Third Annual Christmas Wonderland of Lights

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By Andy Ann

Bee City Zoo has transformed into the Christmas Wonderland of Lights for the third year in a row. Every section of the zoo abounds with brightly colored light displays that can put a twinkle in your eye. The light festival is a newly welcomed addition post-covid to the zoo that has been well received with future plans for continued expansion. There is an illuminated Santa sleigh that is in the works for a pavilion-style area with picnic tables for visitors to have a place to get away from the outdoor elements.

Visitors can walk throughout the zoo to experience the glistening lights, see some of the animals, take a wagon ride and say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Uncle T’s Cafe’ is open during regular business hours and also open during the special holiday hours for a selection of food and drink concession items up until an hour before festival closing time.

The zoo is open during the day for its normal hours on Wed.-Sat. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri.-Sat. and Sun from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The light festival display is available on Dec. 1-4, Dec. 7-11, Dec. 14-24, and Dec. 26-30 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat. Entry stops one hour before closing.

Santa is also visiting the zoo in December on Sundays from 2 p.m.-9 p.m., Monday Dec. 19 from 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday Dec. 20 from 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday Dec. 7, 14, and 21 from 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Thursday Dec. 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 4 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday Dec. 3, 10, and 17 from 2 p.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday Dec. 24 from 10 a.m.-until.

A visit with Santa is included in the admission. For an additional cost, pictures with Santa and a furry friend are also available.

The zoo will be closed on December 4-5, 11-12, 25, 31, and January 1.

Some of the activities available during the festival are the Australian Walkabout included with admission, along with smores kits and roasting, ornament decorating, big animal feeding, camel carrots, monkey o’s, holiday wagon pull, and hot chocolate - each for an additional cost.

Bee City Zoo is a family-owned and operated business that started over 30 years ago in 1989 by Archie and Diane Biering who had a love for honeybees and a passion to share their knowledge with others about the importance of honeybees.

Since its beginning, it has grown and evolved over time becoming a real hidden gem in Colleton county with a wide variety of animals, interactive and educational programming, and hands-on experiences. The zoo has been owned and operated since 2011 by their son, Scott Biering, and his wife Bridgett. The Biering family takes pride in offering a unique experience for visitors of all ages, along with quality honey and beeswax products and excellent customer service.

Some of the animals that can be seen include monkeys, ringtail lemurs, alpacas, deer, goats, sheep, and bunnies. There are also giraffes, wallabies, antelope, tigers, a snow leopard, serval cats, and cavies (like giant guinea pigs.) Some of the farm animals that can be experienced include miniature horses, donkeys, turkeys, chickens, pheasants, and more.

The nature center is home to a wide variety of reptiles such as snakes native to South Carolina, turtles, frogs, fish, baby alligators, tarantulas, and more.

Some other additional features can be experienced for individuals and families. Memberships of various options, private animal encounters, birthday parties, and field trip options are available.

Bee City Zoo is also a full-scale honey producer that makes various products from the honey harvested and beeswax. Some of the products that are available include pure raw honey, creamed honey, honey mustard, honey butter, beeswax lotions and skin cream, lip balms, soaps, candles, and beeswax figurines. Their educational programming teaches the importance of honey bees, the basics of beekeeping, and how to harvest honey.

For more information visit beecityzoo.com, email beecityllc@gmail.com, or call (843) 835-5912, 1066 Holly Ridge Ln, Cottageville.

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