Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a highly-sensory experience. We have attempted to highlight possible sensory issues, but only you can decide if the experience is suitable for you or your child(ren). If you have specific questions, please call 952.431.9200 or email [email protected]


Plan Your Visit:

  • To minimize wait times, Monday-Thursday are the best nights to attend, with the exception of 10/18 during the MEA weekend.
  • Purchase your tickets in advance to minimize the wait time to get in the front door.
  • The most people arrive between 6:00-8:00 pm. Arrive early or later to minimize the wait time to get into the experience.
  • On Friday and Saturday nights, the wait time to get into the experience might be more than 2 hours.
  • You can spend as much or as little time as you want in the experience. Most people take about 45 minutes to walk through the experience.
  • Everyone will get to complete the experience no matter how long the wait time.
  • Animal are asleep during the event so are not viewable in their habitats.
  • Outside food and beverage are not permitted.
  • Look for staff and volunteers wearing reflective vests if you have questions or need assistance.


Sensory Assessment:

  • There are a lot of bright lights, including above the walkway into the Zoo. Bring sunglasses if lights are a sensory issue.
  • The experience is all outdoors and takes place even if it is raining.
  • Depending on the night, there might be music playing in building or outside. There is music playing from the carousel and as you walk through the experience. Bring ear protectors if sound is a sensory issue. Foam earplugs are available at the main Guest Services desk and the carousel.
  • Depending on the night, there might be roaming costumed characters.
  • There may be animal smells as you enter the buildings or wait by the outdoor habitats.
  • There are strong food smells from the various stands (bratwurst grilling, mini donuts, etc.).
  • The gift shop kiosks sell light-up toys which have flashing/strobe lights and they are on display and people carry them after purchase.
  • Some walkways are very dark with temporary lighting set up along the way.
  • Some walkways have barricades and are off limits to guests.
  • You must walk through the mouth of a large jack-o-lantern cut out display to get to the experience. There are bright lights and loud echos as you walk through mouth and a concrete tunnel.
  • There is a large, flashing LED sign at the entrance to the experience.
  • There are about 5,000 carved pumpkins with LED lights along the path and in the trees. Bring sunglasses if lights are a sensory issue.
  • Some pumpkins may have scary or emotional themes carved on them, but there are no “fright” features (people or things jumping out).
  • The entry arch into the experience has a large clock that makes loud noises.
  • Immediately after the entry arch there are animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar.
  • One place along the path has artificial fog.
  • There is a food stand and gift shop near the exit from the experience.
  • The exit from the experience directs you through the gift shop tent. If you need to avoid this space, you can carefully go to the right of the tent.