Zoo - 8Tom and I finally made it to the Calgary Zoo, which we can see literally across the river. Visited the zoo and saw not a single live animal.

It being autumn, the zoo’s animals are in their enclosures at nightfall, but we were entertained by the 366 hand-crafted illuminated animals and plants that grace the park at dark this year for the first time: Illuminasia Lantern and Garden Festival, running from Sept. 17 through Nov. 1.

Zoo - 18 Zoo - 10 Zoo - 7 Zoo - 4 Zoo - 5 Zoo - 6Illuminasia is a delight of Chinese lantern sculptures made of steel wire and polyester. Well, that’s like saying the Mona Lisa is a picture made of oils. These are truly works of art, a delight for the senses.

Zoo - 3 Zoo - 1 Zoo - 4Chinese artisans created the display for an event that features music and culture from  China, Japan, and India with a different country featured in music, culinary surprises, and arts and crafts.

The detail in these lanterns was exquisite.

Illuminasia_Birds-450x338It was a perfect chilly evening to visit the zoo. Next time, though, I hope to see live animals!

When Illuminasia closes, the zoo will prepare for Zoo Lights, the holiday festival of lights. Lights on snow? Yes, please!