7 Tips for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
How to navigate one of Rhode Island's most popular fall activities.
What can you do with more than 5,000 pumpkins? You could bake a heck-of-a-lotta pies, or, if you’re the Roger Williams Zoo, you could show off thousands of jack-o-lanterns for an entire month. Every October, the zoo presents the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, which pulls in more than 115,000 visitors every year. Whether you’re new to this family friendly event or you’re an old pro, we have some tips to make your trip to the Spectacular, well, spectacular.
Visit on a Value Night: The event runs every day of the week beginning tonight (October 3) to November 3, but some days are more expensive than others. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are considered “Prime Nights” and cost $18 for adults and $15 for children ages two through twelve. “Value Nights” are Monday through Thursday and cost $15 for adults and $12 for children. An added bonus: In addition to being $3 cheaper, “Value Nights” usually have smaller crowds.
Buy online: “Prime Night” tickets are only available online. “Value Night” tickets are available in person or online, although buying them on the website will save you time in line. You can buy tickets here.
Keep an eye on the time: Generally, the later you visit the Spectacular, the fewer people there are. The crowds usually start to thin after 8 p.m., although on weekends it may be busy until later. Also, if you bought tickets for a “Prime Night,” get there early. The lines can be half-an-hour long (or more), and the entrance ticket is only usable for the one hour time-slot you purchased it for.
Parking in the park: The zoo has several free parking lots, but don’t be surprised if they fill up. Try parking somewhere in the surrounding Roger Williams Park complex. You can also use the premium parking lot closest to the zoo’s entrance for a $10 fee if you’d like to keep the walking distance to a minimum.
Enjoy a view from above: The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride lets riders get an aerial view of the park and admire a sea of jack-o-lanterns from above. Tickets for the ride must be purchased in person at the zoo admissions gate, and riders must purchase (or have already purchased) a ticket to the Spectacular for the same night. Tickets are $12 per rider.
See if you’re eligible for discounts: AAA members can get $2 off adult tickets and $1 off child tickets every Tuesday, although you have to buy your tickets in person at the zoo admissions window. Roger Williams Zoo members can get $2 off adult tickets and $1 off child tickets by logging into their account on the zoo’s website and purchasing tickets or by visiting in person on a Value Night. When buying tickets with either discount, don’t forget to bring a valid membership card along with a photo ID.
The show goes on, rain or shine: The Spectacular is rarely cancelled because of weather. When there are cancellations (usually because of heavy rain or wind), they are announced on the zoo’s website and Facebook. So, pack the rain boots and thrown on a rain coat!
The Details: Oct. 3–Nov. 3. 6–10 p.m. Adults $15–$18; children $12–$15. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, rwpzoo.org/jols.
Article updated by Samantha Labrecque on October 3, 2019.