LIGHTEN UP FOR HOLIDAY FUN

The brightness and cheer of the Bronx Zoo's "Holiday Lights" is turning into one of the region's most welcome traditions this time of year, something to be enjoyed by every member of the family. This ...

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The brightness and cheer of the Bronx Zoo's "Holiday Lights" is turning into one of the region's most welcome traditions this time of year, something to be enjoyed by every member of the family. This is the sixth annual installment for the extravaganza, and it gets more and more popular every year.

Featuring over a half a million lights, many in the form of animal sculptures, the Bronx Zoo, always an appealing destination in any season, positively glows with enchantment each evening during the holidays. The animal sculptures never fail to bring a sense of wonder, as lights in the form of swinging monkeys, jumping frogs, lions, giraffes and ospreys evoke ooohs and ahhhs of delight.

New this year is Tiger Mountain, the Bronx Zoo's exhibition of Siberian tigers, which remains open evenings for the event. Last year's popular "Polar Express" theatre presentation has been expanded to increase its capacity to 300 guests per show. Many of the regular animal exhibitions are on view, including the popular sea lions, live reindeer, camels, elephants, reptiles, and the aviary (bird house). The Children's Zoo, with its domestic animals available for petting, is also open evenings for the duration. Added to this are train rides, ice scuptures, costumed cartoon and animal characters, choral groups, storytellers, and stiltwalkers. Dining can be found at the Dancing Crane Cafe, and of course, don't forget the hot chocolate!

With its over 15 miles of tree lighting, two miles of architectural lights and three miles of power cable, the event is a gigantic undertaking, but well worth the zoo staff's effort when they see the smiles of the children and families enjoying the season together.

Presented by Hess and sponsored by AT&T;, Con Edison and Pepsi, the Bronx Zoo's "Holiday Lights" is open nightly from December 15 through January 4 from 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for children 2 to 12 and seniors. Car parking is $7.

For additional information and directions, call (718) 367-1010, or log onto the website, www.bronxzoo.com. Enjoy!