets will be able to enter through the admissions booth at their ticketed time.

Can I buy Boston Lights tickets before my visit?

Yes. Tickets must be reserved online before your visit. You can reserve your tickets for a specific date and time. To make the check-in process as fast and safe as possible, please print your tickets, or have them displayed on your mobile phone before arriving to the Admissions gate. 

Do I need to purchase tickets for my children?

Tickets are required for children over the age of 2. Children under 2 are free.

Will you accept cash as payment?

  • Tickets must be purchased ahead of time online. We accept all major credit and debit cards.
  • If you need to use cash to purchase a ticket, please call ahead of time at 617-989-2076.
  • Cash will be accepted at all of our concession and gift locations.

Can I apply the price of my Boston Lights tickets to a Zoo New England membership?

No, Boston Lights tickets are not eligible to be applied toward an annual membership.

Can I buy a “Family 4-pack” for four adults?

Yes. A Family 4-pack can be used for any four people aged two or older.

Are EBT/WIC discounts available?

EBT and WIC cardholders receive discounted, $15 admission per ticket for up to four tickets to Boston Lights (does not include general, daytime admission). If there are more than four people aged two or older in your group, they will need to buy a full-price ticket. Please use code PANDA when purchasing tickets to receive this admission price (on your computer, click the purple PROMO CODE box. On mobile phones, hit the Menu button to enter your code.) Please be ready to present your EBT card at the Admissions booth with your tickets upon arrival.  Offer is only valid for Massachusetts residents, and limited quantities are available. If you have any questions, please call 617-989-2076 and our staff will be happy to assist you. Please note: A $1.50 transaction fee applies per ticket.

Are Reciprocal/Military/Teacher discounts available?

Reciprocal/Military/Teacher discounts are not available for Boston Lights. 

Are library passes being honored?

No, library passes will not be honored for Boston Lights. Guests who would like to visit during the day may use library passes. 

What if I make a reservation and I'm unable to attend at the date/time I selected?

In order for a timed reservation system to work as best as possible, please make sure you are able to attend your reserved slot at time of purchase. 

I bought the wrong tickets/timeslot. Can this be fixed?

All ticket sales are final. Due to capacity limits, we cannot reschedule or refund tickets. 

After I purchase my reservation and enter the Zoo, will my time be limited or restricted?

Each timed reservation group should have more than enough time to see the lanterns and open exhibits, however it is important to note that most Zoo pathways will be set in a one-way direction, encouraging guests to move along while adhering to the social distancing recommendations set by the state and CDC.  

What if I am late for my reserved time slot?

Capacity within time slots is limited. We ask that all guests make every effort to arrive on time. If you have a concern, please call 617-989-2076.

Are you open if it's raining?
Yes! All tickets are rain-or-shine, and we don't offer refunds, rainchecks or rescheduling. We encourage you to dress accordingly, or check out our gift shop for rain gear during your visit. In the event of severe weather, updates will be made here on our website and on social media.

If the Zoo has an emergency closure due to severe weather or other unforeseen circumstances, ticket holders for that evening will be immediately refunded and contacted at the e-mail address used to make the ticket purchase. Please allow 3-5 business days for your refund to be reflected in your account. If you have any questions, you can reach us at We do have a limited number of additional back-up dates that we will open up if needed due to closure. If these dates are opened up, ticket holders for cancelled evenings will be notified and will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets.

Is parking available?

Yes. Parking is free, and there are lots located near both entrances to the Zoo. View Franklin Park Zoo map

Are both entrances open?

Yes, both the Zebra and Giraffe entrances are available. View Franklin Park Zoo map

How long does it take to walk through Boston Lights?

The one-way, 1.4-mile loop through the Zoo takes approximately 60 - 90 minutes to enjoy.

Will I see any animals at Boston Lights?

Some animals including cranes, zebras, wildebeest, camels and kangaroos, will be on exhibit until a half hour before sunset. The Children’s Zoo will not be open during Boston Lights, although you may be able to see the prairie dogs and the red pandas from the main walkway.

Will the playground and play structures be open?

No, the playground and play structures will not be open during Boston Lights.

Will the indoor buildings be open?

No, the indoor Tropical Forest Pavilion, Bird’s World and the barnyard will not be open during Boston Lights. Guests can enjoy these spaces during a daytime visit. 

Are you open if it's raining?

Yes! All tickets are rain-or-shine, and we don't offer refunds, rainchecks or rescheduling. We encourage you to dress accordingly, or check out our gift shop for rain gear during your visit. In the event of severe weather, updates will be made here on our website and on social media.

Will the bathrooms be open?

Yes, bathrooms will be open.

Will food be available for purchase?

The Giddy-Up Grill will have food available for purchase.

Am I required to wear a facial covering?

We are following the current state guidelines, and CDC recommendations. If you are unvaccinated, you need to wear a mask indoors and in circumstances where you cannot maintain social distance outdoors. Guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are not required to wear a mask outdoors. All guests are required to wear masks while indoors and in circumstances where you cannot maintain social distance. Children under two (per City of Boston guidelines) are not required to wear a face covering.

