Health Partners

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular - October 1 – November 3

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular back for a 2nd year at the Minnesota Zoo.
The trail features over 5,000 illuminated pumpkins of all different sizes, shapes and faces creatively carved and displayed from ground to tree-top.
Tickets sold online only. Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Tickets >


Sunday - Thursday, 7pm-10pm
Friday and Saturday 7pm-11pm
MEA, October 16 & 17, 7pm-11pm
Doors open at 6:00 pm and Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular trail will open at dusk, in most cases at 7pm.
We suggest arriving about an hour ahead of your entry time. Guests may enjoy activities on the Central Plaza, or grab a snack and beverage before their scheduled time for Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. The line for each timed entry will form 45 minutes ahead of the entry time.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular


Sunday – Thursday
Adults - $18, Child (3-12) & Senior(65+) - $16
Child (2 and under) free (must “purchase” a free ticket for children under 3)
Members $2 off adult, $1 off Child & Senior

Friday/Saturday and MEA Wednesday/Thursday
Adults - $20, Child (3 -12 )& Senior - $18
Child (2 and under) free
Members $2 off adult, $1 off Child & Senior

Tickets are ONLY valid for the date selected and are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled.

Entertainment Schedule

Every day:
Straw Maze; 6pm – close

Fridays and Saturdays
Costume Characters TBD
Musical Entertainment TBD
Dazzling Dave Yo-Yoist, TBD
Carousel Rides(Additional Fee)

MEA Weekend
10/16 - 10/18 Costume Characters and Dazzling Dave Yo-Yoist, musical entertainment, carousel rides(Additional Fee)

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular - FAQs

What are the dates for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?

Tuesday, October 1 through Sunday, November 3, 2019
Please note that the entire Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular experience is outdoors and involves considerable walking.
Guests should dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear.

What are the admission hours and ticket prices for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?

Fridays, Saturdays and MEA Wednesday/Thursday: Sold online
Adult $20, Senior (65+) $18, Child $18 (ages 3-12)
Zoo Members Adult $18, Senior (65+) $17, Child (ages 3-12) $17
Trail open 7:00pm – 11:00 pm.
Children 2 and younger are free

Sunday through Thursday: Sold online
Adult $18, Senior (65+) $16, Child $16 (ages 3-12)
Zoo Members – Adult $16, Senior (65+) $15, Child (ages 3 – 12) $15
Trail open 7:00pm - 10:00 pm.
Children 2 and younger are free

**Please note the Free to Explore Program does not apply to Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. This program is available for daytime Zoo admission only.

Are there any discounts for members?

Minnesota Zoo Membership Discount:
Minnesota Zoo Members receive $2 off adult and $1 off Senior and Child (ages 3 – 12)
To receive member pricing for online tickets, all members must log into their online member account. Select the appropriate member priced tickets.
Reciprocal memberships do not apply.

What is the wait time to get on the pumpkin trail?

The Zoo doors will open at 6:00 pm and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular trail will open at dusk (please review your ticket for your entry time).
We suggest arriving an hour ahead of your entry time. Guests may enjoy activities on the Central Plaza,
or grab a snack and beverage before their scheduled time for Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular.
The walk along the Northern Trail to the entrance to the pumpkin trail takes about 10 minutes.
The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular trail is an additional quarter mile.
The line for each timed entry will form 45 minutes ahead of the entry time.

Do you offer any group discounts?

Group discounts are available with the purchase of 15 or more admissions. Advance reservations are required. Save $3 off Adult (13-64 yrs.), $2 off Child (3-12 yrs.) and Senior (65+) gate admissions when you bring a group. Due to timed ticketing, all group tickets must be purchased at the same time. To reserve tickets, or for more information please call the Minnesota Zoo at 952.431.9200 (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm) and ask for sales. Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangable. Please allow a minimum of 3 days for processing.

Can tickets be purchased at the door?

No, tickets are only available on line only.

Is there a fee for parking?

There is no additional fee for parking while attending Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Parking fee is applicable during Zoo hours 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Is there accessible parking?

YES. If the spots are not available, drivers may drive up to the Zoo entrance and drop off passengers.

Are there stroller/wheelchair rentals at this event?

Stroller and wheelchair rentals are available at night on a first-served basis. The trail is fully wheelchair accessible.

Is there an ATM?

Yes, there are ATM’s inside the Zoo.

Is this event child-friendly?

This seasonal event aims to delight and amaze, not to scare anyone. Children who are sensitive to a lot of visual and sound stimulus might not be comfortable.
This event includes a fair amount of walking. Guests walk from the parking lot to the Zoo entrance and from the entrance to the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular trail.
It is highly likely that you will spend some time in line getting to the start of the pumpkin trail. Only you know if this is suitable for your child.

