Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is a Beautiful Evening Out (4.5 stars)
While most Halloween attractions are open only on the weekends, you can go to The Roger Williams Park Zoo any evening in October, 7 days a week. While the animals aren’t on display — perhaps they are sleeping — you will see elephants and flamingos.
Instead you walk a trail with thousands of carved and lit pumpkins. It’s not spooky, so it’s safe for small children, and there’s plenty of room on the path to stop and let others pass you by. So there’s no push from behind to go through it quickly, and you can take as many photos as you like. We took nearly a hundred!
The pumpkins are assembled into dioramas, some with spooky lighting, and some even hung in the trees. You’ll find themes from pop culture such as the 1970s and 1980s, but also themes like Back to the Future or Lord of the Rings.
There’s a carnival atmosphere where you can buy food and glow-in-the-dark wands from numerous vendors. And you can ride the zip line, which we thought might be too scary but then wasn’t, a nice ride for two people. They also have swan boats that you can paddle around, all with lights and lighted decorations in the pond around you.
While the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular isn’t scary, if you know what you are expecting, it’s a great time to walk under the sky at night in a beautiful environment. There may have been a few too many vendors hawking goods, but it’s a fundraise for the zoo, a nonprofit that has 3 stars out of 4 on Charity Navigator.
The pumpkin walk was a bit shorter than expected, some 30 minutes including all the stopping to take photos, but with the extra attractions, the animals, and the beautiful setting, let’s call it 4.5 stars.