Will I have to wait in line to enter the Zoo?

If you arrive early for your designated time slot, please wait in your vehicle until 5 minutes before your time slot. 

Can I leave the Zoo and come back in?

In order to safely operate within our capacity restrictions there will be no re-entry.

Can I bring in food?

Yes, you are welcome to bring in your own food.

Are coolers allowed in the Zoo?

No, coolers are not allowed in the Zoo at this time.

Will strollers or wheelchair be available for rental?

Yes, strollers and wheelchairs are available to rent. To reserve a wheelchair, please contact us at 617-989-2076, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wheelchair reservations should be made at least a day in advance.

Can I fly a drone in the Zoo?

For the safety of our animals, drones are not allowed on Zoo grounds.

Can I bring my pet?

Pets are not allowed on Zoo grounds to protect the health and safety of our animals and your pets. Fully trained service dogs trained to perform specific tasks are allowed. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.

Can I take photographs?

While guests are welcome to take photos of the lantern displays, please be mindful of visitors around you and do not block the pathways. Please do not bring camera equipment that requires extensive set-up time and/or will block pathways and space for other guests, or disrupt the pathway flow. Drones are not permitted on Zoo grounds without prior permission from Zoo New England.

Can I smoke in the Zoo?

Smoking within our Zoo is prohibited. Check with the Admissions booth for the closest permissible location.

Can I use a Rideshare service to get to/from Boston Lights?

Yes! All rideshares (ex. Uber and Lyft) have a designated drop-off and pick-up location in front of the Zebra Entrance at Franklin Park Zoo. Please note that beginning at 10:00 p.m., Thursday-Sunday, rideshare drivers will not be able to access Circuit Drive and will need to exit via Blue Hill Avenue.

Food & Beverages

Giddy Up Grill

Grilled Items
Chargrilled Burger (gluten free roll available)
Black angus patty, lettuce, tomato, pickle
Black angus patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
All-white meat chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, pickle
Veggie Burger
Grilled veggie patty, lettuce, tomato, pickle
Wild Dog
All-beef hot dog (gluten-free roll or bun available)
Chicken Tenders Basket
French Fries
  • Wild Dog / Fries & Fountain Beverage
  • Cheeseburger / Fries & Fountain Beverage
  • Chicken Sandwich/ Fries & Fountain Beverage
  • Lobster Roll
  • Fish & Chips
  • Clam Strips & Fries
To Go


  • Cranberry Turkey
  • Asian Vegetable
  • Buffalo Chicken


  • Classic Chicken Caesar
  • Mixed Green

Cold Snacks

  • Fruit Cups
  • Berry Yogurt Parfait
  • Assorted Yogurt
  • Cheese & Almond Snack Cup
Kids' Menu
  • Chicken Tender Basket
  • Chicken Tenders, Fries, Juice Box
  • Hot Dog Combo (hot dog, animal crackers, apple juice)
  • Sunbutter and Jelly Combo (sandwich, animal cracker, juice)
  • Jumbo Pretzel
  • Nachos & Cheese
  • Popcorn
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream & Popsicles
  • Chips
  • Jumbo Cookies
  • Animal Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Cotton Candy
  • Bottled Water
  • Powerade
  • Minute Maid Juice
  • Milk
  • Fountain Beverages
  • Tea
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Coffee

Kalahari Kitchen

  • Philly Cheese Steak Eggroll
  • Vegetable Eggroll
  • Chicken Potstickers
  • Vegetable Potstickers
Snacks & Sweets
  • Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Jumbo Pretzel
  • Nachos & Cheese
  • Soft Served Ice Cream Cone or Cup (Chocolate, Vanilla, Twist) with available toppings
  • Bottled Water
  • Soda
  • Powerade
  • Minute Maid Juice
  • Milk

Shining a Light on Biodiversity

Boston Lights shines a light on the importance of conserving the incredible biodiversity on our planet. From the smallest to the tallest, every species plays a role in healthy ecosystems. Visitors to Boston Lights will have the opportunity to learn more about our commitment to conservation and ways they can participate in wildlife and habitat preservation. 

Lantern Creation

We worked with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. on creating these larger-than-life displays at Boston Lights. Each and every lantern involves a labor of love (and skill!) to create. Artisans and skilled professionals work as a team to design full-scale displays, sew and glue colorful fabrics, hand-paint intricate details on each lantern, model and assemble steel frames for each lantern's structure, install thousands of LED light bulbs, and more.

Take a look at this floral display from our 2020 event “blooming”!

Color a Lantern!

"In Chinese culture, different colors represent different meanings, and the color choices in some of our lantern displays conforms to these traditions. For example, the color red is a symbol of good fortune and happiness, the color yellow represents power and prosperity, and green stands for eco-friendliness and harmony."

What color combinations would you use to create your own lanterns? Visit the Tianyu website to color your own angel's wings, Asian dragon, and more!
Source: Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. 

Thank you to our Sponsors and Partners!

Presenting Sponsor


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