Zoo turns on Wild Lights again - 12/22/04
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News from Royal Oak, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Madison Heights, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Hazel Park, Clawson

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jeffrey Sauger / Special to The Detroit News

Lights illuminate the zoo water tower. The Wild Lights exhibit began in 1994 at the zoo and ran for six years.

Zoo turns on Wild Lights again

Jeffrey Sauger / Special to The Detroit News

Brian Swift fashions an eagle as part of a demonstration by the Henry Ford Community College ice carving club.

Lights at the zoo

What: Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo.

Where: 8450 10 Mile at Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak.

When: 5:30-9 p.m., Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29. 30.

What to expect: Half-mile walk through the zoo, illuminated by 400,000 lights, with special entertainment.

Cost: $6 per person; free for those under age 2.

Phone: (248) 541-5835

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ROYAL OAK -- Twenty-seven-month-old Luke Bruz ran down the lighted path when his parents, Wendy and Joe Bruz of Groveland Township, took him to see the Wild Lights exhibit at the Detroit Zoo.

They finally caught up to him near the lighted dinosaur sculpture.

"We're members of the zoo," Joe Bruz said. "We wanted to have the little one see the lights. This is probably his seventh time this year visiting the zoo."

While the Bruz family visited the special holiday exhibit at the zoo, the choirs from L'Anse Creuse High School -- North were performing in a heated tent along the half-mile path, lit by some 400,000 lights and animal light sculptures.

Unlike many other light displays, where visitors drive through in cars, Wild Lights allows visitors to walk the lighted paths and enjoy live entertainment by Metro Detroit performers.

This year, the performers include Zeemo, who juggles and does tricks with yo-yos and spinning tops; Kooky Karly, a story-teller who uses paper cut-outs; magicians Jason Abbott and Jason Hudy; and choirs from Jane Addams Middle School in Royal Oak and Faith Lutheran Church in Troy.

Katie Morris, Brian Watson, and their toddler, Keegan Watson, of Clinton Township, were also outside, walking near the tent and listening to the choirs.

"The lights are nice," Brian Watson said. "We're having a good time here."

Wild Lights started at the Detroit Zoo in 1994, said Rana Kazouz, spokeswoman for the zoo. "It ran for six years, and then took a four-year hiatus. It's so big, and it has a big cost. This year we're bringing it back as a special exhibit." Major sponsors for this year's Wild Lights are DTE Energy Foundation and radio station V 98.7 (WVMV-FM).

For the last days of Wild Lights, Kazouz said, other entertainment will include costumed characters, after-holiday sales and ice carvings.

Annie Langdorf of Royal Oak remembers the Wild Lights exhibit as a child. She and her boyfriend, Kris Prevost of Detroit, were touring the Wild Lights exhibit and stopped to warm up in the Holden Museum of Living Reptiles.

"We just started going out two weeks ago," said Prevost. Both he and Langdorf are students at Wayne State University.

"I made him come here," Langdorf said, smiling about their date at the zoo. "I first heard about this when I was little. It's a tradition."

Holiday extravaganza

returns with jugglers,

choirs and magicians.

Julie Reid and fiance T.J. Wolsos take in the lights exhibit. The show was revived after a four-year hiatus with help from the DTE Energy Foundation and radio station V 98.7 (WVMV-FM).

Cindy Hampel is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.

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