by Stacey Kuhns
- Rise of the Jack-O-Lanterns at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
- Fridays through Sunday evenings (after the park closes), through the last weekend of October 2015.
- Tickets are ADVANCED ONLINE PURCHASE ONLY and are set for a specific entrance time so everyone is not going in at once.
- Adult tickets are $26, Kids ages 3-12 are $22, while children 2 and under are free.
First thing to note
There are NO restrooms available on the 1/3 mile scenic walk.
Parking is included in the event ticket fee, which is wonderful. Parking is in the lower lots as the exhibit takes up approximately four of the upper lots. You may not bring tripods or selfie-sticks and NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY.
Once you park your vehicle, you will walk through a tent. The first thing staff ask you to do is pose for a picture (If you do not plan to purchase pictures afterwards, just tell them you are not interested). The tent has food, drinks, and merchandise to purchase. You then make your way to the entrance gate.
Once staff lets you into the exhibit entrance, you can stop and watch three carvers carving different animals and other figures into pumpkins. You will then be asked to line up to have your tickets scanned. The scanning process seems a little slow, but once inside, you can walk around at your own pace.
Strollers are allowed but beware if you have young children who are walking-it is extremely dark inside the exhibit. I did not notice any children who seemed scared. They all seemed very excited, but there were several times I lost the person I was with as I could not make out the features of anyone in the dark. There is plenty to see, over 5,000 carved pumpkins, for adults as well as children. The first area is an underwater scene. There is a cool octopus and many jellyfish.
There is a shout-out to the Navy with a carved aircraft carrier scene in one of the pumpkins.
The kids will love the dinosaur area.
There are also plenty of skeletons, cars, sports skeletons, and of course, a variety of animals. Kids will also recognize some of their favorite Sesame Street characters as well as characters from the movie ‘Inside Out.’
There is also a dragon over 50-feet-long that was a hit with both children and adults. The intricate carvings on this dragon are amazing.
I was partial to the African animals.
These giraffes were extremely tall and another big hit with all ages.
This spider was backed by a giant web.
This was one of the most striking carvings. It appeared to have a mermaid and other creatures carved into it.
At the end of the exhibit were pumpkins carved for an ‘In Memorium’ area. They included likenesses of Leonard Nemoy, Wes Craven, BB King, and others. The exit is a long path that takes you past gravestones with a fact about extinct animals on each; worth a read.
And of course, at the end of the trail, you can purchase the pictures the staff took when you entered the exhibit, purchase more food, and lots of merchandise that lights up that the kids will definitely be wanting. Have fun!