One of the biggest Halloween traditions in Rhode Island is the Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack O’Lantern Spectacular. People come from far and wide to marvel at pumpkin art that rivals great Greek sculptors. This is a great date idea if you’re looking for a place to stroll and take in the sights. It is almost like going to an art gallery that is outside, Halloween inspired and generally cold. Make sure to bring a sweater and hold your significant other close.
It is important to note that this is a very popular event that will have a lot of people in attendance. Make sure to arrive earlier as opposed to later as you could end up in line for quite some time. Also keep in mind that weekdays are usually have lower attendance versus a weekend. You can also buy your tickets online to circumvent the long wait.
Roger Williams Park Zoo is located in the southern end of Providence. The parking situation can be a bit tricky with the mob of pumpkin gazers so you can try to park within the park but we decided to find a spot just outside the gates on a side street. Another thing to keep in mind other than staying warm is to wear comfortable shoes – you will be walking and standing a lot. Now that we have covered the basics of the evening, let’s get into the fun you will have.
Once you enter through the gates you will be confronted by the aroma of fried dough and kettle corn. If you are into that then by all means: we are more partial to apple cider as evidenced by one of our previous posts. One of the cool things about this event is that you are in a zoo, so as you would expect, you will be hanging out the elephants, giraffes, and tourists, oh my. This is also way more magical once it’s dark so you can see the light of the pumpkins shine.
At first the pumpkins will be what you’d expect from your typical pumpkin carving party, however it gets better. The first themed section of the walk for this year’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular was the golden age of film, featuring carvings illustrating scenes from the Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein and Dracula. From there you progress into the Galapagos Islands with amazing carvings of iguanas, tropical birds and fish.
Then we entered the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. With pumpkins hanging from trees above and being surrounded by detailed carvings of the story, this was by far one of our favorites.
Section after section were impeccably and beautifully carved pumpkins with jaw dropping details. The grand finale left us ogling at a massive tree with every inch covered in carved and lit up pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.