Henry Vilas Zoo and the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau are partnering up for the first ever “Zoo Lights” holiday event, taking place November 23, 2016-January 1, 2017. With help from a $30,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Zoo Lights invites visitors from Wisconsin and neighboring states to experience the 200,000 lights and 300 themed displays that will fill the Henry Vilas Zoo during the holiday season.
“This event puts the Henry Vilas Zoo on a list of premiere attractions like the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to host these unique, family-friendly holiday events,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “We are excited to support this bright event that establishes Madison as a great year-round family destination and creates a positive economic impact in the community.”
In addition to the holiday light displays, Zoo Lights will feature a craft marketplace, festive food and live music, as well as Henry Vilas Zoo’s popular train and carousel. The event is modeled after similar Zoo Light events that continue to grow in popularity across the country; it will be the first of its kind in Wisconsin. Event organizers aim to reach travelers from Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, eastern Minnesota and northern Illinois, and estimate an economic impact of more than $1.5 million in visitor expenditures. JEM grant funds will assist in promoting the event through outdoor, online, print and radio advertising.
“What a great opportunity for our zoo and Greater Madison,” explains Deb Archer, President and CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission. “Zoo Lights” will transform the Henry Vilas Zoo into a brilliant holiday destination for visitors of all ages and make their visit to our city a cherished memory.”
JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit http://industry.travelwisconsin.com.
The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the State as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.
The GMCVB is honored to play a key role in supporting the more than 20,000 Dane County jobs supported by tourism. Promoting tourism in Madison since 1972, the GMCVB continues to work strategically to expand upon the more than $1.9 billion dollars generated by visitor spending in Dane Country every year. For more information about the GMCVB Board of Directors, please visit our website visitmadison.com