39th Annual Festival of Lights and Tree Sales at Cosley Zoo

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For nearly forty years, the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton has celebrated the holidays with its Festival of Lights, a dazzling display of more than 20,000 twinkling lights and lit up animal figures.

“Starting the day after Thanksgiving through the end of the month, we have the Festival of Lights and our holiday tree sales going on. So, every day we are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can purchase one of four different kinds of Christmas trees from three feet up to 12 feet, wreaths, garland, all kinds of fun stuff,” said Cosley Zoo Director Sue Wahlgren.

Many Trees to pick

2,500 trees from Michigan were brought in for the sale, including Scotch pines, conifers, and Douglas and Fraser firs. It’s a tradition that first took root as a way to raise money for the zoo.

“We’re kind of looking for, you know, different fundraising ideas and nobody else was out there doing this. We thought, what the heck? First year when we did it, we had about 300 trees. We only had lights on the caboose, and then it’s just grown from there,” said Wahlgren.

More than just picking out the best tree

The light show and tree sales aren’t the only festive happenings this time of year at the zoo.

“We have holiday music playing in the evenings during the week and then all, all day during the weekends. We have hot chocolate and cookies for sale. We have 40 trees in the zoo that have been decorated by local groups, families. We have Santas craft corner on the first three Saturday’s.The two we have left over December 3 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where you can visit Santa, make a craft,” said Wahlgren.

Walgren hopes the public takes as much pleasure in the festive fun as she and the staff do.

“It’s so heartwarming to see people coming and just such a great mood and again, like we’re able to be part of that and it’s just really, I love this time of year. It’s just so great” said Wahlgren.

Naperville News 17 Patrick Codo Reports.