Is the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular weather dependent?

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is open rain or shine. In the case of light to moderate rain, the event will be open.
There will be no refunds or rescheduling. Minnesota Zoo management will close the event if there is a threat of heavy rain and high winds.
Patrons who purchased advance tickets will be reimbursed or may come another evening only when Minnesota Zoo cancels the event.
Please note Sunday - Thursday ticket holders wanting to reschedule for Friday/Saturday nights will incur the additional fee for weekend nights.
Please call in advance, check the website or visit Facebook for updates. Please be advised that when the trail is open, we will NOT refund tickets.

How long does it take to go through the Spectacular?

Once you arrive at the entrance to the pumpkin trail, near the Conservation Carousel, it takes about 40 – 50 minutes to walk through the pumpkin display. Wait time to enter the show may vary depending on attendance.

Can I buy my tickets online?

Event tickets are only available on line. Please remember that group tickets require advanced purchase also. *Tickets are ONLY valid for the date/time selected. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled.

Can I purchase a combination ticket for the Zoo and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?

Sorry, combination tickets are not available. The daytime Zoo experience is from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. The Zoo will close at 4:00 pm and reopen at 6:00 pm for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. The Zoo is not open between 4:00pm – 6:00 pm.

Can I take photos and/or videos of the Spectacular?

We do not allow flash photography, tripods, monopods or selfie sticks as a courtesy and safety measure. Otherwise, yes, you may take pictures and video as long as you do not impede viewing or the flow of traffic on the trail.

Will there be animals out during Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?

Animal viewing is available in Discovery Bay until 8 pm. All other animal viewing areas close at 4 pm.

Do you allow strollers, wheelchairs or wagons on the exhibit trail?

Guests may use strollers, wheelchairs, and wagons on the exhibit trail. The trail is fully accessible.

Can I smoke or vape inside the Spectacular exhibit?

There is no smoking or vaping anywhere on zoo grounds, including the parking lot, at any time. The entire Zoo is smoke free. E-cigarettes are also strictly prohibited.

Can I buy a Minnesota Zoo membership at night at the event?

Yes. Please note for this event the ticket fee for Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is not able to be applied to the membership purchase.

How many pumpkins are there?

There are about 5,000 pumpkins on display all lit with LED lights.

Who carves the pumpkins?

Passion for Pumpkins from Oxford, MA designs the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, and carves the over 5,000 illuminated pumpkins you see on the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Trail. Founded by John Reckner, Passion for Pumpkins is a professional multi-media company run by the Reckner family and close friends. Passion for Pumpkins produces shows around the country. Interested in becoming a pumpkin artist for Passion for Pumpkins? Contact Travis Reckner at [email protected] to find out more information!

How do they keep the pumpkins in good shape for this long of an event?

They keep carving and enhancing the displays throughout the life of the show. The carvers expect to go through about 20,000 pumpkins during the course of the 33-night run.

What happens to the proceeds from the event?

The Spectacular is an important fundraiser for the Minnesota Zoo. Proceeds from the event will support the Zoo’s animal care, environmental education, and conservation efforts both locally and around the globe.

Can I bring in food and beverage?

Apologies, no outside food or beverage allowed however, there will be food and beverages available for purchase during the event.

What types of pumpkins are used for Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular?

The pumpkins used for the artistic pumpkins are Big Macs and Prize Winners. They weigh about 100-250 pounds. Atlantic Giant from Minnesota and Wisconsin are also carved with some weighing up to 2,000 pounds!

Are pets allowed at the Zoo?

Only trained service animals as defined by the ADA are allowed at the Zoo, provided that the animals remained properly leashed and controlled. For the health and safety of the Zoo’s animals, companion, emotional support, and therapy animals are not allowed. Pets are not allowed. Due to safety and security reasons, unauthorized pets will be promptly removed from the event.

More to Explore.

Did you know the Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination with acres of indoor exhibits and interactive experiences for children and families? Meet hundreds of animals along our Tropics Trail and learn how our conservation efforts are supporting endangered species like the Red Panda. Or get up close and personal with sharks and rays inside the tide pool at Discovery Bay.

Plan Your Visit >

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November - December

There’s no better place to make holiday memories than at the Minnesota Zoo! Explore an indoor rainforest that’s 78 degrees every day and home to everything from red pandas to pink flamingos.

Daily Activities:

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Daily - Times Vary
Penguin Feeding
10:00 & 2:30
Tropical Reef Dive Show
Monk Seal Training
Daily 2pm