A mystical glow is illuminating from the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

The inaugural Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular provides guests with a new adventure to celebrate the Halloween season. For the first time in the Midwest, an enchanted forest setting within zoo grounds plays host to this strolling exhibit. A quarter mile trail will feature more than 5,000 illuminated pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. The creatively carved gourds will be displayed from ground to tree-top. Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is captivating and artistic – not scary – making it a perfect event for a family activity or a date night.

The scenes displayed on the pumpkins represent different periods, people, and pop culture. From Louis Armstrong to Prince and the Wild West to President Barack Obama, guests will experience “A Walk Through Time” while the event runs nightly through Oct. 31. During the course of the event, more than 20,000 pumpkins have been carved and displayed.

John Frawley, director of the Minnesota Zoo, said, “The zoo wanted to create a safe, engaging, and fun event that could be enjoyed by guests of all ages. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular provides just that. Picture 5,000 real pumpkins, each with a unique image carved into it presented in an enchanted forest setting. We think this first-of-its-kind event for the zoo allows us to provide a unique, family-friendly experience.”

The Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, opens its gates nightly at 5 p.m., and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular trail opens at 7 p.m. Additional weekend activities and surprises – from music to magicians – will keep be on tap until the trails open. Also, several professional pumpkin carvers will be on-site, and attendees can watch as they carve their next creations.

This event requires a separate ticket from regular admission, and zoo members receive value pricing every night. Prices, hours, and other information can be found online at www.mnzoo.org/jols.

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