The National Zoo is "hopeful" for a return in 2022.
For the second year in a row, the National Zoo has decided to forgo two of its biggest attractions, Zoo Lights and Boo at the Zoo. Fritz Hahn of the Washington Post reported Wednesday that zoo officials scrapped the events due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, particularly as young children remain vulnerable to the virus.
"The challenge of how to host our traditional events safely – as we live with the new Covid variant etc. – is too much and so we have elected to pass on these events for this year," a statement from the zoo said.
Last month, multiple animals at the zoo tested positive for the virus, including six tigers and two lions. A recent update from October 1 reports the big cats are recovering and showing signs of improvement.
Sad news for D.C. parents: The National Zoo is not hosting Boo at the Zoo or Zoolights in 2021.— Fritz Hahn (@fritzhahn) October 6, 2021
"The challenge of how to host our traditional events safely – as we live with the new Covid variant etc. – is too much and so we have elected to pass on these events for this year."
The annual light display, held between Thanksgiving and the New Year, features dozens of installations powered by over 50,000 LED lights, along with concessions and yuletide activities. Boo at the Zoo is a Halloween bash allowing kids to trick-or-treat at the park. Last year, the zoo brought its light show on the road with Zoo Lights Express, while the latter was turned into a drive-thru event.
Zoo spokesperson Pamela Baker-Masson told the DCist they are "hopeful" to bring both events back for 2022.
“You can appreciate that the primary audience for Halloween events are children not able to be vaccinated at this time. Our priority is still to do everything we can to keep visitors, staff, and animals safe,” she said.
On Thursday, Pfizer submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a children's COVID-19 vaccine. The shot developed for ages 5 to 11 is expected to roll out within weeks once it is approved.
Were you looking forward to Zoo Lights and Boo at the Zoo this year? What traditions will you enjoy instead? Leave a comment!