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With COVID restrictions easing and the winter approaching, we’re all looking to catch the last bit of fun and nice weather before the temperature drops. Do the Franklin Zoo Lights live up to their photos? 

How to get there

Uber/Lyft is your best bet for the most direct ride from the BU area to Franklin Park. Though it is possible to go by bus or train, a car will get you there the fastest.

Who to go with

I’d recommend taking a few friends with you to truly enjoy the shared nature of the exhibition. Though if they’re busy, the breadth of topics and master handiwork of the artists provide a great conversation starter for a date with a partner or someone new.

My experience

The showcase of art was visually stunning. The long walk through the park is differentiated by a variety of themes like the jungle, the sea, a jurassic theme, and Asian mythology. As an artistic achievement, it is impressive to see so much artwork on a large scale in one area, and with great thought put into everything from the colors to the mechanics of the light figures. As a space to visit, it is wonderfully immersive, great for photos, and perfect to get away from “city life.” I found myself entranced by the mechanics that mimicked the gentle opening and closing of a butterfly’s wings like the monarchs that visited my garden at home. Not to forget, as a shared public space it’s something different than your typical park or mall. There were kids, teenagers, college students, and older folks all coexisting, and all seemed to find joy in the exhibit without dividing among generational lines. The Franklin Zoo Lights were not centered around shopping as many public spaces feel they must be, but rather a public appreciation for art and an interactive experience.

Unique Feature

As a nice memento for the trip, an artisan shop was placed among the mythology figures that sold beautiful wire sculptures for a decent price.  

Rating: Underrated

While you may have fatigue from your Instagram feed being flooded with snapshots of the park lights, that will disappear the moment you arrive. Even driving past the perimeter of the park I could see flashes of the pieces and my excitement doubled. These glowing figures of animals, plants, and the mystical transformed the cloudy night into a cozy and breathtaking space. 

The true experience of the illuminated larger than life pieces is not done justice by a single photograph. Move over Christmas lights, your monopoly on electrified art is over. 

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Amanda Buettner is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences at BU. She is studying history and French, and in her free time she loves to be active and find new bubble tea spots.
Ashley is currently a junior at Boston University. She is majoring in conservation and ecology biology with an interest in marine and wildlife conservation. In her free time she loves to practice yoga, read, create wellness content for her instagram @soulfullyashley, and surf when she can make it to the beach.
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